Private individuals and government have always supported the arts for the very real economic, social and educational benefits they contribute.
The arts provide, and will continue to provide, the record of cultural existence by which any society will be judged.
Local communities are discovering that the arts are also a creative economic development tool. In partnership with the private sector, through a government-designated arts council or commission, local governments are using the arts to create jobs and tax revenue. They are improving the appearance of architectural structures and public areas, promoting cross-cultural understanding and supplementing childhood and adult education--in short, enhancing the overall quality of life.
For example, a study by the Orange County Business Committee for the Arts found that the arts--through direct spending for goods, services and employment, as well as indirect spending such as vendors--ranked as the ninth-largest industry, with an annual impact on the local economy of $259 million.
These findings provide evidence of the important role that the arts play in Orange County.
Local arts agencies and tourism and trade boards, responding to economic statistics such as those above, are forming strong partnerships to attract tourists and their dollars.
People travel to destinations in the United States, Europe and elsewhere to enjoy cultural resources such as the Louvre, La Scala, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the old Globe Theatre and the Sydney Opera House. In addition to attracting visitors, arts institutions are important in attracting business and an educated work force to a community.
Arts activities supported by the California Arts Council and other local government arts councils have provided research and development to stimulate industries as varied as entertainment, advertising and design.
At the epicenter are our arts institutions. These industries are attracting national and international investment, creating employment and maintaining a cutting-edge image for the state. California is the world leader in automotive and industrial design, much of it located in Orange County.
The entertainment industry is a $15-billion business for California. There is an interdependence between the symphony musicians, and recording and film studio musicians. There is a revolving motif between commercial actors who find renewal and fresh ideas through live theater. Much of our great literature passes from the page to the stage and onto the screen.
For California to develop further economically, we must forge a stronger link between government and the arts to encourage the "creative capital" needed to feed local economies.
Other states, such as Texas, North Carolina, Florida and New York are already aggressively marketing themselves through the arts.
While some may argue that private dollars alone are sufficient, there is a genuine need for government to provide leadership. Public funds serve as a vital catalyst, like venture funds that fueled much of the technology developed in Orange County.
Public funding is responsible for the development of programs that provide greater accessibility to the arts for our residents who lack opportunity because of age, education, health or socioeconomic constraints. Government support enables these individuals to enjoy their community's cultural resources and add their creativity to the mix at the same level as those who can financially or logistically gain exposure to the arts on their own.
The arts contribute to the solution of many of California's contemporary social concerns--such as multicultural understanding, public education, urban decay, children's services and care for the aging--in addition to yielding tangible economic benefits for the state and local communities.
I encourage the residents of Orange County to consider the advantages that the arts bring to their community--and to recognize that public support can be a catalyst to increasing private donations through matching grants.
As the junior partner, the public sector can leverage increased private dollars; together these public and private dollars generate additional revenue through attendance, purchase of goods and services, community image building and economic vitality.
Few states produce a product that represents a nation; the arts in California do. California has become a center for the world's cultures and its visual arts, music, dance, theater, literature and media.
As a consequence, our creative and intellectual products draw great interest worldwide, with the demand for our arts creating one of our few positive trade balances.
What we do to nurture and care for the production of art is of public interest and worthy of public support--not just as painting, music or culture, but as a unique industry that enhances our quality of life.