ATLANTA - First of its kind research revealed arts and culture contribute billions to Georgia’s economy.
Experts said art and culture don’t just create jobs, they also make metro Atlanta a more attractive place to live for workers in all industries.
Longtime members in Atlanta’s art and music scene said those numbers are affirmation of a cultural impact they’ve seen for years.
“To image Atlanta without this scene would be a person without a soul,” said Curtis Daniel III, founder of Patchwerk Recording Studio in northwest Atlanta.
Daniel started Patchwerk in 1995, and Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast was his first client.
More than 20 years later, the genre dominates US music charts.
“We’re impacting how people dress, what type of car they drive, what music they’re listening to, what dances they’re doing, they’re hair color and everything,” Daniel said.
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The influence of art and culture has always been present in Georgia, but now there are numbers that show impact.
A first of its kind study by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis revealed that in 2015 art and culture accounted for nearly $20 billion of Georgia’s economy.
“It’s not just that we are big, we are big and growing,” said Tom Cunningham, chief economist at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Cunningham was surprised by the numbers and said strong culture and art impact means more jobs for Georgians.
The High Museum of Art hired 50 workers to help with 89-year-old Japanese artists Yayoi Kudama’s exhibition "Infinity Mirrors."
“People have been calling it the Hamilton of the art world,” said Julia Forbes, who is the Shannon
Landing Amos head of museum interpretation for the High Museum of Art.
Forbes said the exhibition sold out more than a month before it came to Atlanta.
She said the museum sells about 100 extra tickets each day, and hopeful attendees camp out overnight at the museum ticket window for a chance to buy them.
The High Museum announced that tickets will go on sale Feb. 5 for the final week of the exhibit.
The High Museum of Art is also no stranger to the art economy’s biggest money maker, movies and TV.
A scene from last year’s box office hit "Black Panther" was filmed at the museum.
The film industry alone accounts for 5.5 percent of all new job growth in Georgia.
“There is energy and momentum behind arts and culture in our state,” said Kate Atwood, director of ChooseATL.
ChooseATL is an initiative to attract and retain young talent in metro Atlanta. Atwood said art and culture don’t just create jobs, they make Atlanta an attractive place to live.
“The tech talent would very much like their life colored by arts and culture,” Atwood said.
To showcase Atlanta’s talent and culture, ChooseATL launched THEA, an on-demand platform, last spring. It acts as a free Netflix-style app for local docu-series, music videos, and short films.
The site already has more than 800 videos. ChooseATL will be showing THEA at the Sundance Film Festival later this week.
“We’re able to get the vibrant culture of Atlanta into the pockets of every young person out there just through this THEA app,” Atwood said.
It is a vibrant culture Curtis Daniel said is long overdue for some recognition. He wants to see more economic analysis of the arts, particularly Georgia’s music scene.
“Imagine your life without music. It just wouldn’t be fun,” Daniel said.