Why Laramie Needs More Arts & Culture

It should be no secret that I am a music lover-you can check my author page and see why. I’ve always loved music of all kinds but didn’t really fall in love with local music until I came to Laramie. I’m from Cheyenne, so the music scene there is basically non-existent. I honestly didn’t know of any shows that were going on in town aside from the big acts the town pulled for Frontier Days or other shows at the Civic Center.

Moving to Laramie my freshman year was a huge wake-up call because I discovered that there were so many bands around town and they were actually really good. Over the years in college, I’ve worked as a journalist covering bands, helped do some tour booking, written some press releases and sold merch for the musicians in town. The more I got involved in local music, the more my heart grew for the music scene. 

Local music here is so important to so many people, but if you look around in Laramie, the number of resources for musicians are few and far between. I could say the same for a lot of the arts in town, as it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of people working to find more representation. This past year I entered the Ellbogen 50K with an idea to help local musicians by giving them the resources they need to make music into a career, help the music scene grow, and help grow the arts & culture atmosphere in Laramie.

I entered with these goals, not only because I love the music scene and believe in a lot of the musicians I’ve met over the years, but because Laramie needs more arts & culture to grow. It’s a college town that has so much potential to be a larger, more vibrant community. There are great restaurants, coffee shops, lots of nature and easy walkability. The catch- there’s also a lot of art, but not enough resources to make art a larger aspect of Laramie. The lack of representation leaves those who create low on funds to do things for themselves or a lack of people who know about them to help them grow to the point where they won’t have to use their own funds. 

A study done by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts found in March of 2019 that the arts contributes to about $800 billion of the economic output each year. This amount equates to more than 4% of the GDP and is the 3rd highest in value to the GDP. It’s pretty clear from that fact that arts & culture has an impact on the economy, and isn’t just something for people to do. 

If Laramie had a larger amount of arts & culture, not only would creatives find their hard work receiving more pay off, but it would help Laramie grow as a town, literally. I remember being asked about how helping musicians would actually create growth in a place like Laramie, and here is my answer: with arts and culture, a town is likely to grow because the arts is what attracts people to places. If a town has a strong arts & culture presence, more people will be likely to move to that place, and this can grow the town’s population, bring in new minds with new ideas for companies and thus create more jobs.

If Laramie worked on its arts & culture presence and tried to make it a larger part of the town’s brand and image, I could only imagine the success the town would have economically. I could only imagine how much the population and the number of things to do would grow, and how much Laramie would become a place that students want to stay in when they graduate.