Economic developers and site planners will often say that, while an active arts program is not necessarily a must-have, a thriving arts program is a sign of a healthy community. And healthy communities are good places to start or relocate a business.
In Garner, the Garner Performing Arts Center is clearly the central hub of the town’s active arts program. A quick look at the schedule of events tells even the most casual observer that there are a slew of things happening, often on back-to-back-to-back days. There are programs that hit upon a number of different tastes and interests. There are programs that appeal to different age groups.
The preservation of the facility is another important aspect of the equation, too. Located in downtown, the GPAC is already a major downtown anchor, along with the Garner Baseball program. That means the GPAC can become an economic hub, too, bringing potential customers for other businesses into the downtown area.
And, none of these factors even address the cultural and educational benefits the GPAC offers to residents who take advantage of the offerings at the GPAC. Therein lies the real quality of life measure. When a community can provide these kinds of opportunities to its residents, without forcing them to drive 10 miles to the next town, it makes Garner a more attractive place to live and raise a family. With a growing population, Garner becomes more attractive to all kinds of business and it sparks a sort of self-perpetuating cycle upon which all of Garner can grow and become an even more attractive place for business and people.
There are those who would argue that public funding of the arts is a poor use of taxpayer funds, but we would argue that building a foundation for a high quality of life only enhances Garner’s ability to grow and become a better place for all its residens, present and future.
And the GPAC is at the center of that effort.