Northwest Indiana's cultural landscape shows signs of brightening in a study measuring quality of life in the region.
The 2012 report by One Region cited increased state funding to the arts, the strong economic impact of tourism and heightened activity by nonprofit agencies as signs of an upturn.
Culture in the region is one of 10 crucial areas to show signs of improvement in the assessment by One Region, a merger of the former Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Council and the One Region, One Vision initiative.
The study noted the effects on the region economy, including the positive impact of millions of visitors to area casinos' gaming and entertainment venues.
The number of arts-related businesses grew by nearly 500 between 2009 and 2012, according to the study, adding an additional 6,000 workers.
At the same time, the report cautioned the region to be more mindful of its greatest built-in attraction, Lake Michigan's shoreline.
The shoreline is "the region's defining characteristic, and the fact that much of it is protected by national and state parks is among its greatest assets," the report said.
"Yet it is not clear that these natural assets are appreciated in the region, are visible beyond the region or are fully supported and marketed to the extent they could be."