Creating Growth through Creative Economies

Creative economies benefit individuals and society as a whole by creating jobs, economic impact, and community pride.

The creative economy is on the rise, but what exactly is it? The creative economy is defined as the industries at the crossroads of art, culture, business and technology. Artists, museums, cultural nonprofits, and creative businesses work together to generate jobs, attract talent, strengthen innovation, and grow economies. “Art and culture is a significant part of the U.S. economy. Not just its contributions of ideas and creativity to the innovation economy, but also as an important part of the labor force and our country’s GDP,” said NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa. As the focus shifts from the industrial economy to creative products and markets, the potential of the creative economy is limitless. In fact, from 1998 to 2015, the US Department of Commerce found that arts and culture sector’s contribution to GDP has grown by 40%. US employers are also recognizing the benefits of creativity in the workplace with 97% saying that it is increasingly important to them according to The Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report. Creativity has never been more important or valued.

Creative economies are having major, positive impacts on global cities. A study published in Economic Development Quarterly found San Antonio Symphony has proven to be an important economic asset to the city. The symphony helped to generate $222 million in annual employment income from 2000 to 2010 and over $300 million in annual economic impact. The creative economy also has a role to play in keeping arts and culture alive and well through museums, events and festivals. John Howkins, author of The Creative Economy: How People Make Money from Ideas concludes “… if we understand and manage our creative economy successfully, individuals benefit and society is rewarded.” A thriving creative economy leads to thriving communities.

Tucson, Arizona is a known hub of arts and culture with organizations and resources such as the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Southern Arizona Arts and Culture Alliance, Tucson Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, theaters like the Rialto and Fox Theatre, and cultural festivals such as the All Souls Procession, Tucson Meet Yourself, Agave Heritage Festival, HOCO Fest, and many many others. With the artistic and cultural elements already in place, innovation is here and more is just around the corner. 

On October 15, TENWEST will be featuring our first annual Creative Conference.  The addition of the conference day came out of our public call for applications and topics.  The Tucson arts community has been clamoring for an opportunity for professional development, networking, and cross-sector collaboration.  We are delighted to be partnering with SAACA, Pima Community College, the Arizona Film Summit, and many local artists to bring this event to Tucson! 

We are delighted to be hosting Marc Folk, executive director of the Arts Commission in Toledo, Ohio and winner of the Ray Hanley Innovation Award, recognizing outstanding individual contributions to arts and culture in American cities. Folk is renowned nation-wide for helping to accelerate and strengthen creative communities to be drivers of transformational economic growth.  

Be sure to check out all of the tracks and opportunities available on that day such as film track, fashion track, Guided Masterclass Series for Creatives, design and marketing, and fine arts. 
Visit to buy your tickets today!

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