Cultural Alliance keeps arts center-stage.
Cities are made of brick and mortar, but culture brings them to life. That’s why civic leaders in Hampton Roads
support vibrant arts communities and initiatives in almost every city, from
Virginia Beach’s ViBe Creative District and Norfolk’s NEON District to the Newport News Public Art Foundation.
But connecting the public with arts and culture is an endeavor fraught with financial and logistical challenges. Fortunately, there is a local organization that has been helping navigate those challenges for decades.
The Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads has been an unwavering champion for the arts in Southeastern Virginia for 35 years, providing advocacy and technical support for arts groups, fostering patronage and earning the types of investments that have transformed the region’s cultural landscape. No easy task, given the intricate web of management, financing and budgeting needed to be a success.
“The arts are always underfunded, considering the money they put back into the economy,” said Minette Cooper, vice president of the alliance and a 50-year advocate of the arts in Hampton Roads.
Arts and culture bring beauty to the world. They also bring jobs. There are nearly twice as many Americans in arts and cultural organizations as there are lawyers, some 1.15 million jobs supported by nonprofits alone.
The figures are compelling, with more than $166 billion in nonprofit arts-related spending in the United States annually and some 76,000
people working in “creative industries”
in Virginia, according to Americans for the Arts.
The effects develop locally, too. Last year, the Virginia Beach Arts &
Humanities Commission awarded grants that helped put on more than 500 events that reached 196,000 people. For every
dollar the city allocated to the commission,
57 cents went directly back to the city in the form of taxes and rental fees, some $270,000 in revenue.
These economic ripples repeat themselves throughout Hampton Roads, not only in legacy cultural institutions such as Chrysler Museum of Art and the
Virginia Arts Festival, but also in smaller entities that promote and perform, such as choruses and community theaters. The growing number of arts districts are positioning local cities to capitalize on a cultural renaissance.
So the alliance’s advocacy is as much about cultivating an arts…