Tuesday, September 2, 2014 · 10:10 p.m.

ARTSBuild opens campaign season

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Guests at the ARTSBuild campaign kickoff were asked to write what the arts built in Chattanooga for them. (Photo: Staff)

With the start of ARTSBuild’s 2013 campaign, the Chattanooga organization is getting high praise from a national source.

Robert Lynch, the president of Americans for the Arts, shared his thoughts on the importance and impact of the arts and arts funding at last Thursday’s campaign kickoff event.

Lynch explained that it this visit, which also included a talk at the Hunter Museum of American Art as part of the Cam Busch Endowed Art for Health Lecture Series, marked the first time in nine years since he had been to the Scenic City.

He noted his enthusiasm at the city’s growth and the transformation of several neighborhoods, whose successful metamorphosis he credited in a large part to the arts.

Amid the pop-up booths arranged inside The Church on Main, featuring individual artists and art groups like the Association for Visual Arts, Lynch also highlighted the results of his organization’s investigation into the arts' economic impact.

The Arts & Economic Prosperity Study, in which Chattanooga participated, revealed that the arts provide 3,880 full-time jobs and generate $106 million in economic activity.

The study showed that on a national level the arts create $22.3 billion in local, state and federal tax revenue. Nonprofit and cultural organizations specifically generate $61.1 billion.

“We make a difference,” Lynch said, referring to the arts. “Remove the arts, and you remove the soul of the community. With an investment in the arts, we get a better city, we get a better nation and we get a better world.”

ARTSBuild seeks to raise $1.1 million through its annual campaign. That amount is roughly comparable to last year’s goal. Sue Anne Well, chairman of this year’s campaign, explained the organization will be seeking funding through corporate, foundation and individual sponsorships.

ARTSBuild, formerly known as Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga, channels the funds to itself, 14 cultural partners and ongoing programs throughout the area.

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