Stimulating Public Art

One House Republican sarcastically slighted the $50 million dollars allotted in President Obama’s stimulus to "that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts," but might he have been onto something? According to The Atlantic, public-art projects generate over $150 billion in economic activity, create 5.7 million jobs a year, and are relatively easy to get started, unlike major construction projects such as highways. Art advocates also point to the way a well-done work of public art can revitalize its surrounding space, helping small local businesses. Arts groups are lobbying state governments for more money and, a group in Massachusetts has asked that the state spend 1 percent of federal infrastructure dollars on local art projects.