Friday, October 23, 2015

Arts, culture and economic development in Asheville and Buncombe County

Interesting article in today's Asheville Citizen-Times about the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County removing arts and culture as a prominent sector from its strategic plan. The headline is, "Artists to economists: Don't count us out." Here's an excerpt:

The Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County announced in September that its strategic plan, the AVL 5x5 Vision 2020, will no longer include arts and culture as a prominent sector. The arts had been one of the five economic sectors, along with advanced manufacturing, science and technology, health care, and entrepreneurship, since 2010.

The Economic Development Coalition changed its view on the arts and will focus on talent development instead, said Kit Cramer, CEO of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, of which the EDC is a part.

“To think that we were going to generate big numbers out of arts and culture – that’s just not the way," she said. "That area grows more organically. We have to look for places where we can get the highest return on investment for our investors’ dollars. Two-thirds of economic development is funded by the private sector in our community, so they’re looking for return on investment.”

But some artists said the EDC's stance undervalues their contributions to the economy — the full scale of which has never been explored by the numbers people.

Read the whole article here:

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