Bauer Business Focus

Jonathon Glus On The Growth Of Houston’s Creative Economy

The number of Houstonians producing creative goods and services has increased 22 percent since 2011. But the city’s demand falls far short of what local workers can supply.

Photo of Jonathon Glus, HAA
Jonathon Glus, president and CEO, Houston Arts Alliance

The Houston Arts Alliance recently released its second major survey of what it terms “the creative economy.” The study revealed the region spent $25.6 billion on creative goods and services last year. But less than half that amount was locally produced. The rest had to be imported. Jonathon Glus, president and CEO of the Houston Arts Alliance, says that deficit shows the city needs to do more to produce and retain creative workers. Glus joins Andrew Schneider on the “Bauer Business Focus.”

Interview Highlights:

What sort of workers are you including when you use the term, “the creative economy?”

“We’re talking…the complete run from ballet dancers to hip-hop industry to architects to costume designers, who may work at the opera, but they’re also going to be stylists and…costume designers for film and television.”

How has Houston’s creative economy grown since you did your first study three years ago?

“When we did the first study…it still was not in step with Dallas, Philadelphia, [or] Chicago, which we certainly should be in line with…But we are growing at a faster pace than those other cities.”

What’s the greatest challenge facing Houston’s creative class now, and what’s the greatest opportunity?

“I think it’s one and the same…We need to see start-up capital for these creative businesses here. We also need to take them seriously enough that we’re actually going out and we’re recruiting those businesses from other cities. The timing of this study couldn’t be better, with this [economic] downturn, because it gives us an opportunity to pause and say, yes, these traditional…components of the economy that we’ve invested in over the last century in this city are …very important and still are the anchors of our economy here. However, we have to continue to diversify, and creative economy is how we can.”

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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