On Bloomberg, James S. Russell argues for the economic value of the arts:
If you want bang for taxpayer’s buck, build parks and fund the arts. [ . . . ]
The process by which artists pave the way for high-end development is now well established in the real estate industry. Over the years, developers have chased artists from Manhattan’s Lower East Side to Williamsburg in Brooklyn and to Long Island City in Queens. Artists might be annoyed by this stalking, yet the financial value to the city is huge, and the value in terms of neighborhood vitality is incalculable.
The same thing is going on nationwide. Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park, built where oil-storage tanks rusted for years, is now surrounded by condos cashing in on the new view. The Walt Disney Concert Hall has created a reason for visiting downtown Los Angeles.
In Oklahoma City, the capital of Coburn’s home state, the downtown area has been revitalized by the public and private development of an entertainment, arts and restaurant district around the historic Bricktown neighborhood.
In most parts of the country there is no argument about the value of the arts, especially as a renewal tool. Rural hamlets, city halls and statehouses nationwide encourage the arts because of their power to spur economic development.