My community (Minot, ND) is in a very unusual position.
In 2011, a 500-year flood devastated our community and displaced 12,000 residents (nearly one-third of our population). This week marked the one-year anniversary of the evacuation sirens and many homes have yet to be “mucked out."
On the other hand, the oil industry here has created a growing economy, increasing our tax revenue and boosting airport boardings to record levels. Our airline traffic has increased from four flights daily to 18. We have had growth and devastation all in the same year.
During the time, Minot arts organizations and artists have helped to raise funds, raise spirits, and raise awareness. Our Fifth Annual Integrity Jazz Festival is a perfect example. Sponsors from the community stepped up to the plate to present this event free of charge to the public in cooperation with the Weekend of Hope, a celebration of a community rebuilding. Survey responses indicated that 30 percent of our attendees came from outside Minot. They bought food, gasoline, and artwork, putting dollars into our local economy while hearing some great jazz music in a beautiful outdoor setting.
The evidence of the economic impact of the nonprofit arts industry in Minot is detailed in the Arts and Economic Prosperity IV (AEP IV) data. The nonprofit arts industry has a $9.9 million impact that supports 225 full-time equivalent jobs. That number represents an increase of $1.4 million from the 2005 AEP III data!
Our free summer concert series had been stopped when our park venues were under water. Even indoor venues are unavailable because they are being used as shelters or as space to store belongings. To find an available space we contacted the local Scandinavian Heritage Society that maintains a heritage park unaffected by flood waters and received permission to continue our summer concerts at their location instead.
Local media helped us get the word out. Not knowing if folks would show up, we decided to move ahead with the concerts, trekking sound equipment, popcorn machine, and wagons across town to the new location.
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