Supporting Arts Education is Good Business

Posted by Emily Peck On September - 13 - 2011
Emily Peck

Emily Peck

What is the role of business in ensuring that our educational system provides the workforce that they need?

Businesses have been addressing this concern in a number of ways including forming partnerships with arts organizations and creating signature arts education programs to prepare students from elementary school through college to be successful in careers in both the for-profit and nonprofit world.

Training the Future Workforce to be Creative and Innovative

Businesses have a vested interest in ensuring that the future workforce is prepared for jobs that might not even exist yet and one of the top skills this workforce needs is creativity. 1,500 CEOs interviewed by IBM picked creativity as the most important leadership attribute.

According to the study, “creative leaders invite disruptive innovation, encourage others to drop outdated approaches and take balanced risks. They are open-minded and inventive in expanding their management and communication styles.”

Some businesses have taken on the challenge of building the workforce that we need and created signature corporate philanthropy programs that are training the next generation of employees in creativity and innovation through the arts. Here are two examples but there are many more:

Time Warner created the Youth Media and Creative Arts initiative to support visual arts, performing arts, and filmmaking afterschool programs for underserved youth with the idea that these skills will be valuable to students in their future education and in their future careers.

Adobe Youth Voices empowers youth in underserved communities to use cutting edge multimedia technology to share their ideas. Students learn storytelling and the tools to tell their stories. The students then go out into the community to create documentaries on issues large and small including education, domestic violence, and environmental issues. More than 20,000 youth have participated in this program where they have learned to be creative and have gained important skills like teamwork, leadership, and decision making. All of these lessons will benefit these students throughout their careers.

What are you seeing across the country? How else can companies build the 21st century workforce?

Preparing the Next Generation of Arts Professionals

We’ve probably all heard it before… “Can you really make a living doing that?”

It is a commonly asked question to anyone who has a passion for the arts. Many students with an interest in the arts don’t know that there are numerous opportunities to work in the arts field. In order to help students with a passion for the arts, some businesses have started supporting programs that ensure that the arts sector will have a diverse and well-prepared workforce.

Deutsche Bank collaborated with the Partnership for After School Education (PASE) to create the Youth Arts Career Guide, which provides students/teachers/parents with information about what it means to work in the arts, the types of jobs that exist, and how to prepare for these careers. PASE used its relationship with 1,200 community organizations to spread this information throughout New York City. Deutsche Bank explained its support for this program in its 2003 citizenship report: “The objective is to prepare disadvantaged youths for careers in the arts, a key economic driver in the city and one in which these youths are underrepresented.”

Also, in New York City, the Arts & Business Council of NY has partnered with Con Edison on the Multicultural Arts Management Internship Program, which brings 10 diverse students to New York City to work at arts organizations throughout the city. The internship program is designed to encourage students to find fulfilling careers in either the arts or business sector. In addition to working at an arts organization, students have access to a business mentor. You can hear directly from Alton Murray, program manager for arts and culture at Con Edison, about why he values his company’s partnership with this program.

By supporting these types of arts educations initiatives, businesses have demonstrated their desire to build a more creative future workforce and a desire to ensure that the arts thrive in their community.

Have you seen other examples of businesses cultivating a creative workforce?

3 Responses to “Supporting Arts Education is Good Business”

  1. [...] Supporting Arts Education is Good Business By Emily Peck, 3 contributed posts View all Emily Peck's posts. About the author: Emily Peck writes for ARTSblog, published by Americans for the Arts. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010, Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. View all syndicated posts from Americans for the Arts blogs under the "Art World News" tab in the top menu. var addthis_product = 'wpp-261'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true,"ui_cobrand":"SOAR","ui_508_compliant":true};Tweet [...]

  2. Gary Steuer says:

    Could not agree more! Excellent points, and the data and endorsements to back it up. Here is link to my blog entry posted back in June that made essentially the same point: http://artscultureandcreativeeconomy.blogspot.com/2011/06/thoughts-on-arts-education-as-economic.html

    One can never make these points too often because we still have so long to go in getting government and philanthropic decision-makers to get the message. Bravo!

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