Art Students League Creative economy

The word “economy” refers primarily to the movement of a nation’s resources; and secondarily, to an attempt to spend less. This sums up President Obama’s “balanced” approach to stimulus and deficit cutting, in that order. Polls show this agenda is favored by a majority of Americans.

The GOP-dominated Congress has a radically different set of priorities, obviously, and we won’t go into that now, other than to note that more Americans favor a Communist takeover than favor Congress right now.

‘Nuff said.

The underlying issue, when to spur on, and when to rein in, spending is one every household and small business faces daily. For example, it would be counter-productive for me to stop spending on nice new frames for fine art prints, though I’d love to spend on nice new art books. So it’s off to the library I go.

Ironically, it’s schools and libraries and art museums that are the first to feel the blind GOP hackings, but I promised not to get into that.

So when non-profits come soliciting, it’s easy to reflexively squeeze the coppers, but there’s solid evidence that that’s the worst thing we could do.

Here’s a few facts:
* Colorado’s creative enterprises employed 122,000 people, according to a 2008 study. Another 64,000 worked in creative occupations in other sectors, for a total of 5 billion in earnings.
* This ranked as the 5th largest cluster of jobs in the Colorado economy, almost at large as IT and Biotech, and larger than Agribusiness.
* Creative occupations were expected to grow by 30-45% in the next 10 years, exceeding the state growth rate of 25%.
While these numbers undoubtedly pre-date the Bush recession, the potential for creative enterprise to help us climb out is clear. So I’m asking you to consider giving to the creative sector on Colorado Gives Day, Dec. 6th.

And here’s why: A consortium of Colorado foundations, including the First Bank Incentive Fund, will be increasing each donation. For this penny-pinching artist, that’s an offer I can’t refuse. Shall we call it “Gold Tuesday”?

And since’s it’s my blog, I’m going to tell you where the Squish’s hard-earned fun tokens are going. The Art Students League of Denver, which employs many creatives itself ( ahem), and which goes a long way toward filling in the gaps left in the state’s education budget. I can tell you first hand that many who come to the League on a lark, wind up contributing to the state’s creative economy.

I won’t quibble with those who contribute to any charity, creative or not. It’ll put money in circulation where it’s needed most, and take people off the street. That’s leadership! Just promise me we won’t start acting like… Congress.

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