How good a job is the state doing promoting - and protecting - the golden goose of our cultural heritage?
Explore profit and loss in one of the state's largest industries. The "culture sector" generates more jobs than the tourist industry, and employment growth is nearly three times the overall statewide growth rate. See how good a job the state is doing promoting - and protecting - the golden goose of our cultural heritage.
The following material has been excerpted from "Louisiana: Where Culture Means Business," a 189 page report commissioned by the state, and released four weeks before Hurricane Katrina, and five weeks before Rita hit southern Louisiana. Therefore, the report does not take into account the storms' tremendous impact on the state's cultural economy. Six months after these terrible events, their impact is still being weighed.
A Cautionary Note
Cultural tourism, one of the main ways that dollars are funneled into the cultural economy, can sometimes bring problems as well as profits to communities. While the state report does go into some of the negative aspects of the cultural economy, there are a number of areas it seems to shy away from.
Some prominent researchers and experts in the field of cultural tourism say potential adverse consequences to local folkways should not be overlooked. Attempts to capitalize on a region's cultural assets can lead to what some call "Disneyfication" -- the commoditization of a culture. This occurs when commercial imperatives encourage community members to become caricatures of themselves in order to satisfy some preconceived, stereotypical image. In addition to affecting the way a community functions and how it sees itself, such disruption can have long-term negative economic impact. Once authenticity is lost, whatever "brand" value that may have been associated with a region or community, will quickly disappear.
Excerpts From: "Louisiana: Where Culture Means Business"
prepared by Mt. Auburn Associates
This strategic plan defines Louisiana's cultural economy as: the people, enterprises, and communities that transform cultural skills, knowledge, and ideas into economically productive goods, services, and places. In addition to the core cultural segments of design, entertainment, literary arts and humanities, and visual arts, Louisiana's unique culture is reflected by the inclusion of culinary arts and preservation
The Economic Significance of Culture
The concept of linking arts and the economy is neither new, nor new to Louisiana. In 2002, the Louisiana Division of the Arts released an economic impact study of the state's nonprofit cultural organizations. The House That ART Built claimed that each year Louisiana arts organizations and arts participants made a direct contribution of $202 million to the state economy and had an indirect annual economic impact of $934 million. The study documented the impact that the arts have on state employment and revenue and tax generation, as well as non-financial activities such as volunteerism, arts education, and cultural attendance
Economic studies of the impact of nonprofit arts organizations on local economies have been important advocacy tools for state arts agencies and their nonprofit cultural constituents. However, the cultural debate has since moved into the realm of economic development and encompasses issues of cultural tourism, downtown revitalization, and the attraction and retention of companies and skilled workers.
The growing interest in the creative economy is driven by numbers that attest to the scale of its employment, revenue, and growth rates. Study after study have shown that culture --locally, nationally, and globally-- is big and getting bigger.
A SECTOR CHARACTERIZED BY SMALL BUSINESSES AND SELF- EMPLOYMENT
The cultural economy is largely populated by small businesses and enjoys a high degree of self-employment. Some liken the cultural economy to an ecosystem of "whales and plankton" with many small creative entrepreneurs funneling their innovations to the mass market through increasingly consolidated distribution channels. Technologically-enabled young cultural entrepreneurs tend to operate as highly creative independents on the edge of mainstream institutions. There is much discussion of the form that cultural work takes--project-based, independent, highly fluid, and depending on networks of personal and professional relationships--as a harbinger of future work modes and method of organization. The cultural industries will be leading the way and creating models of work that offer important lessons for more traditional industries.
AUTHENTICITY AS A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Culture, like technology, is a defining element in the global economy. As globalization drives a move toward homogenization, cultural distinction becomes an important competitive advantage. One of the most important principles in economic development is to build upon the assets and strengths that you have, and not try to compete in areas where you have limited competitive advantage. By any economic measure, Louisiana has a competitive advantage in its culture.
CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IS SUSTAINABLE
Culture is a clean and renewable natural resource that, with proper stewardship, will not be depleted. Authentic local culture cannot be outsourced--it is in the area of content development that the state is most likely to create jobs that will not eventually be lost to lower cost locations. Furthermore, because its production is so localized, it has a ripple effect on adjacent industries like tourism that benefit from people coming to Louisiana to experience the product firsthand.
CULTURE DEVELOPMENT SUPPORTS LOUISIANA'S LARGER ECONOMIC PLAN
Louisiana: Vision 2020, the state's master development plan, prioritizes education, entrepreneurship, and technology and designates tourism and entertainment (specifically music and film) as core state industries. Development of Louisiana's overall cultural sector depends on the availability of a technologically-skilled, entrepreneurial population to develop, produce, and get local cultural output to market. The cultural sector offers an appealing and promising avenue for achieving Louisiana's long-term growth and development goals.
CULTURAL EDUCATION BUILDS LOUISIANA'S WORKFORCE
Louisiana's Workforce Investment Plan stresses the need to create high-quality jobs, to reward initiative, and to encourage entrepreneurship while creating new jobs for its people. With high levels of self-employment and small business activity, cultural economic development offers income opportunity to non-traditional workers who are frequently left outside the economic mainstream.
ARTS AND CULTURE INSPIRE YOUTH
A cultural economic development strategy may also address one of the states most difficult economic problems: how to engage disadvantaged youth in productive educational and employment opportunities. & The cultural economy needs fresh talent and provides an attractive avenue for young people to channel their considerable creative energies.
Culture exists in different forms throughout the state, promising economic opportunity for all geographic regions of Louisiana. Although like the larger economy and population, cultural activity is largely concentrated in the southeastern region of the state, culture represents opportunities throughout the state.
QUALITY OF LIFE -- A KEY CONSIDERATION FOR BUSINESSES
Investment in the cultural economy is an increasingly critical element of any comprehensive economic development strategy. It enhances the state's quality of life and distinctiveness--allowing it to compete effectively in the competition for talent and business. Businesses are attracted to places with a perceived high quality of life. A survey of businesses in Louisiana recently completed for a Council for a Better Louisiana found that 55.9 percent reported that the overall quality of life was second only to the cost of health insurance in importance to them. In terms of positive reasons for locating a business in Louisiana, 29 percent reported that culture and the quality of life was the most positive reason and about 49 percent included it as one of the reasons. This factor ranked more positively than any other factor.
QUALITY OF LIFE--A TALENT MAGNET
Talent is also attracted to authentic places that allow for creative expression and have a high quality of life. Richard Florida linked creativity to urban prosperity, arguing that the key to attracting companies to a city lies not in offering corporate tax credits and football stadiums, but rather in being able to provide a highly educated local workforce. This creative class is choosing to settle in areas that offer a lifestyle rich in technology, talent, and tolerance--and the winning cities will be those that invest in artist housing, bike paths, and lively downtown cultural activities.
NEIGHBORHOOD AND DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION
Artists and cultural activity have always spurred revitalization of neighborhoods and downtown areas. Individual artists transformed the Faubourg Marigny section of New Orleans into a funky, desirable neighborhood and art walks bring life and business to downtown Lake Charles. Cities, in partnership with foundations, universities, and private philanthropists, have made capital intensive investments in cultural infrastructures like the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge and New Orleans' cluster of the Contemporary Arts Center, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Childrens Museum, and Science Museum. Shreveport turned to the arts to revitalize its Downtown West Edge, and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA)/Riverfront's preprofessional training campus transformed that section of the river in New Orleans.
CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT BENEFITS OTHER INDUSTRIES
The ripple effects of a cultural development strategy extend beyond the industries directly engaged in cultural production. The most obvious beneficiary industry is tourism, which, particularly in Louisiana, depends on cultural resources and activities to attract a mobile and affluent market of families, retirees, and business and convention travel. The World Tourism Organization estimates that cultural tourism is growing at a rate of 15 percent a year and that 37 percent of all international travel includes a cultural component.
THE ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF
LOUISIANA'S CULTURAL ECONOMY:
>Defining: Cultural Industry Segments
The state's cultural enterprises are grouped into six key cultural industries: culinary arts, design, entertainment, literary arts and humanities, preservation, and visual arts and crafts.
Food and culinary arts is one of the largest and most diverse industries within the Louisiana Cultural Economy. Like other cultural industries, it is deeply rooted in the cultural and ethnic traditions of Louisiana's many communities: French, Italian, English, Creole, Native American, African, German, and Acadian. The cuisine, which draws heavily from the food products, seasonings, and recipes of these communities, is commonly referred to as Louisiana, New Orleans, Creole, and Cajun cuisine. It is the core element of what has become the state's food and culinary arts industry.
Today, the food and culinary arts industry is much more complex than it was even 30 years ago. Its principal elements include
# the "Louisiana pantry" of agricultural, game, and seafood products, as well as specialty foods manufactured in the state;
# restaurants that add value to the product
# associated products and services like catering, cookbooks, television shows, cooking utensils, culinary tours, and consumer-oriented culinary schools;
# chefs who sustain the brand and the visibility of the cuisine and create products on their own;
# an export and distribution system that sells and exports the product and the brand through fairs, festivals, farmers markets, trade shows, and Internet sites; and
# industry support systems such as culinary institutes and training programs, food and culinary associations, Departments of Agriculture and Forestry and Economic Development, and the Louisiana State University (LSU) Agricultural Center and its affiliates.
Design is the most "applied" segment of the cultural economy. It includes the printing and graphic companies that produce creative work both in print and digitally for the Louisiana business community. It also includes the advertising industry, which is a creative industry employing a significant number of artists and writers. While the state has a large artistic labor pool, this is one of the weakest segments of the cultural economy.
There are at least ten major advertising agencies in the state that serve both local and national clientele. These larger agencies may subcontract design work to smaller firms with only a few graphic designers on-hand. Web designers may receive $20,000 to $60,000 for creating corporate websites, and some get $20,000 a month for simply maintaining the site. In spite of these major opportunities, the lack of competitive businesses creates a small demand for applied design services. Lagging companies will cut their marketing budget first.
The state of Louisiana has defined the "entertainment cluster" as one of its important economic development priorities. The current state definition includes broadcasting, film, music, live entertainment, tourism, and sports. The definition of "entertainment" used in this project largely conforms to that of the state, though sports and tourism are not included. For this report, cultural tourism is considered a separate industry that is part of the larger cultural economy. Other performing arts, such as theater, are also included in the definition.
If this study had been done five years ago, in all likelihood the entertainment industry would be almost synonymous with music. The state's strength in the music industry is well established though the diversity of its music industry is not as well known.
Some major players in the hip-hop industry are based in Louisiana. Cash Money Records, which has released number one hits by the multi-platinum artist Juvenile and the Hot Boys, sold over 15 million records in a four-year period. & Sammy Kershaw, Trace Adkins, Kix Brooks (Brooks & Dunn), and Tim McGraw sold more than 15 million records in 1997--more than all other genres of Louisiana music combined. And, despite the fact that more than 65 percent of the music industry is in New Orleans, the biggest selling artists are from North Louisiana and Baton Rouge.
On the other hand, Louisiana's rock music scene has yet to fully develop. Better Than Ezra sold over a million records in 1995-1996, but no Louisiana rock act has reached that sales level in over 20 years.
Once thought to be a trend, Zydeco and Cajun music continue to be in demand internationally, and domestic sales are modest but steady. In Acadiana, young Cajun and Zydeco artists are creating a thriving scene as is the new generation of brass bands in New Orleans. Young Shreveport blues artist Kenny Wayne Shepherd has twice achieved sales of more than 500,000 units and embarked on well-received international tours, opening for such industry powerhouses as the Eagles and Eric Clapton.
With the passage in 2002 of the Louisiana Motion Picture Incentive Program, film has become a significant component of the state's entertainment industry. Since its passage, over $900 million in new production has come into the state and that number continues to grow. The definition also looks beyond traditional media and captures activities associated with digital media including animation and computer gaming. With the passage of new tax incentives applied to these segments of the entertainment industry, these components of the industry, while currently very small and difficult to quantify at this point, are likely to grow.
LITERARY ARTS AND HUMANITIES
The literary arts and humanities industry in Louisiana is comprised of individual writers and editors who work mostly on a freelance basis; newspaper and periodical publishing; book publishing; and related activities in the humanities. The industry also includes libraries and bookstores, which are not only distribution channels, but also play a role in the state's literary culture as convening places and venues for those in the industry.
Louisiana's rich literary arts industry is also tied to a number of festivals that bring tourists to the state including the Tennessee Williams Festival and the Words & Music& The Tennessee Williams Festival draws about 35 percent of its visitors from out of town and, according to an economic impact study done by the University of New Orleans, last year's festival brought about $1 million in economic activity to the city.
A number of larger public and nonprofit organizations are important producers in the industries, as well as part of the support infrastructure. For example, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) publishes Cultural Vistas, oversees the Louisiana Publishing Initiative, and supports extensive literacy activities. The State Library is also part of this industry, hosting the Louisiana Book Festival, established to promote reading by showcasing the publishing accomplishments of poets, writers, and others involved in the creation and promotion of books and literacy.
The heritage and historic preservation industries involve economic activities in Louisiana that have focused on the restoration and redevelopment of its built environment--its historic structures, historic districts, and historic styles that reflect the diverse cultures of Louisiana at various times in its history. It includes the full range of goods and services that are utilized in the restoration of old homes, old commercial and industrial properties, and public properties. Included are the traditional construction trades (iron workers, carpenters, plasterers, and masons), contractors, salvage companies, architecture firms, interior design firms, landscape architects, conservators, antiques dealers and auction houses.
Educational programs, especially at the secondary level, are substantial, attracting students from around the country to architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and preservation studies. Vocational training of skilled artisans has, however, suffered due to a focus on college bound students, discouragement of new generations following their parents into the business, and the introduction of lower paid immigrant labor.
VISUAL ARTS AND CRAFTS
The visual arts industry includes fine arts, folk art, contemporary crafts, and folk crafts. The industry also includes art galleries that are not only retail stores, but act more as intermediaries in the art market. Louisiana has a rich folk art and craft tradition as well as a growing more contemporary art scene.
In the past 10 years, New Orleans has begun to emerge as a leading city in the visual arts area. Before the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) opened in New Orleans in 1975, there was no venue for consistently showing contemporary art, and only a handful of galleries selling contemporary work. With the opening of the CAC, what was once a skid row area is now a warehouse district filled with galleries, residences, hotels, clubs, and numerous art galleries. Joint season and monthly openings with the CAC, galleries, and now The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, bring out thousands in an atmosphere that lends importance to the arts.
The tourism market provides enormous opportunities and allows artists and craftspeople to reach a national and global market. And, recognition of New Orleans as an art city is growing. Readers of AmericanStyle magazine recently ranked New Orleans No. 1 among mid-sized U.S. cities when it comes to the arts.
Folk art and crafts is a component of the industry that is particularly strong in the more rural parts of the state. In addition, other regions of Louisiana are also home to highly established visual artists, such as William Joyce in Shreveport, as well as art museums and galleries. Examples of strengths outside of New Orleans include the River Oaks Arts Center in Alexandria, the Ziglar Museum in Jennings, and the galleries in Covington.
Defining: Cultural Enterprises and the Cultural Workforces
Louisiana's cultural enterprises are a major employment engine for the state economy. They provide nearly 144,000 jobs, accounting for 7.6 percent of Louisiana's employment. They are growing significantly faster than the economy at large, especially in the emerging entertainment industries.
As impressive as these numbers are, they are a conservative measure of culture's employment impact... there are an additional cultural workers who do not work for cultural enterprises. These numbers also do not take into account the thousands of additional employees who work in the tourism sector that relies on Louisiana's culture to drive demand for its hospitality services.
Measuring: Employment in Cultural Enterprises
Defining what should be included in the cultural industries of Louisiana is much easier than measuring it. The best available measure for the economic importance of Louisiana's cultural economy is the level of employment within cultural enterprises.What follows is a first step in a process of trying to assess the size and performance of the state's cultural industry. The task is limited by the availability of secondary data sources that can accurately reflect this component of the state's economy.
The results of this analysis show that even with conservative estimates, the cultural industries are a significant component of the state's economic base:
# a total of close to 144,000 jobs in the state are associated with enterprises in the cultural industries;
# jobs in cultural enterprises account for about 7.6 percent of the state's employment base.
The following chart provides an estimate of the breakdown of these jobs in the different segments of the cultural sector.
Total Employment 144,000
Measuring: Relative Size of Cultural Enterprises
While these numbers make clear that the cultural economy is an important part of the Louisiana economy, how does its size compare to other clusters in the state? The following chart shows that, when compared to other industries that have been identified as important to the state's economic future, the cultural industries are actually one of the largest.
Employment in the following key industries was identified using industry data developed by the Louisiana Department of Labor and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. The state's healthcare sector, broadly defined to include ambulatory services, hospitals, and nursing home facilities, is the largest industry in the state. Louisiana's Department of Labor in its most recent two-year plan identified oil, gas, and energy, chemical manufacturing and logistics, and transportation as the state's other important industries. As the chart indicates, the cultural industries, when grouped together, are one of the largest components of the state's economy.
Employment Compared to Other Economic Sectors
Measuring: Employment Growth Rates in Cultural Enterprises
Not only is the cultural economy very large, but it is generating new employment opportunities for Louisiana residents at a faster rate than the state economy as a whole. The data indicate that between 1998 and 2002, the cultural industries grew at a rate faster than the state in general. ... During this period, total cultural-related employment grew by 6.3 percent compared to total statewide employment growth of only 2.3 percent.
Most, if not all, of the growth in the cultural sector has been in "non-employer firms," or among the self-employed. The self-employment category is not typically captured in economic studies. In Louisiana, the number of non-employer firms (self-employment) in the cultural industries grew by about 19 percent between 1998 and 2002.
According to the most recently available data, from 1998-2002 the segments of the cultural economy that saw the greatest job growth were restaurants and specialized food services, cable television, bookstores, preservation contractors and specialty construction trades, museums and historic sites, and entertainment promoters.
While secondary data on cultural enterprises are not available at this level of detail after 2002, the state's employment data provide an indication of continued growth in some of the state's cultural industries. Since 2002, entertainment has been the fastest growing area of employment in the cultural sector. According to the Louisiana Department of Labor, between 2001 and 2003 the Motion Picture and Sound Recording industry, which added 728 jobs, was the fastest growing industry in the state. And, this job growth has been continuing. Preliminary quarterly estimates for 2004 show that another 550 film and sound recording jobs were added between 2003 and 2004.
Regional Cultural Economy Employment as % of Total Employment (statewide average 7.6%)
The Capital region, which includes Baton Rouge, has recognized the importance of the cultural industries to the region's future. & The city's role has been important to the overall development of arts and culture in the region. It initiated a Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program to encourage the restoration of older historic buildings, and the city has been an important partner in supporting the arts and cultural facilities.
One of the principal assets of the Capital region is the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge, a $55 million, 125,000-square-foot facility developed through a partnership with the city, the state, LSU, the Arts Council of Baton Rouge, and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. The center houses the LSU Museum of Art, LSU School of Art classes, a digital recording studio, and the Brunner Art Gallery. Also, at the center is the Manship Theatre, a 325-seat facility that offers a range of activities including theater, dance, music, film, as well as literary and folk events. There are also several other venues in Baton Rouge, for example, the LSU Shaver Theater and the Union Theater, the Swine Palace, and the Performing Arts Center at River Center.
The Value of Artists
THERE IS LACK OF RECOGNITION FOR THE VALUE OF ARTISTS' CONTRIBUTIONS
Louisianans pride themselves on their culture. But among artists, there is a widespread belief that the affection falls short of respect, and too often fails to translate into meaningful economic remuneration. Artists believe that they are taken for granted, called upon to contribute when their skills are needed but disregarded when they are not.
We heard from a storyteller who earns her living telling Louisiana folklore around the country but is unknown at home. Valerie Martin, a native Louisianan now living in New York, received no local publicity when she won the prestigious British Orange Prize in Writing in 2003. Zydeco musicians who fetch top prices at clubs in New York and Europe cannot attract local audiences at a fraction of the ticket price. Jazz musicians who performed in Ray heard about the films New Orleans' premiere from their attorneys, but were not themselves invited to attend the celebration.
THE AFRICAN AMERICAN AND CREOLE COMMUNITIES FEEL THAT THEY DO NOT CAPTURE THE ECONOMIC BENEFIT OF THEIR CONSIDERABLE CONTRIBUTION TO LOUISIANA'S WEALTH
The economic issues that we found in Louisiana are by no means unique to the state. What is striking though is the disproportionate amount of wealth generated by culture relative to what finds its way back to the originators of that culture. Too often, the community that produces Louisiana's distinctive culture fails to reap a proportional share of the economic benefit.
Whether real or perceived, intentional or not, too many black members of the cultural community expressed a sense of being left out, ignored, or otherwise excluded from participation at the same level as whites. The issue of race and social inclusion needs to be openly acknowledged and addressed in the Cultural Economy Initiative.
Keep the Talent Base
Many cities and states are currently engaged in a fierce competition for talent. And, creative talent is an area of particularly strong interest. There are two sides in this competition. First, it is important to retain the talent that you do have. Second, successful economic regions are ones that are able to attract talent from outside. Unfortunately, this is an area where some of the state's historic strengths are now being challenged.
THE DEVALUATION OF LOUISIANA ARTISTS DRIVES MANY OF THEM OUT OF STATE IN PURSUIT OF RECOGNITION AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY. LOUISIANA'S CULTURAL ECONOMY HAS A GLOBAL PRESENCE--UNFORTUNATELY, IN THE FORM OF ITS WIDELY DISPERSED EXPATRIATE ARTISTS.
Many artists have responded to the lack of local economic opportunity by moving elsewhere in pursuit of opportunities for better recognition and reward. The list of expatriate artists includes Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, Arna Bontemps, Robert Penn Warren, Harry Connick, Keith Sonnier, Lynda Benglis, Emeril, Tony Kushner, as well as many others. More than one black educator told us that they encouraged their students to pursue careers outside of the state because of the lack of local opportunity. Some retain strong ties to Louisiana, but many have closed the door firmly behind them.
LOUISIANA HAS STRONG BUT NARROW BRAND IDENTITY
Louisiana's brand identity is firmly fixed in the minds of outsiders. New Orleans, Mardi Gras, and Jazz promise visitors a place, a party, and a cultural experience that is known the world over. Beyond Louisiana, consumers buy Jazz, Cajun, and zydeco music, watch Emeril on television, and eat blackened redfish. Popeye's fast food and Zatarain's rice are available in cities and towns throughout the U.S.
Although enviably strong and rooted in culture, the Louisiana brand does not do justice to the breadth and diversity of Louisiana's cultural offerings. Incoming tourists tend to limit their travel to New Orleans and, with the exception of regional travelers, are largely unaware of the extent of Louisiana's natural, social, and cultural landscape. With the perceptual equation of New Orleans with a monolithic Louisiana culture, there is little awareness or understanding of the cultural distinctiveness of areas like Pineywoods in the Florida parishes or the rich wildlife and recreation of western Louisiana. Visitors still come to New Orleans to hear Cajun music and few distinguish between Cajun and Creole musical tradition.
NEW ORLEANS' BRAND IDENTITY IS BEING DIMINISHED AND NEEDS RENEWAL
The popular connotation of Louisiana with wild weekend partying in New Orleans not only limits, but also threatens, to make Louisiana a "been there, done that" tourist destination.
Some of New Orleans' tourist fatigue is linked to an erosion of the authenticity of its underlying culture. One of our interviewees characterized New Orleans as a city where tourists arrive at an airport named after someone who hated the city; sit at hotel bars to drink tropical drinks having nothing to do with Louisiana; and listen to house music that can be heard anywhere. A recent study of Jazz musicians by the National Endowment for the Arts questioned whether New Orleans' Jazz glory lies more in its past than its future. A well known contemporary Jazz artist told us that New Orleans' jazz is "living on fumes."
WIDESPREAD IMITATION OF LOUISIANA CULTURE IS UNDERMINING IT
Louisiana's claim to cultural quality and authenticity is being imitated in music clubs and restaurants outside the state. Cajun cuisine, for example, is ubiquitous with little ability to distinguish between quality and authenticity versus cheap imitation. A recent U.S. State Department-sponsored music tour to Cuba initially invited a zydeco band from Illinois to represent zydeco in its first exposure in Cuba, not knowing enough about the genre to go to its source in Louisiana.
Also, the very qualities that distinguish Louisiana's culture--its diversity and authenticity--are being siphoned off in the global rush to share and exploit the cultural brand. While imitation is an integral and welcome part of cultural evolution, the widespread "downloading" of Louisiana culture threatens to compromise its quality, dilute its identity, and ultimately erode its long-term economic value. Once depleted, it will be difficult to restore its integrity.
Cultural Markets Inside Louisiana
Louisiana's internal cultural markets consist of two segments: Louisiana residents who circulate local revenues, and tourists whose spending brings in revenues from outside the state. There are significant opportunities to expand both of those markets.
CULTURAL TOURISM IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ENGINES OF LOUISIANA'S CULTURAL ECONOMY
Louisiana's most loyal and passionate market is its cultural tourists who come back year after year for its music and heritage festivals. Cultural tourism is the economic engine of Louisiana's cultural economy and drives the state's tourism industry. The state's tourism department and industry are well aware of the importance of cultural tourism and have been developing and implementing effective niche marketing strategies.
FESTIVALS ARE A VERY IMPORTANT DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL IN THE CULTURAL ECONOMY
Louisianans love festivals. An analysis for this study identified over 500 festivals that occur over the year in the state. They take place in every parish and in almost every town. And, they often include many different cultural activities, from eating locally produced foods, to local music and crafts. Many of these festivals are a local distribution channel and provide an avenue for expressing a community's culture and heritage. And, some of these festivals attract thousands of tourists and are key elements of the state's tourism industry.
Perhaps the best known Louisiana festival is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Founded in 1970 and co-produced by the for-profit Festival Productions and the nonprofit New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, Jazz Fest has become an institution on the global music stage. While initially scheduled for five days, the festival now covers two long weekends in April and is commonly thought to bring in more than $300 million into the city every year.
In addition to its economic impact on the city, the festival is a major employer and promoter of Louisiana musicians. Its benefits extend to other cultural organizations like Festival International in Lafayette that, by coordinating its schedule with Jazz Fest, is able to share both audiences and musician travel costs with the New Orleans event. In addition to its direct economic impact, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation uses surplus festival funds to support music and arts education, a community radio station, local entrepreneurs, and a wide variety of cultural programming.
THERE IS INSUFFICIENT ATTENTION TO THE HUGE POTENTIAL MARKET FOR CULTURAL PRODUCTS WITHIN LOUISIANA BY ITS OWN RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES
We heard some concern that Louisiana residents themselves do not appreciate and participate as fully as possible in the state's cultural economy and that the in-state audience for performances is not as strong as it could be. Much of that is tied to issues of arts awareness and education that begins at an early age.
Lack of awareness of the full range of cultural products produced in the state has also led some businesses and residents to buy products from outside of the state, when there are potential producers based in Louisiana. For example, local businesses could make greater use of Louisiana designers, artisans, and food producers. Similarly, local homeowners of both historic and new buildings can make far greater use of local artisans and craftspeople to refurbish and build their homes. Hotels and restaurants could also utilize local artisans in their buildings when they build or refurbish their facilities. The light fixtures and chandeliers of world famous glassblower Dale Chihuly can be found in major hotels and casinos around the world. A similar market for local Louisiana arts and handcrafts could be developed in Louisiana.
LOUISIANA DOES NOT DO ENOUGH TO SHOWCASE ITS STATEWIDE CULTURAL PRODUCTS IN ITS GATEWAYS--THE ENTRY POINTS TO THE STATE
LOUISIANA REBIRTH Restoring the Soul of America Louisiana Cultural Assets Rescue