Michigan's strategy for cultural economic development

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Wed, 12/28/2005 - 16:28.

At the Dec. 8 "Art of Cool" conference in Lansing, MI, the Michgan Department of History, Arts and Libraries released a strategy for leveraging arts and culture to produce new tax revenue, provide good-paying jobs and create sustainable businesses.

The Cultural Economic Development Strategy outlines the role that the state's cultural sector plays in long term economic growth. Read more about the strategy here. You an also download the Cultural Economic Development Strategy.

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We can clearly learn from MI

Thanks, Ed. I checked out the article and it sounds like a good study offering lots of practices we can use right here. Do you consider this the state of the art in such analysis? Did anything really stand out to you as something we should do here?

Norm: The leading edge

Norm: The leading edge communities are in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Look, for example, at Auckland and Toronto. See the Canada network here. You can also see some interesting stuff at Creative London, where they have recently redone their web site. Here's another site from Stafford Borough in the UK. Also, there are a variety of good content from the New England Council. Learn more. In this country, Vermont has adopted a creative industries strategy that looks interesting. Download the report. I also recommend the book The Creative City, by Charles Landry.

It's far more insightful than the book by Richard Florida.

The entire focus on creative industries started in the UK in 1998. It spread through the UK and then to Australila and New Zealand. In 2000 or so, the New England Council began exploring this appraoch for New England. A lot of this development has been obscured in this country by the guru-worship of Richard Florida. In fact, Landry wrote his book 2 years before Florida.

The business leadership in NEO has not seen this opportunity. Yet, the Lilly Endowment in Indiana has just announced a second major investment in the creative digital media center at Ball State. Learn more.

In my Indiana work, I am collaborating closely with Ball State. We have a good opportunity to learn from them. I suggest getting the head of the digital media center from Ball State to come to Cleveland. Let me know if you are interested in pursuing this.

For the arts, we need the will

I think leadership here knows the value of the arts, and we have an enormous level of public investment happening in support of that industry. In the next few years, we'll pump $100s of millions into just University Circle, not including the "oppoptunity corridor". FUTURE is off to a good start. Ingenuity Festival continues to see broad institutional and corporate support, and it seems like Red and Safmod keep very busy. I've seen enough studies to know the $100s millions generated in this community each year as result of our cultural assets and activities. We can do better, at the high level - a better arts portal, innovative ticketing, other community level incentives - education - this must always be a highest priority.

I also think we can do better at the individual level - the people of the region need to choose to live an arts and culture rich life, as is so available to them here. At one time, a much larger and more tightly compressed population was able to support development of rich cultural assets that now need the support of the entire region's population. That includes people buying art from local artists for their homes and offices, and it includes buying tickets to the opera and other performances.

So, to each individual, I ask how much did you spend in 2005 on local art - local graphic and industrial design - local arts and music performances? Did you spend and do enough? Can you do better in 2006?