The Creative Fix: Arts, Culture and Community Building

As the proud father of a theater major, I’m always interested in research that highlights the economic importance and potential of the arts.  As such, I’m really enjoying the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) new book, The Creative Fix:  Creative People, Places and Industry, which is something of a “one-stop shop” for new economic data on the arts and culture.  There’s no shortage of good work on this subject, but the OECD does a good job of updating with the latest research.

Here are a few highlights.  The creative sectors were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, but they still pack a big economic punch.  Among OECD countries, jobs in creative and arts-related sectors account for about 1 in 20 jobs and about 7% of all business establishments.  Moreover, most of these jobs are “future-proof,” i.e., they are difficult to automate or affect via artificial intelligence technologies.  Prior to the pandemic, spending on arts and culture was booming, with growth rates since 2010 of nearly 18 percent.

As recovery in these sectors gains traction, community leaders should embrace strategies that use the arts and culture to transform places. In addition to policy and program recommendations, the report concludes with lessons learn for place-making efforts in Madrid, Birmingham (UK), Barcelona, and Montreal.