Surdna Foundation 2013 Annual Report
Programs > Thriving Cultures > Artists & Economic Development
Artists and Economic Development

Artists and Economic Development

Artists have long used their particular skills to quilt together the social fabric necessary to make a community more than just a place on a map. They and their organizations are vital to community sustainability, as artists give voice to collective aspirations, generate dialogue, and preserve memories.

Not only are they makers of aesthetic objects and creators of experiences, artists create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies, often through tourism and consumer purchases. Their presence also infuses other industries with creativity.

Yet these economic benefits often accrue to the surrounding community, not to the artists themselves, as they struggle financially and lack the resources to build their own businesses.

Surdna is supporting efforts to provide artists business training and financial resources. When artists develop economic self-sufficiency and learn how to benefit financially from their art, they can continue to create opportunity for others.

The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), a Surdna grantee, is helping creative entrepreneurs launch their businesses by providing them coaching, executive mentoring, office space, and other resources. Working with DC3, artists fist identify their business objectives and set realistic expectations. Mentors then guide them through strategic planning and business plan execution. This and other similar programs are helping artists more fully realize—and make a living from—their roles as social and economic change agents.