How Cultural Arts Encourage the Economy

Today we will discuss cultural arts as one of the significant instruments to endorsing national identity and simultaneously improving national economy. Additionally, this article attempts to present some keys in promoting cultural arts to the global market.

How Cultural Arts Encourage the Economy
First of all, I'd like to introduce you one of the well-known cultural arts from Indonesia, named “BATIK”. Batik is recognized as a national identity of Indonesia. Historically, the first time batik appeared was in the 17th century.

At that point, batik was used as royal families’ clothes. Furthermore, batik patterns were dominated by animals and plants drawings. After some decades, batik was widespread and produced in more various models, such as abstracts, temple reliefs, and so forth.

Basically, there are at least three types of batik (for clothing) based on the process it is created. The first one is called batik printing (printed batik), it means that batik pattern is made by a printing machine.

The second one is batik cap (stamped batik), it implies that batik pattern is created by pressing a stamp containing a certain model. The last one is batik tulis (painted batik), this is most difficult and expensive one, as it is created by painting a pattern directly to a cloth; in other words, it is a hand-made product.

The most famous regions for batik in Indonesia are Surakarta city, in Central Java Province, and Yogyakarta city, in Special Region of Yogyakarta. These cities are close to each other. From the historical perspective, there was a kingdom ruled in these areas, called Kerajaan Mataram (Mataram Kingdom) around 17th century. As stated before, it was when batik emerged.

Hence, batik has a long history. It evolves in several periods of time, numerous eras, and still exists until today. Currently, batik pattern is not simply applied in garments, but also employed in furniture, bags, sandals, and handicraft products.

Moreover, batik received an award as ‘World Heritage’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Culture Organization (UNESCO) on October 2, 2009. Thus, in Indonesia, every October 2 is dedicated as National batik-day (Hari Batik Nasional). In addition, with the purpose of promoting batik extensively, there are some events and exhibitions held regularly in some regions; for example: Solo Batik Carnival (in Central Java Province) and Jember Batik Carnival (in East Java Province).

Furthermore, once batik goes global, some strategies should be set in order to encourage it to the global market. When batik products are demanded by people from around the world, at least they will provide two important advantages.

The first advantage is that increasing in sales (export) means increasing in national income used for sustainable development; the second one is that they will promote Indonesia in other aspects as well, including tourism sector, traditional arts and culture, etc.

However, it should be noted that it is not only applied on batik products. In this paper, batik is just an example. There are lots of cultural arts from every country that can be benefited to support national economy.

These are some keys in promoting cultural arts in order to support the economy:
  • by providing variations to products and models of cultural arts; hence, consumers will have more preferences.
  • by packing the products with cultural events, so it will offer more impression to visitors/tourists and potential consumers.
  • by demonstrating and providing a short-course on how to create a product (for example: how to make batik patterns, etc) to visitors/tourists; thus, they will experience that they are attached to the product.
As a conclusion, cultural arts can provide significant benefits to the economy, if they are properly managed and promoted. **

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