Nashville is known the world over as a dynamic city. From cutting edge healthcare tech companies, to fashion designers, to culinary leaders, to songwriters; the city is growing because of our ability to attract and retain a wide variety of creative workers who anchor their lives and businesses in innovation. The National Center on Arts Research just named Nashville the #2 market in the U.S. for Arts Vibrancy. Quite simply, creative people are our “special sauce”, our competitive edge. The next mayor of Nashville must be fully committed to support policies and practices that drive this cultural vibrancy in Music City.
There are more than 40,000 creative workers in the county and in turn their labels, museums, clubs, galleries, and design studios support thousands of other jobs. Artists invest in communities and schools and real estate. They are citizens and they build a vibe—a vibe of collaboration, innovation and possibility. That vibe attracts tourists, business and investment to Nashville.
This is our CREATIVE EDGE.
Despite our current national buzz, Nashville lags behind competitor cities like Austin, Portland, Denver and Charlotte nearly 4:1 in per capita cultural and creative economy investments, we lack a coordinated strategy on creative talent recruitment and job creation, we lack innovation capital and land use policies that support creative freelancers and small business start-ups. We have made strides in arts education but must keep building momentum to make sure that every student has a great cultural education; and, perhaps most concerning, our current means of funding cultural programs has failed to grow with our population.
We are on the Edge. To stay a top market for creation and talent development we need to double down on the creative ecosystem.
The Mayor who prioritizes our Creative Edge will:
- Create an Office of Cultural & Creative Economy to coordinate planning, budgeting and partnerships that drive the creative job pipeline and economic development.
- Support a dedicated Metro cultural and arts fund that expands cultural equity and inclusion.
- Streamline permitting, land use, and business incentive policies to support creative neighborhood investments and growth.
- Support access to life long arts education in school and beyond.
- Initiate public/private collaborations that retain and expand affordable housing & production space for creatives.
Nashville's Creative Reality
- 40,000 Creative Workers
- Nashville’s population has grown by 5.1% in the last 5 years.
- Our cultural funding levels are the same as they were in 2000.
- 20% of the entities seeking cultural funding did not exist 10 years ago; many of them are in underserved communities.
- Our largest anchor institutions are growing and expanding their audiences and programs to meet our changing demographics
- Most neighborhoods lack affordable, accessible cultural amenities like theaters, galleries, and arts education programs.
- Nashville is one of the largest municipalities in the U.S. without a Creative Economy or Cultural Plan.
- Despite our 18 colleges and universities, we have no graduate degrees in fine arts or design.
- Nashville’s class C office space has a 3% vacancy rate and costs for these artistic production spaces have nearly doubled in two years.