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Arts & Culture

Economic Development Through Art

A task force of civic, arts, and business leaders says the arts can be an economic engine for North Carolina. The panel has released recommendations as part of the SmART Initiative. It's mapping out ways for communities to use the arts to increase jobs and quality of life. Mary Regan is executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council. She says creative industries have bucked the unemployment trends in North Carolina.

Mary Regan: The number of jobs that we call creative worker jobs - those have held steady over the last four, five years. So there's a great future for North Carolina; if we can support that climate I think that it will just bring huge rewards.

The Arts Council will provide grants of $20,000 to $30,000 to up to four communities to help them use their cultural assets to create arts-driven economic development. The SmART Initiative Task Force recommends facilitating more cultural districts, and lays out ways to incentivize and facilitate partnerships between non-profits, business, and government. The panel is chaired by Capitol Broadcasting CEO Jim Goodmon. He spearheaded Durham's American Tobacco Historic District, a model for the initiative.

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