Weathering of the Creative Economy in Recession
Speaking of MCLA profs, Greg Sheckler has a short essay about the Mortgage Crisis
up and while I agree with him that the "Howitzer" approach to government intervention is warranted, it's the second half of his piece that caught my eye.
He is spot-on that the so-called creative economy is not an economic engine that is noted for creating the tangible assets in a manner that can grow an economy out of recession. His fears that the global crunch will keep things like MCLA's new science building from happening are not paranoid. I've had candid discussions with a couple of folks who are in a position to know, and regardless of his verbal promises, Governor Patrick has still not pulled the trigger on construction. This worries me.
I've never seen a quantifiable number that I consider inclusive, but the bedrock institutions that make up the base of this sector, the museums, the theaters, the colleges, etc... employ many thousands of our regions residents directly and many times more indirectly. With the exception of a few smaller organizations and galleries, all of these "companies" will most assuredly still employ people during and after this deep recession is but a chapter in a history book. And steady employment is the key to weathering a recession.
Anecdotally, most of the tourist *destinations* in the area have reported strong numbers through the last six months. I am guessing that just like frozen pizza in a grocery store, day trips and weekends, will grow inversely to the economic contraction as people curtail bigger vacation plans for the city folk we depend on. The local tourist driven businesses that are not the destinations themselves will obviously not see the level of discretionary spending that they did during flush times, but hopefully, the well run places will find ways to hang on with decreased, but steady, revenue.
So what's my point?
Check out a pass from the library and go to a museum. When you get home, call the Governor's Office and tell him to make sure that MCLA get's the damn science building that has already been funded by the legislature, gets built. It's a far bigger deal than most people realize.
UPDATE: The nation's mayors chime in
on the arts economy in response to Bobby "Kenneth" Jindal:
The mayors noted that Louisiana -- according to Dun & Bradstreet -- "is home to 7,013 arts-related businesses that employ 27,117 people." And it says that in 2008, Louisiana received 27 grants worth $1.3 million from the NEA.
"Mayors clearly understand the important contribution of the arts to our local communities, financially and in terms of the quality of life for our residents," said the letter signed by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.