Karin Copeland

Karin Copeland

Fostering and managing innovation is a continuous challenge for businesses. To meet this challenge it is critical to build a workplace culture that supports failure as an inevitability on the path to innovation. Artists and designers are taught that their best work is a result of these failures and progress can be made by revisiting old ideas from a fresh perspective.

From the iterative methodologies found in industrial and software design to the formalized critiques of a fine arts classroom, the concept of Design Thinking is a learned skill in fields that we traditionally define as creative. This way of thought is crucial to developing an innovative business sector that is both agile and collaborative.

Design Thinking has been around for decades but it has made a resurgence in recent years as swiftly changing technologies and a global marketplace force us to adapt the way we do business and adjust our corporate culture.  Business now requires creative talent to generate the innovative solutions and products of tomorrow.

This talent is often multidisciplinary, with the ability to problem-solve a diverse project set while still holding a vision of the big picture. This superstar talent is a rare commodity but, with the adoption of Design Thinking and a push toward a collaborative workplace, a company’s culture can be redesigned in such a way that it can nurture its current staff to become these superstars.  Read the rest of this entry »

Six Ways to Help Your Brand Succeed

Posted by Hannah Sawhney On March - 1 - 2013
Hannah Sawhney

Hannah Sawhney

Every organization needs a brand—it’s your core identity—the nucleus of the cell. Everything revolves and functions around it. But there’s more to it than just a design-savvy logo, and as arts marketers, we need to keep this in mind when thinking about branding.

In the National Arts Marketing Project’s most recent e-book, Turn Branding OOPS into Branding WHOOP WHOOPS, we look to the different aspects that make up a brand; focusing on ones that are have been successful with their branding efforts and others, well, that have lacked the “whoop whoop” factor when trying to reach the top.

Although we may think that we have what it takes when it comes to knowing our arts patrons, when it comes to brand management there are some key pitfalls that if overlooked can be harmful or even detrimental in the long run.

So how does one know what is behind that well-designed logo? Or, when undergoing a major re-branding effort or even starting from scratch, how can we ensure that we are taking the right steps to success?

Here are 6 points to make sure your brand doesn’t fall into the OOPS category:

1)      Switching Gears. Re-branding can make for a sticky situation. Why? Because when you’re making a major change to something that your long-time fans care about, your consumers are quick to notice (especially in the digital age). Make sure to have a strategy that stays true to not only your brand, but your audience as well. Read the rest of this entry »

John Bryan

John Bryan

Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class is now 11 years old, and the notion that left-brained corporate types can benefit from right-brained creative types is acknowledged as gospel.

Although Florida’s work has resulted in blue-chip value for “creative thinkers,” there is no empirical evidence to show whether business executives claim any workplace value for their own personal artistic pursuits.

Indeed, do the personal artistic pursuits of business workers add value to the corporate workplace? The exploration of this question is one line of research that has been spawned by a recent gathering in Virginia.

On November 27 in Richmond President and CEO of The Conference Board Jonathan Spector and Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch convened 16 corporate executives and 16 artists for an eight-hour “Creative Conversation”—a day of envisioning a new transaction model between business and arts. The forever-held model is straightforward: businesses give money to the arts so that the arts can enrich their communities.

Richmond’s event explored the possibility of an opposite transaction model. Can corporations benefit by reaching out to and engaging practicing artists? Participants included executives from Fortune 500 companies such as Altria, Dominion, and MeadWestvaco; leaders from service organizations such as J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College and Leadership Metro Richmond; and CEOs from specialty companies such as The Martin Agency and Richmond Times-Dispatch. Read the rest of this entry »

We Aren’t Preparing Young People for Careers at Disney or Apple

Posted by Lisa Phillips On January - 14 - 2013

Lisa Phillips with Steve Wozniak

There seems to be a major disconnect between how creativity is valued in society and the career advice we give our children. We all know that the arts are a valuable means of expression, a means to share stories across cultures and an uplifting and moving source of entertainment.

We revere our cultural icons, whether they are movie stars, literary authors or artists, but we seem to limit the possibility of careers in the arts to only a talented few.

How many of us arts professionals have heard from family and friends, “When are you going to get a real job?”

So, why do we put our cultural icons on a pedestal but undervalue arts education? I think one of the reasons is that as a society we are preoccupied with the idea that the arts are reserved only for those with talent. However, in the reality of today’s job market, we need to change this idea.

There is a significant gap between what children are told is important for their future career success and what business leaders actually want from the emerging workforce. Creative individuals are actually in demand. Not just for arts careers, but for careers in business as well.

For example, Disney and Apple are two of the most successful companies of our time, largely because of the creativity, innovation, and the leadership they have demonstrated in their respective industries.

In an era when businesses are constantly struggling to find creative ways to stay at the top of their market, arts education can be a powerful tool to nurture the creative abilities of our young people, ensuring they are ready for the skills that are in demand. Read the rest of this entry »

Part of the Value of Culture (from The pARTnership Movement)

Posted by Will Maitland Weiss On September - 20 - 2012

Will Maitland Weiss

Last Friday, a couple of Arts & Business Council of New York staff members attended a City Council hearing on how cultural organizations support New York City businesses, to help Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, his City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, and the Committee on Small Businesses in their effort to quantify the economic impact of and further connect arts and business.

Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin was there and talked about the purchasing power of cultural organizations, particularly in terms of local spending in areas such as printing, catering, and equipment rentals.

Councilmember Van Bramer said, “Any time we cut the budget for cultural institutions, we are hurting small businesses.” Here’s what we said:

We all know why 51 million tourists come to New York.

We know that 6.3 million of them come to the Met Museum—so many, the Met is looking at opening seven days a week for the first time since 1971. There’s only one museum on earth that more people go to (the Mona Lisa is there), and no place on earth has the breadth and diversity of museums, and the breadth, depth, and impact of enrichment programs for public school children.

We know that Broadway always has been, is, always will be New York—more than 12 million attendees in 2011, more than $1 billion in ticket sales. How many other, smaller businesses are supported in and around the Great White Way?

We know that almost 200 movies and 140 TV shows were filmed in New York last year. It’s not just Woody Allen and Smash. This is where the top artists want to work, which creates 100,000 jobs for others behind the scenes, every one of whom shops, eats, spends (and pays taxes) in New York. Look at Buttercup and Kaufman Studios. Look at the expansion plans for Steiner Studios.

We know the economic impact figures for New York State are $25 billion a year, and 200,000+ jobs…or maybe it’s twice that by now (those are the Alliance for the Arts figures from 2005)? The most recent Municipal Art Society/Cultural Data Project figures from just 1,325 of the nonprofit culturals show 120,000+ people employed and over $5 billion in direct expenditures—just from the nonprofits. Read the rest of this entry »

Corporate Culture Goes Cultural (from The pARTnership Movement)

Posted by Jessica Stern On August - 2 - 2012

Jessica Stern

I’m not going to lie, I really don’t know much about visual art. It’s embarrassing as an “arts” administrator because my brother is an accomplished artist, my mother is a wildly creative interior designer, and my father fashions some of the most impressive urban development project management documents around.

Now, I could tell you all about Romantic-era composers, and go on about West African beats and argue why their current grooves are an aural history lesson of the slave-trade and post-colonialism, but when it comes to visual art, I just really don’t know a lot.

What I do know is, 1) generally speaking, I like visual art a lot and 2) I love seeing art by people who don’t consider themselves professional artists.

Enter reason #17 or so why I love my job: The ongoing charge to recognize businesses that make a special effort to unleash the inner artist in their accountants, actuaries, techies, and administrators.

So, naturally I was overjoyed to receive an invite last month to attend the opening of The Standard’s 2nd Annual ARTS (Artists in Residence at The Standard) Show.

The Standard, a financial services company, is one of Portland’s largest private employers, with approximately 2,200 individuals working in the state. This 106-year-old Oregon-born company was founded originally as a life insurance company with a goal to “champion the needs of the local community.” That value of being a community champion still rings true and The Standard is continually recognized for its charitable work, in addition to being a great supporter of arts and culture.

Always on Business for Culture & the Arts’ (BCA) list of the Top Business Donors to the Arts, The Standard ranked as the #1 Business Donor to the Arts in 2010 in the Portland Metro Area and #2 in the state of Oregon. Last year, in BCA’s cumulative study of 10 years of data, The Standard ranked #6 in the state of Oregon (having contributed over $1.8 million to arts and culture in 10 years).

Whether it’s through volunteerism, employee team scavenger hunts or direct giving, in addition to insurance, this company does something exquisitely: they honor their employees.

But back to ARTS…I’m familiar with programs that other Business Committees for the Arts run in other cities like On My Own Time (Denver) and art@work (Kansas City), but I hadn’t realized that some companies take it upon themselves to highlight the artistic talents of their staff. Read the rest of this entry »

Jessica Johnson

In Iowa’s Creative Corridor, we are fortunate to enjoy an excellent quality of life. That is largely due to the abundance of arts and culture in our community.

Nestled in America’s Heartland, Iowa’s Creative Corridor is the region along I-380 in east central Iowa including Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and more than two dozen other municipalities. The Corridor is home to hundreds of arts organizations, multiple higher education facilities, nearly 30 Fortune 500 companies, and more than a dozen international organizations.

Iowa’s Creative Corridor brings innovation to the world through a unique fusion of art, science, and technology. Examples range from artistic endeavors like the world-famous Iowa Writers’ Workshop, which has resulted in 28 Pulitzer Prizes, to Rockwell Collins, a company that supplies the nation with aviation and information technology systems for defense and commercial avionics markets.

We live in a global economy where creativity is a key driver. The ability to attract and retain skilled employees is a central issue for businesses today. An increasing number of people choose where they want to live first and find a job in that area. Quality of life has never been so important to attracting talent, and the arts are significant to creating a quality of life that people seek out. In addition, the arts support inclusion in our communities by bringing people of diverse backgrounds together for shared experiences and by celebrating what makes us each unique and different.

Representing more than 150 arts organizations, the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance (ICCA) nurtures a sustainable cultural community in Iowa’s Creative Corridor through advocacy, promotion, professional development, and raising awareness of arts and culture opportunities. In a region with a spirit of creative innovation, ICCA works to foster collaboration within the arts community, as well as between arts organizations and the business community. Read the rest of this entry »

Kelly Seward

Spring is my favorite time of year because companies across Kansas City begin luring artists, writers, musicians, dancers, and filmmakers from their cubes for the sixth annual Art@Work corporate arts festival.

When the program began in 2007, I believed Art@Work was about showcasing the arts in all of its various forms. I know now that it’s about showcasing people.

Two years ago, Pat Wigley, a cable lineman at Kansas City Power & Light, created a sculpture of a wind-bent tree using the overhead line he works on every day. His co-workers awarded Into the Storm a first place ribbon and advanced Pat’s sculpture to our city-wide competition.

During the opening reception, I was approached by a teenage boy who saw the piece and wanted to know more about it. After we found Pat and his wife in the crowd, the boy energetically shook Pat’s hand and exclaimed, “It’s an honor to meet you, sir. You’ve inspired me to become an artist.” Pat looked confused but his wife absolutely beamed.

The two talked for a while about electricity,  wire-bending techniques, and inspiration. Before he left, the boy shook Pat’s hand again and said, “I’m going home to start making art right now.” Read the rest of this entry »

Creativity is the Connection to Corporations

Posted by Michelle Mann On November - 18 - 2011

Michelle Mann

Over the past 7 months, as a loaned executive from Adobe to 1st ACT, I have gained a new appreciation for the difficulties arts organizations face when raising money.

In the heart of Silicon Valley, with its corporate giants and start-up millionaires, there is very little investment in the arts and culture ecosystem. That’s because 70-80% of Silicon Valley’s wealth leaves the region.

I probably shouldn’t have been surprised — understanding the global nature of business. But I am disappointed that more of my peers and former colleagues in corporate philanthropy don’t include arts and culture in their giving portfolios.

Study after study have demonstrated the link between creativity and the arts to higher academic achievement, to attainment of 21st century skills, to brain development and early literacy, and social and emotional development.

Corporate leaders talk about creativity being an essential skill for the 21st century workforce. They want  to hire people who are problem solvers, are flexible and can adapt quickly to new situations, are culturally competent and open to working with others. Read the rest of this entry »

Creating Lasting & Successful pARTnerships

Posted by Emily Peck On November - 18 - 2011
Emily Peck

Emily Peck

All week, ARTSblog has been featuring stories about how and why the arts can help businesses achieve their business goals.

We know from talking to all of you at conferences, on webinars, by email, and various other ways that these partnerships have been happening everywhere to enhance the critical thinking and creativity skills of the corporate workforce and help businesses achieve other goals including recruitment, retention, and team building.

But don’t take my word for it, check out these videos:

Looking to enhance team spirit and encourage teamwork, some companies participate in battle of the bands. These competitions take place in local communities and at the Fortune Battle of the Bands sponsored by NAMM. Check out this clip from Progressive Corps band “The Messengers.”

For 25 years, Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program has partnered with theaters to teach more than 15 million people lessons that impact the company’s bottom-line about healthy eating, peer pressure, drug and alcohol abuse and more. Watch excerpts from the program and hear from students, teachers and doctors about the results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Designing and Implementing Arts-Based Initiatives

Posted by Giovanni Schiuma On November - 16 - 2011

Giovanni Schiuma

Today many organizations have discovered the benefits related to the use in business of the arts in order to explore and solve business issues.

Unilever has largely used arts-based initiatives (ABIs) to spur people’s change and to develop organizational culture. Nestlé has used ABIs to enhance marketing team’s creativity and to develop communication skills and collaboration in terms of ideas and expertise sharing.

Atradius has captured brand value by developing a partnership with Welsh National Opera. Price Waterhouse Coopers has used ABIs to unlock employees’ creativity energy, inspiring and challenging people to think and act differently.

Indeed the arts, in the form of ABIs, represent a powerful management tool for developing workforce and organizational infrastructure that can drive business performance improvements.

Examples can range from the use of art forms to entertain organizations’ employees and clients, to the deployment of arts to develop ‘soft competencies’ of people in the organization, and may include the exploitation of the arts to create intangible value to be incorporated into products or to transform and enhance organization’s infrastructural assets such as, for instance, image, identity, reputation, culture, and climate. Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Employees: ‘You Can Live Without That Trouble’

Posted by Mary Wright On November - 16 - 2011

Mary Wright

In preparation for writing this post, I came across this:

“Don’t hire intelligent, creative people. Creative employees are nothing but trouble. Don’t hire them, I tell you. Let the intelligent people go back to college or start their own business or bother someone else with their constant ideas and questions and high energy. You can live without that trouble.”

This was written by Fred W. Spannaus, principal of Spannaus Consulting. He proceeds to give a list of reasons (they talk back; they never listen; they can be right frequently; you need to earn their respect, etc.) all of which of course takes time and effort on the part of supervisors and colleagues.

As I read this tongue-in-cheek piece (at least I hoped so!), I realized that many of us have worked at organizations where we probably were convinced that the managers didn’t want any new ideas, or to be challenged on existing protocols, or to have to continue to prove their worth — because if we hadn’t, where would the phrase “think outside the box” have come from?

Yet, we are also pretty sure that there isn’t a company who would admit to wanting to crush every new idea, make their employees feel constrained at every turn. In fact, most companies, regardless of industry, probably use the word “creative” or “innovative” to describe their products, offerings, or staff. Read the rest of this entry »

Business & Arts Partnerships: The Benefits and the Challenges

Posted by Neil McKenzie On November - 15 - 2011

Neil McKenzie

For years the arts have received the support of patrons in order to grow and prosper. Today the role of the patron is increasingly being replaced by support from the business community.

To many in the art world, this trend is a welcome sight in an era of strained sources of traditional funding.

Ironically, even while businesses are viewed as a source of arts funding these same businesses are faced with shrinking budgets. One of the challenges that businesses face is that they are being asked to support a multitude of organizations and worthy causes including the arts.

As the competition for corporate support increases, arts organizations must be able to prove that they provide measureable benefits. Businesses are in their comfort zone when they can quantify the outcomes or benefits associated with an expenditure or investment.

The problem is that many of the benefits associated with the arts are “soft” or intangible and thus difficult to measure — this is a major challenge for both business and the arts as they seek to develop partnerships. Read the rest of this entry »

1998 Rotary Club – Why the Arts are Good for Business

Posted by Janet Brown On November - 15 - 2011

Janet Brown

“It’s déjà vu all over again.” I stumbled across a speech I gave to a Rotary Club in 1998 on why business should support arts education. Here’s a condensed version. Twenty years later, same arguments apply and the situation is worse for workers and arts in education.

For many years, American business got what it wanted from schools; people suited to work in factories or, more commonly in our area, people suited to work the land.

Over the past two decades, however, business has changed drastically from an industrial to an information orientation with fierce global competition. Today, a skilled, creative workforce is key to competitive success.

What the business community of the 21st century needs for success and what the arts have to offer in educating the workforce are these five things: (there are really more than five but…)

Imagination
Teamwork
Flexibility
Communication
Excellence Read the rest of this entry »

What Arts Managers Can Learn from Steve Jobs

Posted by Jeff Scott On November - 4 - 2011

Jeff Scott

With the recent release of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, and several other bios scheduled to come out in the near future, there’s a lot of discussion on what kind of a manager Jobs was.

While the management of a publicly-traded tech company and that of a nonprofit arts organization may seem worlds apart, there are some basic kernels that arts leaders can take from Steve Jobs’ career.

We’ve heard a lot about Jobs’ so-called “reality distortion field.” He pushed his employees to the max, believing that work that normally would take a month could be done in a few days. While the pressure was too much for many employees, others said it caused them to do some of the best work of their careers.

For arts managers working with limited resources in terms of people, time, and money, the notion of a reality distortion field is probably a familiar one. So many times we find ourselves making something out of almost nothing and hopefully that something is a brilliant work of art. But what is perhaps more significant is how Jobs handled his employees. Not only did he believe that a particular task could get done a certain way in a certain time frame, he believed that his people would be able to accomplish it. Read the rest of this entry »

Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.