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An artist’s challenge

With data to support him, cultural affairs director hopes to lure business support to county arts initiatives.

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IB: Why should the business community care about the arts?
Fraire: Having a vibrant cultural arts scene helps businesses recruit younger workers to the area. We have numbers now, thanks to a 2016 study (2015 data). There are 9,000 people in the creative sector here working full-or part-time and the economic impact goes way beyond the art itself.

IB: How can businesses get involved?
Fraire: They can sponsor a local artist, consider hosting an artist-in-residence in their workplace, or purchase local artwork. I’d love a business to sponsor our DAMA program so we can hire kids over the summer months to paint murals when they have nothing else to do. Working with skilled muralists, they learn teamwork, math and science, the importance of showing up on time, and in the end, see the results of their work. How can that not make kids feel valued? It’s a no-brainer!

IB: How does art improve a community?
Fraire: If more people participated in the arts, we wouldn’t have achievement gaps. There would be no time for arguing, or bullying, or fighting, because there simply would be no time. But artists can do better, too, so I encourage them to be more visible — run for public office, sit on boards, or just get out in the community more.

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