The arts and culture industry is not just a canvas for creative expression; it is also a vital economic and cultural force that shapes our communities. In 2022, the United States witnessed a remarkable surge in the art market, more than doubling its size to $5.6 billion. Additionally, the arts and culture industry supports over 2.6 million jobs nationally. This industry’s substantial impact reverberates beyond economic statistics.
Our local communities serve as vibrant hubs for artistic endeavors. From local farmer’s markets to downtown districts and festivals, we encounter the vibrant influence of creative businesses. Handcrafted items, local bands, art workshops, murals, media, fashion designers, custom gifts, architectural projects, photographers, and many more all contribute to our lively local community.
Partnerships dedicated to supporting creative entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in nurturing and sustaining this industry. One notable partnership is between the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, and the PA Council on the Arts. This partnership contributes to an initiative called The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, offering up to $2,000 in grant funding for creative entrepreneurs. Additionally, Rising Tide and the PA Council on the Arts have established a partnership to offer a specialized loan program for creative business owners called The Creative Business Loan. Applications are now open and the application fee is currently being waived. These organizations believe in collaborating to support the growth and success of entrepreneurs in our community.
To learn more about these resources, visit the creative business resource page.
Various trainings, development workshops, and opportunities exist for creative entrepreneurs as well including:
- SCORE Lehigh Valley mentors and workshops
- Banana Factory’s Artistic Resources
- Lehigh Valley Arts and Cultural Alliance (LVACA)
- Allentown Arts Commission
Overall, the economic and cultural impact of the arts and creative industries is profound and far-reaching. From its national economic contribution to its integration into the fabric of our communities, the arts hold immense potential to shape and enrich our lives. By fostering partnerships, providing support, and embracing the creative endeavors flourishing within our neighborhoods, we not only support economic growth but also preserve the heart of our communities.