Arts and Economic Development

The Role of Arts-based Economic Development Strategies in Georgia Communities

Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) in partnership with the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) released a new industry impact report – “Leveraging Public Investment in the Arts.” This report contains a series of case studies and project studies that illuminate the positive impact of the arts as an economic development tool in Georgia’s communities. Through these case studies, the report demonstrates the importance of the utility of the arts as a method to promote tourism, downtown development, business development, entrepreneurism, community identity and quality of life.

The report shares in-depth stories of select Georgia communities that are successfully using the arts as a part of their local economic development efforts. Community projects that are featured in the report were selected based on population, geography, demographics, resources and specific strategies employed by each city.

The community projects featured in the report include:

Athens and its leaders have invested in local infrastructure, organizations, and public art to give the community a culturally rich atmosphere that attracts and supports the numerous creative residents in their city. Local citizens have signified their backing for the arts by voting to approve numerous arts-focused SPLOST projects.

Blue Ridge
The success of Blue Ridge is orchestrated through county support for the arts and culture, Chamber of Commerce coordination with arts organizations to attract tourists, and the vision of private developers to carefully curate their downtown storefronts with unique businesses operated by creative entrepreneurs.

Duluth is using the arts to differentiate itself from other suburban communities by investing in arts infrastructure. City leadership is the driving force behind their success, exemplified by increased visitors, additional restaurants and shops, and new residential projects.

Springfield enacted multiple projects to help bring traffic and business to its city center including renovating a historic theater, developing programing and hiring a cultural affairs director to help bring the community’s cultural projects to fruition.

Arts and culture are deeply infused in Thomasville where creativity has a visible presence along every street. Plans have been made to develop a creative district that will help grow and foster the community’s artistic appeal for years to come.

The Clarkston Community Center has embarked on efforts to train nonnative artisans to become better artists and business people. This investment is paying off by developing creative entrepreneurs who are becoming self-sufficient citizens by utilizing their unique talents and their culture heritage.

The case study on Hapeville Arts Alliance shares their unique approach used to create a visual arts gallery in their historic downtown, a space they needed in order to expand the availability of the arts to the community.

You can view the full report here. If you would like a copy of the report sent to you, please contact Allen Bell at