Why the Arts Really Do Mean Business

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Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) –- National Endowment for the Arts’ Sunil Iyengar discusses a government report on the value of arts and culture. He speaks with Adam Johnson and Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)

From the national endowment of the arts.

I am blown away by these numbers.

How surprised were you when you saw the data?

Quite surprised.

This is the first time the u.s. government has put a dollar figure to the total contribution of arts and cultural industries in the economy.

Turns out it amounts to 3.25% of total gdp in this country, which is about more than $500 billion.

Why crunch the numbers?

What inspired you to do it?

It turns out that both our partner, the usb euro of economic analysis, and the national endowment for the arts, were very concerned and interested in knowing about the contribution of these industries.

We wanted to understand, first and foremost, how an idea driven economy, innovation, creativity, largely service driven industries, how we can attach a dollar figure to them.

I -- what we managed to do -- go ahead.

Film, for example, the entertainment industry has got to be included in all of this.


It was a very painstaking process, where we went through a range of goods and services and identify the creative content in each and through that process we determined that movies were a leader, as you can imagine.

Certain television shows, this region of cable television, and publishing, they were all leaders, but so were artists and performing arts industries, they rank high as total economic contributions.

Virtue of having this account we can track things like imports as well as exports.

We see that over the last decade or so, exports have steadily been climbing.

Cultural exports as a share of all exports.

We recently surpassed imports and are seeing a surplus when it regards exports, coming largely as you suggested, from motion pictures.

We have about $14 billion in export generated revenue in 2009. obviously we want to protect that, right?

The intellectual rights to all of that.

Pirating movies -- how good it will -- how good are we at protecting all of the stuff?

We hope that this account now gives policymakers the wherewithal to make those decisions and decide how best to protect the rights and insure this vibrant part of the economy stays intact.

One of the things that establishing this account allows us to do with the department of commerce is reagan early track not only the contributions of arts and cultural industries to the economy, but the health of the artists and arts workers as part of that sector.

There are 1.9 million arts workers counted now as part of this economy.

However, that is half of a million short of what it was back in 2000. we know that we still have to climb out of the recession.

We are hoping that stocks like this will be good indicators for us in going forward and tracking and ensuring the health of those industries.

This being such a big part of gdp, i would imagine that if it tracks unemployment, spending in the broader conversation, what is the data telling you about the u.s. economy?

One of the more exciting things that it tells us is that arts and cultural spending has a ripple effect.

We know that, for example, to take arts software that involves creative and artistic content, video design, for example, it turns out that every new dollar generated in demand for those goods and services produces about $1.84 on the dollar in the general economy.

There is a ripple effect and the spillover effect with jobs, two.

We saw that for just tv shows, for every million dollars of demand created, you see about more than 2000 new jobs created relative to the total economy.

What we are seeing is that the arts are not only an integral part of the economy, located in so many different industries, not just the ones that come to mind when i say arts and culture . there are aspects of jewelry making, silverware making.

As i said, movies, television shows, architecture and design.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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