Kellyn Lopes

Kellyn Lopes

There have been a slew of discussions lately centered around the potential in combining art and technology, two sectors that operate differently but ultimately share many similarities. A recent article in the New York Times by Alice Gregory questioned if in the physical world, the arts and tech are clashing cultures, or “parallel universes that rarely intersect.” Stephen Tanenbaum, on the other hand, noted that “arts and tech are not in competition with each other,” but are at a juncture that offers exciting opportunities for collaboration and growth, pointing to San Francisco in particular.

Perhaps instead of asking: “Are the arts and tech in competition?” we ask: “How can the arts and tech partner to foster the next wave of culture and technology?” Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2015

Posted by Randy Cohen On March - 13 - 2015
Randy Cohen

Randy Cohen

With the arts advocacy season fully upon us, the following is my updated “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” Changes this year include updating #3 with the BEA’s new Arts in the GDP research, #8 to include a statement about the benefits of the arts in the military, and #10 includes the new Creative Industries data (now current as of January 2015).

This is just one of many arrows to include in your arts advocacy quiver. While it’s a helpful one, we know there are many more reasons to support the arts. What are yours? Please share your #11 (and more!) in the comments section below. What a great collection we can build together. Read the rest of this entry »

Jordan Shue

Jordan Shue

Raaja Nemani

Raaja Nemani

Recently in our travels through the internet, my colleagues and I stumbled upon a young, Chicago-based company that supports artists by collaborating with them to design and sell canvas shoes (reminding us of VANS Custom Culture Contest, going on in schools across the country right now!). We were thrilled to see how explicit the company is in its support of the arts, and were even more excited when Co-Founder and CEO, Raaja Nemani, responded to my email immediately, graciously agreeing to answer some of my questions about such an amazing company. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Strategies from Cleveland and Dayton

Posted by James Brooks On February - 5 - 2015
James Brooks

James Brooks

You can look at numbers to confirm the role that the arts play in the life of a city – or you can look at real examples, such as Cleveland and Dayton. Certainly the numbers, from research conducted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis describing the economic impacts of the arts, tell a positive story. But what I find more interesting is the model adopted locally that leverages unique local assets to serve local needs.

The Gordon Square Arts District and the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance are both the result of coalitions of stakeholders seeking to enhance community assets. Moreover, they both contribute to building and sustaining a high quality of life in their respective communities. Read the rest of this entry »

Mayor Jim Brainard on Carmel, Indiana’s Arts and Culture District

Posted by Mayor Jim Brainard On February - 4 - 2015
Mayor Jim Brainard

Mayor Jim Brainard

As American suburbs developed in the years after World War II, people tended to think of them as little more than places to sleep after a long day working in the big city nearby. They made their homes, educated their kids and went to church in the suburbs. But when it came to experiencing the arts, they were forced to get in their cars and drive into the core of the big city.

In Carmel, Indiana – a suburb north of Indianapolis that has grown to more than 85,000 residents – we chose to do things differently. We thought it was important that our “bedroom suburb” have easy access to the arts. As busy families began to seek other forms of entertainment closer to home, we recognized that they stood the risk of missing out on experiencing the arts telling the story of our country through dance, music, and sculpture. Read the rest of this entry »

Creativity AND the Arts: not an “either/or”

Posted by Janet Starke On February - 4 - 2015
Janet Starke

Janet Starke

Creativity. The Creative Worker. Creative Problem-Solvers. The Creative Class, (as coined by Richard Florida), Creativity in the Workplace. A Google search on the word “creativity” elicits 216,000,000 listings. Many of the scholarly articles address the role of creativity in the workplace, the relationship between creativity and cognition, or how to cultivate creativity. Mention creativity, and it’s only a matter of time before the conversation turns to the debate of STEM vs. STEAM. What I have increasingly observed in both articles and conversations on creativity is that some include the arts as an integral component in cultivating creativity, while many others do not. Read the rest of this entry »

Seven Key Principles for Curating a Cultural District

Posted by J. Kevin McMahon On February - 4 - 2015
J. Kevin McMahon

J. Kevin McMahon

Numerous editorials have covered the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s work in overseeing Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations—turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners.  Founded in 1984, the Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of the 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, which attracts over two million visitors annually. The organization has grown from a $170k budget in 1984 to a $53M budget today.  Most importantly, 90% of the annual budget is allocated to the mission and programs and the organization has maintained a balanced budget year to year.

Below are seven key principles that informed the development of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Ed in Museum Spaces: Maine’s Own, the Farnsworth Art Museum

Posted by Meg Salocks On January - 23 - 2015
Meg Salocks

Meg Salocks

The Farnsworth Art Museum is a small art museum in Rockland, ME – approximately 70 miles north of the state’s capital – that is really anything but small. Founded in 1948, the museum’s collection was designed specifically to celebrate “Maine’s role in American Art.” With this in mind, it is not at all surprising that the Farnsworth Art Museum’s current focus is building “life-long connections” with all the diverse and divergent audiences in Maine’s mid-coast region. Read the rest of this entry »

Building Capacity–The Silicon Valley Way

Posted by Joshua Russell On January - 22 - 2015
Josh Russell Headshot

Joshua Russell

As a long-time re-granting organization, Silicon Valley Creates knows how critically important money is to our arts and culture ecosystem. Organizations will also prioritize funding before any other form of support.

But when Arts Council Silicon Valley, a 30-year old United Arts Fund, merged with 1stACT Silicon Valley, a community catalyst, to form Silicon Valley Creates just over a year ago, we opted to take a new approach to how we strengthen our creative ecosystem–which was one of four main goals in our strategic plan.

So we developed a framework (pdf) of what we believe to be the key elements to a sustainable artist or arts organization in Silicon Valley. Read the rest of this entry »

Jordan Shue

Jordan Shue

Nearly 40 years after its founding by the Arts & Business Council in 1975, the Business Volunteers for the Arts® network is holding strong, according to the 2014 BVA survey results.

Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) is a national skills-based management consulting program operated by a network of organizations across the country under the leadership and coordination of Americans for the Arts. It pairs nonprofit arts groups with specially trained business executives who volunteer their time and skills to assist with distinct management projects. Though the number of active BVAs has fallen slightly in the past year, those still operating them are running robust programs that seek to fill an active need in the communities in which they operate, both for the arts organizations receiving pro bono support and the businesses that encourage their employees to give their time and skills to the arts. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts Mean Business Forum Highlights from Miami Arts Week

Posted by Laura Bruney On December - 18 - 2014
Laura Bruney

Laura Bruney

The 2014 edition of Art Basel week this December in Miami featured the perfect marriage of arts and business. Beyond the dozens of satellite fairs and thousands of gallery booths catering to collectors, Miami Art Week offered a far more compelling benefit for businesses eager to court potential clients. Pacesetters from all industries and brand power houses swooned at the reach of art week. Developers, financial investment companies, tech start-ups, luxury car brands, and more cleverly leveraged the arts as a strategic imperative for business. These companies know the arts mean business. Read the rest of this entry »

Kellyn Lopes

Kellyn Lopes

The era of relying on logos and catch phrases to cultivate strong brands is over. Our 21st century, tech-saturated lives require more from companies to capture our attention. The demand for more creative branding is growing. Consumers more and more respond to personal connections with businesses, which is why creating associations with ideas and feelings is essential for building a dynamic brand. In fact, millennials are engaging more extensively and personally with brands than previous generations.

The arts capture and create what brands strive to harness: emotion, vibrancy, cultural identity, relevance, community development, and human conditions, to name a few. Partnering with the arts generates competitive brands. In fact, 79% of businesses who partner with the arts agree that the arts increase name recognition.

Utilizing the arts in ad campaigns and sponsoring arts events are quick, simple, and effective ways for businesses to take advantage of the brand-enhancing capacity of the arts. Arts-centric campaigns help to build market share, attract new consumers, and provide visibility for both businesses and the arts. A win-win situation indeed!

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s volunteerism anyway? A recap of ABCNY’s Arts Volunteer Fair

Posted by Kellyn Lopes On December - 4 - 2014
Kellyn Lopes

Kellyn Lopes

The Wix Lounge, an impressive space for communal offices in Chelsea, Manhattan, is usually bustling with young tech entrepreneurs, artists, and freelance professionals. On Tuesday, November 18th, the Arts & Business Council of New York transformed the space into a new community: a networking event for arts organizations and business professionals interested in volunteerism. Almost twenty arts organizations, ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Bronx Museum, to TaDa! Youth Theater and ProjectArt, shared volunteer opportunities for professionals looking to get involved.

At the event, I was able to get the scoop about trends in arts volunteerism and the types of volunteer opportunities available. Here’s what I found:

The arts are a catalyst for volunteer work

Diane Conroy, Manager of Corporate Programming at Free Arts NYC, told me a fantastic story. Free Arts NYC provides arts educational and mentorship programs free of charge to underserved youth and families in New York City. Read the rest of this entry »

Sarah Sidman

Sarah Sidman

You probably already know that Starbucks sells coffee*.

And even if you don’t know us, you can probably guess that ArtsFund has something to do with funding the arts.

But what you might not know is how coffee, crowd-funding, community radio and a cool arts presenter are connecting to empower music lovers and make a difference for Seattle youth.

It’s a pretty good story, and it’s not over yet! Read the rest of this entry »

Rebuilding Fort Worth’s Business Volunteers for the Arts Program

Posted by Wendy Taliaferro On November - 11 - 2014
Wendy Taliaferro

Wendy Taliaferro

For those readers who may not know a ton about Fort Worth, our city has an incredibly unique and growing arts and culture scene. Approximately 40 minutes from Dallas, Fort Worth has a little bit of everything. From world-class museums, eclectic gallery spaces, and an emerging music scene, this city has a fantastic variety for arts lovers.

As an employee of the Arts Council of Fort Worth, I work in the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, a public space that promotes the talents of local artists, musicians, actors, and dancers. During my time at the Arts Council, I have quickly learned that public programs and spaces are a vital piece to Fort Worth’s cultural success. With that said, I started my job at the Arts Council of Fort Worth over six months ago with an inactive Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) program on my desk. In the past, our BVA program had blips of success, offering assistance to local arts organizations here and there. However, I began looking into the chapters in larger cities and noticed that this program could and should have a greater impact on our community with the amount of artists and business professionals working closely together. Read the rest of this entry »