NHIA President to Discuss Arts and the Economy

Jennifer Robertson on 05.04.16

New Hampshire Institute of Art President Launches Statewide Effort to Educate Business Community on 21st Century Arts Programs

If society and the economy have changed dramatically over the last 100 years, should it come as any surprise that the arts have changed as well? Recognizing the changing landscape of arts and design and the increasing role they play as an engine of economic expansion worldwide, New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA) President Kent Devereaux will meet with business groups throughout the state to make the case for the necessity of a healthy arts community as an essential ingredient in creating a thriving economy.

“The concept of the starving artist is a myth. Just ask many thriving high-tech business owners what type of employee they seek,” explains Devereaux. “In many different fields, today’s successful business owners seek creative minds who can find innovative solutions to today’s real-world problems.” The NHIA President will challenge business leaders to consider how as the fields of art and design have evolved over the years to now encompass 3D printing, data visualization, branding, and user experience design, today’s arts college graduates possess many of the desirable skills that employers seek. “These young men and women leave schools like NHIA with the ability to join an evolving workforce where creativity is the difference between success and failure.”

National trends show artists comprise an increasingly larger percentage of the total workforce, working in jobs that did not even exist 30 years ago. For example, graduates of NHIA frequently secure positions at highly successful companies like Disney, Apple, Dyn, and Segway.

It has long since been shown that students who are exposed to music and arts classes in elementary school are more successful in math, science and other STEM-related classes years later in high school. “The lessons are clear,” says President Devereaux, “Students exposed to the arts learn to think differently and approach problem-solving more creatively, making them uniquely qualified with the skills growing companies need to compete in an increasingly competitive global economy.”

Entire communities also benefit from the increased cultural diversity and vibrancy that the arts contribute offerings because that attracts a more diverse workforce of millennials who are willing to put down roots and raise their families here. “A shortage of young, skilled workforce is the greatest threat to the continued growth of New Hampshire’s economy. The arts can be a part of the solution. The arts have always played a significant role in economic development and urban renewal,” explains President Devereaux. “You can see that transformation underway right now in Manchester.”

Devereaux will speak to the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce at the Sharon Arts Center, 30 Grove St, Peterborough, on May 26, 5-7:30pm. “The more people recognize that there is a return on the investment we make in the arts, the more we can expand our offerings in ways that will benefit the entire state,” says Devereaux.