Keith Crisco: The arts and arts education are vital to N.C. jobs | Citizen
Citizen
INDY Week columnist Bob Geary's Raleigh news & politics blog

Archives | RSS

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Keith Crisco: The arts and arts education are vital to N.C. jobs

Posted by on Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Secretary of Commerce J. Keith Crisco
  • Secretary of Commerce J. Keith Crisco
With the state facing an estimated $3.7 billion budget gap for 2011-12 (that's out of the $21.9 billion needed to keep things going as they are — no increases), expect every part of state government spending to be on the chopping block when the Republicans take over the General Assembly in three weeks. Funding for the arts and for arts education in the public schools may be in special jeopardy if they're seen as luxuries the state can do without.

Secretary of Commerce J. Keith Crisco's message this morning in Raleigh was: They aren't luxuries at all. The arts are an industry by themselves, he said, accounting directly for 164,000 jobs in North Carolina (2008 data) with a total economic impact of $41 billion a year. That compares, Crisco noted, to agriculture's economic impact of $70 billion — and agriculture is still North Carolina's No. 1 industry, so give the arts their due.

More than that, Crisco said, a vibrant arts and cultural milieu helps North Carolina retain other businesses and attract new ones, especially new ones in the creative sector. And nowadays, if your business isn't creative, it's in trouble: His own Asheboro company, which makes textile elastics ("Our mission: We keep your underwear from falling down."), sounds prosaic but nonetheless depends on constant innovation and invention to make its products better than the competition's.

Crisco was the featured speaker at a breakfast program, "State of Arts & Culture in Wake County," held at the N.C. Museum of Art and sponsored by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.

The program was less a report on the state of affairs in the arts than it was a group pep talk about the importance of arts programming mixed with some awards presentations.

Crisco, who leads the state's business recruitment efforts, underlined the theme.

Innovative people have a choice of where to work and where to live. They pick places where the quality of life is high and cultural offerings are excellent, Crisco told the audience. Not only does he get it, he went on, "I work for a lady who gets it about the arts" — Gov. Bev Perdue. The three things he talks with the governor about are jobs, jobs and jobs, he said. "And the arts "fit right into that."

***

Crisco's best applause line today: "You can count on this Secretary of Commerce to back arts education in the schools."

A little later, he field a question from a woman worried that the Wake County Board of Education, facing a huge budget deficit of its own — and having just hired (she noted) an ex-military officer, Anthony Tata, as its new superintendent — may be fixing to slash arts education spending as a cost-saver.

"I'm worried too," Crisco said. But he cautioned against assuming that Tata, because he's ex-military, won't appreciate the value of the arts in the schools and in the community. Crisco said he has a friend, also ex-military, who went into education in Florida and was outspoken in support of arts and music courses. "It's very much a management job," Crisco said of the military's top brass, "and those guys tend to be very good managers."

***

In the small-world category, Crisco and Larry Wheeler, the N.C. Museum of Art director and impresario, turn out to be old buddies from college — Pfeiffer College (now Pfeiffer U.) in Misenheimer, N.C., to be specific.

In fact, Wheeler — a year ahead of Crisco — had a job in the dean's office working alongside a young woman named Jane in whom Crisco took an interest. Soon, the three were close pals. And the rest is history: Keith and Jane have been married 46 years. Crisco's been Secretary of Commerce for two years now, but today was the first time that Wheeler let him speak at the museum, Crisco cracked, "given what I know about him."

Tags:

Pin It

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Citizen



Twitter Activity

Comments

They just like taking everyone's computers and it gives them something else to waste tax payers money on!!!! Figure it …

by nunya on Sweepstakes gambling on the way out in NC? (Citizen)

Trying to make some sense of the TPP. All you need to know it´s that while we are busy with …

by jsanchez on Fast-track trade for the TPP: David Price says — No. (With an *) Plus, an afternoon update … (Citizen)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

They just like taking everyone's computers and it gives them something else to waste tax payers money on!!!! Figure it …

by nunya on Sweepstakes gambling on the way out in NC? (Citizen)

Trying to make some sense of the TPP. All you need to know it´s that while we are busy with …

by jsanchez on Fast-track trade for the TPP: David Price says — No. (With an *) Plus, an afternoon update … (Citizen)

If you or someone you know was forced out of the poker/sweepstakes business or lost their job, because this dirty …

by Constitution for games on Sweepstakes gambling on the way out in NC? (Citizen)

To those think it is addictive and a problem are the ones sounds like had the problems and not winning. …

by nickie on Sweepstakes gambling on the way out in NC? (Citizen)

You know...to those who dislike the gaming rooms..whether you have played in one or not...it is your chose to play …

by ThisWorld on Sweepstakes gambling on the way out in NC? (Citizen)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation