In recent years, cities across the UK have seen a spike in builds commissioned to support the arts and contribute and reflect the local culture of the area. Adding to the local and regional culture through the installation of sculptures and art pieces have proven to boost the appeal of some areas, with tourists flocking to previously less popular cities and towns to visit now beloved landmarks.
The effect of nurturing the city culture
Celebrations of culture are typically the most vulnerable when it comes to budget cuts and are often susceptible to harsh critique due to the associated expenditure. However, locals and visitors to these cities often cite the activities and background of the area as one of the key attractions to visiting, therefore a celebration of this culture through art or building structure is often heralded as simply adding to the tourist attraction.
An increase in culture recognition through art can bring about huge injections of capital into the economy. With cities competing for titles such as ‘City of Culture’, which for Hull brought in an estimated £60m economic boost to the area, the requirement to increase the offerings of the city for visitors is now essential to broadening the appeal of British tourism.
The increase in local economy and tourism spending can then be put back into further art and culture projects and is also sometimes syphoned into educational programmes for children and young people. This further builds a community spirit amongst younger generations and can also support in building social connections and empowering the general public.
Diversity and employment powers
With the potential to elevate the local economy, arts and culture builds can also be linked to providing more job opportunities and offering the ability for further business growth, particularly local and independent businesses.
The arts and culture community also boasts one of the most varied workforces, with a tendency to hire people from all demographics and age groups, which builds a more supportive and diverse local culture.
The nurturing of culture and arts programmes have also been recognised to contribute to social cohesion in terms of building understanding and collaboration between groups of people. Non-market values of building the arts community also include the ability to entertain, challenge, provide meaning, interpret and raise awareness within the general community, which offers no monetary value but essentially provides a resource for a reason which inspires social growth.
Finally, cultural capital, the sum total of a country’s wealth, heritage, art and other cultural expressions, should be consistently invested in, similar to other kinds of capital. Developing this and growing it over time builds on this value. The growth of this relies on both public and private sponsorship and this can only be achieved by displaying both the economic and intrinsic values which the arts and culture district bring to an area.