By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Theaters and museums have been and continue to be on the forefront of the resurging Florida economy. Museums are already pulling crowds and theaters are ramping up programing as patrons are feeling more comfortable with visiting public locations, despite the recent rise in COVID cases.

The first visible evidence of the improving South Florida economy is probably outdoor dining but a major player is the arts.

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“Our idea is the arts would help lead the way in getting the economy restarted,” said Michael Spring, Director of Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs. “The very reason for that is because museum and theaters are a good safe way for people to come back out for in-person activities again.”

Museums and theaters, by their very nature and structure, worked well as locations spearheading the emergence for isolation weary folks.

“The very first thing to reopen were museums because they could do that safely, they could control the flow of people through galleries,” explained Spring.

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Spring oversees county operated venues and is involved in funding support for major arts organizations. He cites the economic impact of the arts sector.

“In Miami-Dade County alone, the arts contribute in a non-COVID year more than a billion dollars in economic impact to the local economy,” he explained to CBS4’s Hank Tester. “And as people go out or will get to theaters and museums they go to restaurants, they shop, they park their cars, and they engage in economic activity.”

It’s still not easy for individual artists, small galleries, and even larger institutions struggling to make up for lost revenue.

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“As the economy gets restarted, we are confident the arts will play a major role in rebuilding confidence in people to get out and about into engaging in in-person activities again.”