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Title: Arts and Vibrant Communities

by Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

More than 400 arts advocates came to Annapolis for Maryland Arts Day this week to speak with one voice: an investment in the arts is an investment in a vibrant community. 

I could not agree more. At a time when the arts could seem like a luxury, their value to our quality of life and economic vitality is greater than ever.

More than 6,900 people work in 1,744 arts-related creative businesses in Baltimore County alone. Statewide, the arts provide jobs for over 14,500 people, with over $1.16 billion in economic impact.

There’s well-documented evidence that arts education helps students learn, stay in school, and think, see and hear in new ways.

Low-income Baltimore City Public Schools students who participated in an arts-related summer academic program from Young Audiences avoided summer learning loss and, in many cases, gained ground on their national peers in standardized testing, according to evaluations.

Regardless of socioeconomic status or school district, 3rd graders who participate in high-quality music programs score higher on reading and spelling tests, according to a study published in Advanced Cognitive Psychology.

Students who study art are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and three times more likely to be awarded for school attendance, according to The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

The arts enrich our lives.

As part of an exhibition at the Asian Arts & Culture Center at Towson University, visitors were asked to share their thoughts around this idea:  “People around the world create art in order to _____.”  Here are just a few of the more than 200 responses.

Have fun. Be creative. Maintain sanity.

Teach. Believe. Inspire.

Open minds to new ideas. Unite communities.

See the world in a different way.

Share life stories and testimonies.

Relax. Live fully. Connect. 

At a time when having a good connection usually means having good Wi-Fi, the arts make the case for human connections.

It is a case worthy of our full support.

Revised October 16, 2020               
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