There was a time not so long ago when politicians scarcely mentioned culture. Some still don't.
So it was gratifying that new metro mayor Andy Street recognises the West Midlands' success in the creative industries and the enormous potential of the sector.
The creative industries are worth £87 billion - more than the car industry or aerospace - and have been growing faster than the rest of the British economy since the 2008 crash.
Although many major cultural institutions remain based in London, Birmingham and the West Midlands are among areas seeing significant new employment.
The number of jobs in the creative industries rose by 15.6 per cent in London between 2011 and 2015 but by 38.7 per cent in the West Midlands.
Nearly three million people now have jobs in the creative economy.
This includes the designers behind the sleek lines of a Rolls-Royce or Jaguar as well as the young creatives in the BBC's Digital Guerillas innovation unit.
Birmingham, of course, has strong form in harnessing the power of culture.
The city's civic leaders forged ahead with plans for Symphony Hall three decades ago at a time of high unemployment and financial instability.
The hall, one of the finest concert venues in the world, remains a symbol of the city's bold ambition.
A similar ambition is demonstrated by both the Coventry and Hereford bids to be UK city of culture in 2021.
But, as we develop a vision of Britain post-Brexit, now is a good moment to recognise that the creative sector can deliver so much more if the right leadership and practical policies are in place.
Some of the new metro mayor's responsibilities, such as transport, have important ramifications for the creative sector.
Having good public transport available at times when people want to use it is vital in bringing and broadening audiences to what is happening on the stages of the Hippodrome or RSC.
When it comes to the over-arching ambition of boosting the economy, the metro mayor should both champion the creative sector and use his convening powers to positive effect.
The vibrancy of Britain's creative industries is built on the mix of our publicly supported arts institutions combined with commercial businesses, from architects to video games makers, all underpinned by good cultural education.
There is a crossover of ideas and skills.
Modest public investment by local and national government has a multiplier effect in nurturing new talent that benefits the wider creative sector.
Places such as The Custard Factory, where creative businesses can cluster, or Millennium Point, where the arts are explored alongside science and tech, help drive innovation.
Federation member universities such as Birmingham City University, Coventry and Wolverhampton are increasingly playing a bigger role in the communities where they are based.
The Creative Industries Federation was established two years ago to be the voice for all the UK's arts, creative industries and cultural education.
We have found that joined-up thinking gets more done. That's a major opportunity to be seized by Andy Street and his fellow metro mayors.
John Kampfner is chief executive of the Creative Industries Federation