ON OUR WAY TO WEALTHY This month, "On Our Way To Wealthy" probes the business of the arts.
Cities across the country are seeking to strike a balance between the budgets required for public safety – such as fire and police – and those allotted to the arts. The need for solid, well-financed fire and police departments is generally recognized. However, the need for a strong arts community often requires more justification.
Cultural centers clearly offer value to all communities regardless of the levels of crime and poverty. Neither the size of your bank account nor your educational background is the sole factor when measuring appreciation of the arts.
Frequently, children are exposed to the arts and discover their God-given gifts. According to First Lady Michelle Obama, the Obama administration has long been committed to exposing young adults to the richness of our nation's cultural heritage. She wants to show them they can have a future in the arts community – whether it's a hobby, a profession, or simply as an appreciative observer.
As upwardly mobile individuals decide where to settle down and label a city home, they consider the social, economic, environmental, educational, medical and spiritual options offered by a community. People want to be happy, healthy and financially secure in their environment. That picture includes diverse art galleries, museums, theatres, dance companies, orchestras, restaurants, concerts and plays.
Local governments have invested in the arts to provide a view of our past, a window into the future, and to bolster the overall plan to attract big business. Music, literature and art stimulate an economy via employment opportunities and revenues generated from ticket sales.
No one doubts that Memphis has talent since the contributions of our legends have been documented extensively. Memphis sounds are so well established that this month the president and the first lady hosted a tribute concert dedicated to Memphis musical traditions.
The future? That remains to be seen. While we continuously dwell on our past for tourist dollars, we must invest in our future so that the cycle of prosperity continues during our children and grandchildren's lifetime. From the musicians to the record label and the producer to the videographer, the residual benefits of a hit record are incredible for an entire community. The business of music is real and should be treated as a business.
Artists George Hunt, Brenda Joysmith, Twin, Jared Small and Danny Broadway are all committed to sharing their gifts with the world. While their ages appear to cross generations, their talent is timeless.
The business of art ranges from the art gallery to independent artists promoting and selling the product of their talents. Memphis definitely got this one right during the Trolley Night Tour, which provides great entertainment and foot traffic into the art galleries on South Main Street. The tour is an example of a public-private partnership that works well.
We are so fortunate to have several writers' conferences in the Mid-south. Memphis is home to some talented and nationally recognized local authors. From romance novels to children's books, local authors have found creative ways to get their books to market.
Whether creating their own publishing companies, using the services of independent publishers or aligning themselves with national publishing companies, local authors are committed to extending the power of their words. The look to de so by placing their products in the stream of commerce by whatever means necessary.
From the four-time Tony Award winning musical "Memphis" to the many plays produced by Tyler Perry, plays are big business. Actors use them to jumpstart stalled careers and hone their crafts.
While the actors receive paychecks, they are not alone. So do the venue operators, stagehands, security, musicians, producers and set designers – just to name a few. The economy benefits tremendously from the circulation of money.