Jersey City has a new Mayor, Steven Fulop, and for the most part I’m happy with what he’s doing. Not only did he bring back the street cleaners, but started an initiative to get the youth involved called, “Stop the Drop!” He’s brought on more fire fighters and police including bicycle police and has some great green ideas too. He’s cutting costs by consolidating many departments.
One of the plans has me baffled. He’s planning to fold the Division of Cultural Affairs along with Senior Affairs and Veteran’s Affairs into the newly rebranded “Resident Response Center (RRC).” They were previously under the Department of Health and Human services. (…and why 50s style branding?)
Is it possible that the second largest city in New Jersey doesn’t get that culture and the arts are the major economic driver?
An important quote from the Hudson County Arts Master Plan, which notes how important the arts are to the Hudson County economy.
“Many economists note that while nonprofit arts and cultural organizations themselves make up a small segment of the creative economy, they are vital local-level economic engines for two reasons. First, they are much more likely than larger businesses to spend their revenues locally, buying from local vendors. Second and most important, they induce local spending on arts and entertainment. National data sets show that Hudson County household spending on arts, entertainment, and culture – including movies – far exceeds the spending of Hudson County households on sporting events. While this is undoubtedly due to the proximity of New York City and its cultural offerings, it shows that residents do attend and spend a good deal on culture. If Hudson County had more ways to capture this spending, it would be able to reap a share of a well established economic cycle.
According to the US Economic Census and Internal Revenue Service, the arts and creative industry is conservatively noted as at least a $72 million annual industry in Hudson County.”
From the Mayor’s Transition Report: “A common complaint from community members concerning this division is that it lacks connectivity with the entire art community and the constituency as a whole. Dealing with the permitting process for special events is cumbersome, confusing and time consuming. There is a lack of creativity and marketing for city sponsored events.”
However, within the report is the call for new Jersey City Branding and to build up Tourism. How are we to build up branding and tourism without supporting the arts more fully?
“Tourism is an integral part of the economy of any major city. In addition to merging the various culture and tourism endeavors noted above “under one roof,” a rebranding of these efforts is necessary. VISIT JC is an easy, familiar brand, easily spelled and understood. A logo should be developed and there should be a website overhaul, consistent social media campaigns and related print collateral materials such as targeted maps and visitor packages with a consistent message and coordination with area hotels and destinations. The City should consider holding contests concerning the branding and logo for the City.” (A contest??? Seriously now, how about all the talented creative people living in this city answer a RFP, which the city should put out!)
Also in the report was a final note saying they should consider the reactivation of its Cultural Arts Commission. Is Jersey City thinking more about the Sports events on the calendar with the Barclay’s Golf Tournament and 2014 NFL Championship Game.
It’s your turn to comment below and tell me what you think!
- Brand Interview: Amit Bhaiya, Dotcomweavers
- Graphic Designers: What’s Your Style?