May 1, 2016 | Categories: Other
The arts have delivered a spectrum of entertainment, inspirational and trans-formative value throughout human history. The can help us connect to something bigger than ourselves, or simply unwind for a while after a long day at work. But they also have the power to truly change lives. Every day I have the pleasure of witnessing firsthand the magic of the arts and their trans-formative power in tackling important social and community issues. Outreach programs bring music and arts instruction to young people, art healing programs centered on wellness bring relief to patients in local hospitals, and visual art programs are tackling enormous issues like human trafficking and domestic abuse. The arts are a part of people’s everyday lives. Yet, what is often overlooked is the economic benefit of the arts and how they spur cultural tourism.
The Arts drive tourism. Arts travelers are ideal tourists. They stay longer and spend more money to seek out authentic cultural experiences. The US Department of Commerce reports that the percentage of international travelers visiting museums and attending concerts and theater performances on their trip are steadily increasing. Destination Analysts – a travel research company – recently released data showing that the Florida Gulf Coast consistently emerges as one of the top US destinations for travelers coming to Florida. Moreover, 66% of these travelers are likely to prioritize learning about the area’s customs, traditions and history and 59.9% are likely to attend theatre, performing arts or live music shows. Visitors vacationing and spending dollars in Florida want to engage with our cultural assets and often make important trip decisions based on attractions, museums and other cultural venues.
We are poised for continued growth, with the nationally acclaimed Florida Repertory Theatre, the beautifully remodeled Sidney & Berne Davis Arts Center, the historic Edison & Ford Winter Estates, the family friendly hands Imaginarium Science Center, and the many unique galleries, festivals and music venues across Southwest Florida. It’s a good thing for tourism, the economy and our overall quality of life that our area’s arts community continues to grow.
While our Gulf beaches and baseball spring training are positive contributors to our community’s growth, enhancing the creative sector is essential to a stronger, more balanced economic future for Southwest Florida. Get involved with arts and culture venues across the community and be a part of stimulating economic growth and tourism! A little investment in the arts can go a long way toward keeping our community on the forefront of the creative economy and driving even more tourism.
Lydia Antunes Black
Alliance for the Arts
10091 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33919
Florida Rep is committed to producing new plays and nurturing playwrights year round