“Arts and culture are the soul of any community. It is hard to imagine what the world would be like without the arts. Governments oftentimes speak about supporting the arts; they even give arts awards to worthy recipients, yet when it comes to budgets, the arts are frequently the first to be cut and the last to be funded. This is not only unfortunate but it makes little economic sense. Ask any retail business owner and they will tell you that funding the arts provides a huge payoff in business returns. People choose to relocate based on the abundance of arts and cultural venues in a given community. Simply put, arts and culture are the engines that drive business. Without the arts, businesses cannot thrive, neighborhoods decline and our quality of life is greatly diminished.”

Andy Shallal is the founder and owner of Busboys and Poets, a café that serves as an exhibition space, performance poetry venue, and more. The café now has four locations within D.C. Mr. Shallal himself is a well-known and respected visual artist in the D.C arts community.

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