Posted 2.3.18

The Appalachian City That Raised Its Taxes and Grew: To support a homegrown artist community, Berea, Kentucky, asked residents to trust government. It worked.

In this story exploring the community of Berea, Kentucky, Ivy Brashear delves into the arts infrastructure that has fostered economic growth in this arts capital of Kentucky. After the collapse of the coal industry, Berea city officials looked to their history of arts and creativity to promote economic growth during the recession. Taxes were increased in order to bolster the arts culture and subsequently attract tourists, leading to population growth and a tapering of unemployment rates.

Not only did the community of Berea invest in its creative infrastructure, it also invested in its young artists. The Berea Artist Accelerator was launched in 2014 in order to provide artists with professional development training and the tools to one day  open their own businesses.


Along with the Berea Artist Accelerator program, MACED classes were and continue to be offered to help artists develop business sense but also educate restaurants and other businesses on the importance of art and artists to economic growth and development.

Through these initiatives, Berea has become a bustling community fueled by creativity whose economy is necessarily intertwined with and reliant upon the arts. Read the full story: