Study: Cities should mix arts, economics

March 9, 2007 at 11:31 AM

PHILADELPHIA, March 9 (UPI) -- Both arts and U.S. municipalities would benefit from agencies that coordinate and weave cultural activities into a city's planning, a study said.

While focusing on one city -- Philadelphia -- the RAND Corp. report issued Friday has broader implications by recommending civic leaders make cultural institutions a meaningful component of a community's strategies for economic development and neighborhood revitalization.

In its study, RAND researchers examined support systems for the arts in 11 metro areas to identify strategies to sustain Philadelphia's arts sector specifically, the research agency said in a news release.

The researchers found even though the national non-profit arts sector blossomed during the last decade, economic challenges and skepticism about greater government involvement called for new strategies.

Co-authors Liz Ondaatje and Kevin McCarthy said a city must develop a vision of where its art sector is heading and build consensus among government, business and residents about making the arts central to an area's growth and vitality.

"It is crucial that cities like Philadelphia realize how much the arts can contribute to other city goals, such as economic competitiveness, tourism, and quality of life," Ondaatje said.

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