Eye on the Arts: During inaugural State of the Arts address, county proclaims big payoff for arts investment

On Oct. 26 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, the Broward Cultural Division, in partnership with Americans for the Arts, presented the results of the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) report during the inaugural State of the Arts Address.

Ebonni Chrispin, Broward Cultural Council chair, moderated the program. Among the speakers were Broward County Mayor Lamar Fisher, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz (by video from Washington, D.C.), County Commissioner Steve Geller, County Administrator Monica Cepero, and keynote speaker Phillip Dunlap, Cultural Division director.

Over the last four years, the county’s budget allocation for the arts has grown by 25 percent, from $6.6 million to $8.3 million. And there has been a huge payoff: The county’s non-profit art and culture sector contributed more than $386 million to the local economy during 2022.

Said Geller, “I have always believed you can tell a lot about the soul of a community by how it approaches its arts and culture . . . Therefore, we can conclude Broward County has one of the brightest souls in the country. Our county has become a leader in arts and culture . . . and the future is even brighter. One of the best things about Broward is . . . its diversity . . . Our arts and culture play a pivotal role in shaping our identity . . . and Broward County is committed to ensuring (they) are accessible to everyone.”

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