Ask most anyone what drives Wichita’s economy, and the answer likely will be general aviation. What people don’t know is that Wichita has another economic powerhouse: the arts industry.
This exciting and underutilized fact will be the focus of an Arts and Economic Prosperity Report breakfast meeting from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. It is presented by the Arts Council with support from many local businesses and groups. Cost is $15, and tickets may be purchased at WichitaTIX.com or by calling 316-219-4849.
The featured speaker will be Randy Cohen, vice president of research and policy at Americans for the Arts in Washington, D.C. He will share the findings of the just-released Arts and Economic Prosperity IV report.
Wichita was one of 186 cities to participate in the study, which measures the economic impact that arts industries have in their communities.
Other presenters include Jeremy Hill, director of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University, Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Tim Norton.
What will all of these folks be telling us? It’s simple: The arts mean business in Wichita.
According to the report, “when we support the arts, we not only enhance our quality of life, but we also invest in the city of Wichita’s economic well-being.”
The arts in our city generate tens of millions in total economic activity and employ thousands. People visit Wichita specifically to attend arts and cultural events. They bring their dollars with them. Those who attend the breakfast will be given information with the exact monetary and employment figures that they can share with others.
The study goes a long way in showing that arts organizations are businesses in their own right. The jobs that are created by the arts are local. They can’t be shipped to other states or overseas.
The dollars spent on these arts remain in our community and create more jobs. People who attend arts events eat out, spend the night, go shopping and support our city in many ways.
The organizations that produce shows purchase paint and lumber for sets and fabric for costumes from local merchants, as well as pay to hire musicians and lighting technicians, print brochures, etc.
The arts are more than just fluff or something pretty to look at. Attend the breakfast on Tuesday to find out why economic research shows that this is true.