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This story is sponsored by Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts. Learn more about Utah Dept. of Heritage & Arts.

Visiting an interactive exhibit with children or going on a date to an art show are enjoyable ways to pass the time and engage with unique ideas. But, beyond being a fun way to spend a weekend, arts and culture provide value to society at large.

In fact, communities that develop cultural and artistic opportunities reap educational, economic and intrinsic benefits.

"People are drawn to places by a desire to engage in communities with authentic character," according to the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts. " ... Committing to infrastructure strategies that embed arts and culture is the key to achieving vibrancy and bringing life and emotion to your community."

Here are four ways investing in arts and culture makes economic sense.

Academic success

Arts and culture can make deep impacts on the lives of all school-aged children.

"Students who study arts subjects are more employable and more likely to stay in employment," according to the Arts Council of England.

Even better, students in at-risk demographic groups might reap the greatest rewards from exposure to and involvement with the arts.

"Children from low-income families who participate in art activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree," according to the Americ ans for the Arts.

The organization also points out that students involved with arts are "four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement." Taking learning beyond the classroom has been proven to help students develop and apply skills as they learn how to identify and solve real-world problems.

Business and tourism

Towns known for their dedication to the arts attract visitors and, consequently, businesses, which is the perfect storm for economic success.

"Arts and culture are consistent sources of economic growth, during both good and difficult economic times," according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. "Specifically, arts and culture policies and programs increase economic development in states by attracting businesses, creating new jobs, increasing tax revenues and promoting tourism."

Communities with a diverse offering of arts will also attract a high caliber of new residents and new talent, Theresa Foxley, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, told the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts.

"Research demonstrates that arts, culture, museums, libraries and the like are not 'nice to have' in local communities, they are the very amenities talented individuals seek out, and therefore companies look for as they decide where to locate and where to expand," Foxley said.

Resources for job seekers

As businesses open, there are job opportunities for residents of all ages and experiences. This is where libraries, often centers of arts and culture in their communities, play a key role.

With free internet access available at many libraries, job seekers have easy access to online applications. Additionally, libraries often offer many other services to job seekers, according to The Balance Careers:

  • Job search workshops
  • Printing services
  • Email access
  • Career-related books
  • Computer training courses
  • Job clubs
  • Resume help
  • English language classes
Community connection

There's a sense of community pride that comes from living in an area that emphasizes the arts. People connect over art and cultural offerings and may reach out to each other, helping to combat isolation. This connection may lead people to live in an area longer and take better care of their community resources.

And adults aren't the only ones who take stewardship of their community more seriously.

"High school students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer than those who don't engage in the arts and are 20 percent more likely to vote as young adults," according to the Arts Council of England.

For more information on how culture and arts programs can benefit communities or to find out how to get involved in your community, visit heritageandarts.utah.gov.