South Carolina’s “creative cluster” plays an important role in its economy according to a study of the impact of the individuals and organizations involved in its creative industries.
A study was conducted during 2011 by researchers at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business to analyze data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, regarding the creative economy associated with the arts, design, crafts and related activities in South Carolina.
The study — based on data from 2008 — yielded a report by USC economics professor and Director of the Division of Research Dr. Douglas P. Woodward titled “South Carolina’s Creative Cluster: A Catalyst for Economic Development.”
The report shows that South Carolina’s creative individuals and enterprises exert a strong impact on the state’s economic base. These creative individuals and enterprises include jewelry manufacturers, book stores, florists, newspaper publishers, radio stations, dance companies, artists, theatre companies and record producers, among many others. All of the creative industries named above encompass businesses in Union County which are subject to support from the South Carolina Arts Commission.
The results of the analysis reveal that creative enterprise in the state engenders a core impact of $9.2 billion and a full impact of $13.3 billion.
“Like other drivers of the regional economy, this creative activity revolves around a cluster, or a set of interrelated industries, that thrive in tandem,” Woodward states. “Along with manufacturing and agriculture, the creative cluster is a catalyst for state and local economic development.”
The analysis also reveals that the full impact of creative economic activities in South Carolina represents 107,614 jobs — 4.4 percent of the state’s employment base. According to the report, the state’s “creative cluster” contributes $571.5 million to the South Carolina revenue base.
“This report demonstrates that South Carolina is fortunate to possess a strong, vibrant creative enterprise sector,” Woodward states. “More than 100,000 jobs are associated with the individuals and business activities described in the report. They generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state. Clearly, these are substantial economic benefits. With continuing public support, the creative cluster has potential to expand significantly in the decades ahead.”
Gov. Nikki Haley, however, has recommended zero state funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission in her executive budget. Despite this, the issue of the agency’s funding will continue to move through the budget process which is now in the South Carolina House of Representatives, The subcommittees of the House Ways & Means (HWM) Committee — the committee which writes the state budget — are holding budget hearings from various agencies and will later make recommendations for state agency funding in their own version of the state budget, separate from Gov. Haley’s. The South Carolina Arts Commission is scheduled for a budget hearing Thursday afternoon.
The South Carolina Arts Commission states the following as its mission: “With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education and economic vitality for all South Carolinians.”
The “South Carolina’s Creative Cluster: A Catalyst for Economic Development” report can be viewed in its entirety by way of www.southcarolinaarts.com.
Arts Education Funding
While she recommended zero funding for the Arts Commission, Haley’s Executive Budget did not leave the arts out completely, at least in the way of education.
Haley has reinstated approximately $1.2 million for the Arts Curricula Innovation Grants Program within the Department of Education’s budget, which Superintendent Mick Zais recommended for elimination.
These critical funds are not only used for initiatives that support innovative arts education programs to improve student achievement, but also provide quality professional development for arts and classroom teachers.