Updated January 2018
Arts & Culture Overview
San Antonians sought to increase investment and involvement in the arts through broader participation. Our current estimates capture public investment by the city and attendance at arts events that receive city funding. Nonetheless, we have seen improvement in funding despite a dip from 2010 to 2012, though we’re still not on track to reach our goal by 2020. This shows a public investment of dollars from the City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts and Culture and includes funding of delegate agencies, as well as Department-managed or sponsored events and exhibits, such as: Centro de Artes and Plaza de Armas Galleries, Poet Laureate Program, Distinction in the Arts Awards, and Luminaria. Attendance at arts and cultural events exceeded our 2020 goal in 2015, then slipped in 2016, but is significantly higher than in 2010. We also know that the economic benefit of arts and culture is felt throughout our city, and we are seeing progress on the economic impact of the creative sector, as well as employment in creative industries. The percent of residents that feel that San Antonio arts and cultural life provide everything their family wants is currently tracked through a survey completed by the City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture and shows improvement. In 2017, a new survey will track the importance and impact of arts and culture on the lives of San Antonio’s residents and its economy. This will inform the City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture Department’s CulTÚArt Plan.
Why is this important?
Geography can place a city on a map, but the identity of a city is expressed through its arts and culture. The SA2020 Vision for Arts & Culture emphasizes the importance of San Antonio’s creative economy and the creative community that comprises it: nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, creative businesses, and creative individuals. Fostering creativity also leads to critical and innovative thinking, a key component of the 21st century knowledge-based economy. Further, economic growth, visitor and local attention/spending, and talent attraction and retention are benefits to having a thriving arts and culture scene in downtown. Tourism research shows that cultural tourists stay longer, thereby spending more money. A US Department of Commerce study of cultural travelers from 2012 shows that more than two-thirds of travelers claim they included a cultural, arts, heritage, or historic activity on a recent trip. Twenty-eight percent of those travelers added extra time to their trip because of said event.
The Brookings Institute overviews an emerging urban model called “innovation districts” – a trend connecting people and firms due to the link between economy shaping, place-making, and social networking. Density of arts and culture grows jobs across many sectors by creating a dynamic, competitive marketplace. Density of arts and culture institutions allows for additional original programming, such as art tours. It also permits the growth of ancillary businesses, such as arts material suppliers and manufacturing.