Artists Creating Jobs

One of the things that really gets me about the new stimulus package, that better get passed, the Republicans better not screw this one up, is the outrage about giving money to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

This isn’t just outrage by Republicans, but on places like CNN too. “Can you believe this? This is really the last straw–money for the NEA.”

Excuse me.

Artists help the economy in all sorts of ways, and unfortunately, very few of them get to reap the rewards, and get lots of scorn, apparently when Mr. Bush’s bushwhacking of the NEA and the arts in general, is now beginning to be realized as not such a good idea.

Take Newburyport, MA for example. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when Newburyport was making a comeback, downtown Newburyport had been rescued and restored, but the rest of the town needed a little sprucing up.

Who moves in? Who “discovers” Newburyport, MA? A lot of artists among other folks, that’s who. From writers, to visual artists etc. They added to the vitality of the town, helped make it an attraction for tourists, new restaurants and shops etc. And now Newburyport, MA is too expensive for most artists to live in. An old, old story.

Artists have a nose for what is the next “in” place. Soho and Chelsea in New York City are two other examples. Artists moved in, and then so did expensive stores, real estate went through the roof, lots of property taxes and jobs at all the new restaurants and shops. And can most artists afford to live in those places either? Rarely.

Do artists get credit for job creating, real estate creating. Apparently not by this United States Congress, because it looks like help/funding for the NEA is going to be axed from the hopefully will be passed stimulus bill.