Broward panel connects the arts economy in the Caribbean, Latin America and South Florida


[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Caitie Switalski (WLRN) reports on a recent international trade expo in Broward County and discussions of close ties between the creative economy in the Caribbean and Latin America and creative industries in South Florida.

Arts and culture translate into big business that can bring a region millions – or even billions – of dollars in economic impact. Experts call it an area’s creative economy, or as a 2013 book from the Latin American Bank IDB calls it, the Orange Economy. The color orange has historically been connected to creativity, leadership and culture.

As part of Broward County’s annual international trade expo on Wednesday, a panel of government officials and creative economy experts talked to about 20 people about the close ties between the creative economy in the Caribbean and Latin America and creative industries in South Florida. “We’re almost intertwined,” said Phillip Dunlap, director of the Broward County Cultural Division. ”We’re almost an extension of those cultures, of those economies.”

According to a 2017 study by the national nonprofit Americans For The Arts, Broward County’s economy benefits from around $414 million in spending by nonprofits arts and culture organizations.  For comparison, the Marine Industry is estimated to be worth nearly $9 billion in the county.

Dunlap said Broward wants to keep building its arts sector. “I feel like the creative economy and arts and culture, specifically in Broward County, are really poised for growth,” said Dunlap. “We’ve been very sandwiched, I think, over the years between Miami, between Palm Beach and are kind of searching for ‘what is our identity within arts and culture.'”  Part of Broward finding its identity in the arts, Dunlap said, is learning from its connections to Latin American and Caribbean countries like Brazil. [. . .]

Caribbean InTransit editor-in-chief Marielle Barrow Maignan brought a Caribbean perspective to the panel. She spoke about the economic impact of the open-access publication on culture.  “Each issue represents about $30,000 U.S. dollars of investment of the work of scholars, artists and graphic designers,” she said.

Barrow Maignan focused on how the publication tries to counter stereotypical narratives in stories and art, something she calls “de-histories.”  “Who writes, and who remembers, on whose behalf, is what we need to question all of the time,” she said, “especially when we are developing policy.”

Another panelist, Javier Hernandez-Acosta, directs the Business Administration Department and is a Creative Industries Researcher at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “Creatives will always create,” he said. “Beyond the direct economic impact, it’s also the intersection between arts, cultural creativity – and tourism, education, wellness, technology…”

Those connections between the arts and other industries were most interesting for one panel attendee, Flip Aguilera. Aguilera is a holistic health coach in Davie.  “I really don’t know the economics behind all of it,” Aguilera said. “But we need a lot of creativity in the world right now, because we have a lot of things we need solutions for, and it takes creativity to come out with those solutions, so I’m all for pushing for more creativity.”

[Javier Hernandez-Acosta presents on the creative economy in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and strategies for economic growth of the arts industries.]

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