Art Education Investing Pays Dividends for Cities and CEOs
Finding Funds for Art Education
This past Thursday, I got the opportunity to sit down with Blick Art Materials CEO Robert Buchsbaum at Philadelphia City Hall for the A+ Art City Hall’s Annual Student Exhibit. On behalf of Blick Art Materials Mr. Buchsbaum, presented a check for $15K to be used for Philadelphia student art supplies, in the form of gift cards to be disbursed directly to art teachers. From the Mayor’s Office press release:
“The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE), in partnership with the Philadelphia School District, presented its fall exhibition A+ Art in the Art Gallery at City Hall. Each year, the OACCE partners with the Philadelphia School District’s Office of Academic Enrichment and Support to select 100 of the best art projects from its end-of-year Young Artists exhibit at the Philadelphia School District headquarters to be displayed at the A+ Art exhibit.”
Mr. Buchsbaum was ultimately hopeful for the state of art education, and stressed the importance of investing in the arts to revitalize urban areas, which we’ve discussed here before.
Buchsbaum: “Investment in the arts tends to be very high-paying for society. We invest the least of any country in the OECD. But you look at areas in terms of a city that become the popular areas, they’re almost always the artsy areas. I’m not just talking about the visual arts, I’m talking about plays and music and the whole gamut of the arts broadly, and all of it has been cut, and I think that that’s sad from an economic standpoint because you’ve cut so far beyond the point where a little bit of spend can do so much good. Think of a $304 million budget gap versus a $15K check, it’s nothing but it does so much, it has so much leverage within the context of teaching art because it’s just not that expensive. I think we’ve just pushed it sadly so far down, though, where the marginal spend here would add a lot more value than the marginal spend we’re trying to make in other places in our educational system.”
What do you think? Should we be cutting back or investing more in the arts when budgets get cut? Tell us in the comments below.