COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As a board member of several arts organizations, what troubles me most about Gov. Haley's proposed elimination of funding for the SC Arts commission is that it seems to disregard the economic impact the arts have on our state.
The Cultural Council of Richland/Lexington Counties has partnered with Americans for the Arts, a national organization based in Washington, DC, to study the economic importance of the arts on the greater metropolitan Columbia area.
Columbia will be one of several cities included in a national study showing the importance of the arts to economic growth. Andy Witt, Executive Director of the Cultural Council, said that this is a great opportunity to discover what impact Columbia's arts organizations have on the overall economic health and quality of life in this area. In 2006, the arts economic impact report showed a $56 million impact with over 1,200 full time employees in the greater Columbia area.
So when it comes to creating a quality of life that will attract new industry and put people to work in our state, the contribution of a strong arts community cannot be overlooked.
I hope that the Governor and the legislature will take that into account as they make their way through the difficult budgeting process.