Up to the minute news on arts and business partnerships.


New Study Shows: More Corporate Giving in 2014

Posted by Stacy Lasner
New Study Shows: More Corporate Giving in 2014

Every year the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy publishes their annual Giving USA analysis on philanthropy. According to a recent ARTSblog post by Americans for the Arts’ Vice President of Research and Policy, Randy Cohen, their latest report shows that 2014 was a good year for the arts and corporate giving.


With the exception of International Affairs, giving in 2014 rose across all sectors, with Arts, Culture, and the Humanities seeing the highest percentage growth. In 2014, private sector giving to the arts, culture, and humanities (by individuals, foundations, and corporations) totaled $17.23 billion, representing a 9.2 percent increase from 2013. Corporate giving grew the most in 2014, increasing 13.7 percent for a total of $17.77 billion.


Corporate contributions are directly related to profits and the economy, but profits and the economy can also be positively impacted by the arts! In 2012, the production of arts and cultural goods added more than $698 billion to the U.S. economy. This production amounted to 4.32 percent of GDP, ahead of the $586-billion construction industry and the $461-billion transportation and warehousing industry, according to a recent federal report by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Through The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts helps businesses understand the powerful affect the arts can have on the economy and community vitality. The arts enhance community development, create jobs, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw tourism dollars, and create an environment that attracts skilled and educated workers.


Read more about the results of Giving USA 2015.


Learn more about The pARTnership Movement.


Introducing the New pARTnership Movement Essay Series

Posted by Emily Peck

Dear Friends,


Throughout the United States, today's most innovative businesses are using the arts to help them meet some of their most difficult and vital objectives.


In 2012, Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, created The pARTnership Movement to help businesses understand the strategic value of partnering with the arts and build their own successful partnerships.


I am excited to share that The pARTnership Movement's newly launched essay series provides an insider look at how some of the most prominent businesses in America profit by partnering with the arts. Each of the eight essays illustrates one of The pARTnership Movement's 8 reasons for businesses to partner with the arts.


With insights culled from some of the most celebrated business leaders in the United States, the essays, which will be released throughout 2015 and 2016, provide real-world examples of how partnering with the arts can help businesses of all sizes and industries tell their story, recruit talent, advance corporate objectives, develop a wider consumer-base, engage employees, and build stronger communities.


I hope you will take a look at the first essay in this new series, Recruit and Retain Talent. This essay provides insight about how by partnering with the arts, businesses can attract and retain the talented, motivated people they need in order to gain a competitive edge and outperform the competition.


If you'd like to be notified when new essays are posted on The pARTnership Movement website, sign up for BCAnoteworthy, our monthly arts and business newsletter.


Do you have your own successful arts and business partnership story to share? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at






Emily Peck
Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives
Americans for the Arts



Spotlight on Arts & Business Partnerships in Chicago

Posted by Jordan Shue
Spotlight on Arts & Business Partnerships in Chicago

The worlds of arts and business came together on June 13 during Americans for the Arts’ Annual Convention Chicago, when three leaders from the local community came together for a session to discuss best practices in forming mutually beneficial partnerships.


Andrew Micheli, the Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Chicago; Raaja Nemani, the Co-Founder and CEO of BucketFeet; and Christine Hoisington, Director of Community Partnerships at Booz Allen Hamilton (a 2011 BCA 10 honoree), joined Americans for the Arts’ Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives, Emily Peck, for a frank conversation about what businesses want from partnerships with the arts.


Raaja Nemani, who co-founded BucketFeet four years ago after traveling around the world, spoke about the company’s work with Elizabeth’s Canvas, an arts organization dedicated to providing cancer patients, survivors, and their family members with free creative programs. BucketFeet, in addition to supporting arts groups, supports individual artists around the world by commissioning them to design shoes and other products, as well as accepting unsolicited proposals for new products. According to Nemani, “art is an agent of change…a way to bring different people together.”


Booz Allen Hamilton’s Christine Hoisington was very clear that businesses are not looking to sign checks for arts organizations; sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships are way to go. She suggested that since “arts organizations are the best to partner with for employee engagement,” groups could approach businesses with value-added propositions for how the arts can play into a businesses’ goals, rather than seek outright support through traditional means like donations and sponsorships. In addition to supporting the Environmental Film Festival, Booz Allen Hamilton employees volunteer and are involved each year in the event.


Employee engagement, particularly through skills-based volunteering, is the way the Arts & Business Council of Chicago began its operations 30 years ago today with its Business Volunteers for the Arts® program. Andrew Micheli spoke of the organization’s push to educate local arts organizations about forming arts and business partnerships. By fostering board placements, engaging business employees through professional volunteering, and more, the Arts & Business of Chicago serves as the local voice for arts in the business community.


For more information on partnering with business or building your message, browse through our tool-kits for arts groups.


Announcing the 2015 BCA Hall of Fame Award and BCA Leadership Award Honorees

Posted by Stacy Lasner

Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the BCA Hall of Fame and BCA Leadership Award honorees for 2015. The awards are presented annually by the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), a division of Americans for the Arts.



Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States, will receive the 2015 BCA Hall of Fame Award, which recognizes companies that have exhibited exceptional long-term vision, leadership, and commitment to developing alliances with the arts. Duke Energy was a BCA 10 honoree in 2009.


Jorge M. Pérez, Chairman of The Related Group, will receive the 2015 BCA Leadership Award, which recognizes an individual for his/her extraordinary vision, leadership, and commitment to supporting the arts and for encouraging other businesses to follow his/her lead.



The honorees will receive their awards at the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America gala on October 6, 2015, a black-tie affair at the Loeb Boathouse in New York City’s Central Park.


Read the full announcement here.


Eastern Salt Company's Shelagh Mahoney Joins BCA Executive Board

Posted by Stacy Lasner

Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the appointment of Shelagh Mahoney, CEO and owner of Eastern Salt Company, Inc., Eastern Minerals Inc., and Atlantic Salt, Inc., to its Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) Executive Board.


The BCA, a division of Americans for the Arts, works to ensure that the arts flourish in America by encouraging, inspiring, and stimulating businesses to support the arts in the workplace, in education, and in the community. The BCA Executive Board is comprised of business leaders who provide leadership and expertise on key BCA initiatives including messaging, advocacy, and strategic alliances.


Mahoney’s company Atlantic Salt, Inc. was selected as a BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree in 2013 for their sponsorship of the annual LUMEN festival on Staten Island, which features video and performance art by emerging artists and more established artists at the forefront of their media.


Read the full press release here.


Announcing the 2015 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America

Posted by Stacy Lasner



Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, today announced the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honorees for 2015.


Presented every year by the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), a division of Americans for the Arts, the BCA 10 awards honor 10 U.S. companies for their exceptional commitment to the arts through grants, local partnerships, volunteer programs, matching gifts, sponsorships, and board membership.


The BCA 10 Awards will be presented by Americans for the Arts on October 6, 2015, at a black-tie gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City. The 2015 honorees are:

Ameriprise Financial (Minneapolis, MN)
AutoZone, Inc. (Memphis, TN)
BNY Mellon (New York, NY)
Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY)
GE’s FirstBuild (Louisville, KY)
NV Energy and the NV Energy Foundation (Reno, NV)
Prospective Inc. (Reston, VA)
Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods (Houston, TX)
The Trust Company of Kansas (Wichita, KS)
U.S. Bank (Minneapolis, MN)


"We are grateful to honor these 10 businesses for their exceptional involvement in ensuring that the arts thrive in their communities," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "These businesses provide the arts with significant financial and in-kind support, and they incorporate meaningful arts-related programs into their employee, customer, and community relations activities. They enrich the lives of millions of Americans and truly set a standard for other businesses to follow."


Corning Incorporated and U.S. Bank are Presenting Sponsors of the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America 2015 gala. 


For information regarding BCA 10, including gala tickets and sponsorship or advertising opportunities, please contact Stacy Lasner, Business Committee for the Arts Coordinator at (212) 223-2787or via e-mail at


Nominations for the 2016 BCA 10 awards will open in November 2015.


The Arts Mean Business

Posted by Stacy Lasner

Supporting the arts is good for business. As Jay H. Dick, Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts, states in a blog post for the National League of Cities, “cities of all sizes that, even minimally, invest in their local arts organizations can see economic benefits. “


This year’s GDP report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts found that the arts and culture sector represented 4.32 percent of the GDP – a higher percentage than tourism (2.6 percent), transportation (2.7 percent) and construction (3.4 percent).


In his blog post, Dick shares a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Ohio, which illustrates this economic contribution on a local level. The bank determined that for every one dollar spent in ticket sales at the Cleveland Playhouse Square, $2.20 is generated in additional expenditures to the local economy. In a five-year period, 79 new businesses moved downtown, and the cost of downtown office space nearly doubled.


“The great thing about the arts is they are already in your city,” says Dick. "The arts, unlike many industries, are not going to relocate overseas or to a different city. The arts are committed to serving your city’s residents and improving the quality of life. But what they do need are community leaders to recognize them as an industry worthy of both private and public sector support.”


For more information about the economic value of the arts in your community, check out Americans for the Arts’ Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts reports, which provide a research-based approach to understanding the scope and economic importance of the arts in America.


Read Jay H. Dick’s post on the National League of Cities’ Cities Speak blog.


Americans for the Arts Reveals New Initiative: Transforming America’s Communities Through the Arts

Posted by Jordan Shue & Kellyn Lopes

Americans for the Arts recently announced Transforming America’s Communities Through the Arts, an initiative designed to increase understanding of the value of the arts and investment in the arts.


The initiative outlines cohesive messaging and programming related to promoting the transformative role the arts play in building better lives, communities, and workplaces.


Transforming Americas Communities Through the Arts works in tandem with the release of Americans for the Arts’ 2015-2017 Strategic Plan and will guide us over the next 3 years to accomplish the goals laid out in the plan.


Below are some, though not all, of the programs that will align with the initiative:


pARTnership Movement Monographs and Convenings: Over the next two years we’ll host a series of convenings around the country to highlight the value of arts and business partnerships. These will coincide with a series of 8 monographs, each based on one of the 8 reasons to partner with the arts. With this project we hope to reach more of you in person in local communities to share success stories and best practices for partnering with the arts.


Strategic Partnerships: Americans for the Arts’ has a number of strategic partnerships in the corporate and foundation world, with whom we work to spread the message that the arts can build capacity and competitive advantage in other sectors, and to give the arts a place at the table at large, private sector convenings.


BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts: This survey is the nation’s largest of its kind, delving beyond pure numbers into the motivations behind and goals of business partnerships with the arts. The survey is released every 3 years, and the next will be released in 2016.


Visit our newsroom to stay up to date on the work of Americans for the Arts.


Americans for the Arts Takes Nashville by Storm for its Annual Convention

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

Officially beginning today, Friday, June 13, Americans for the Arts has landed in Nashville for its Annual Convention--a convening of arts and community leaders to network and discuss strategies for building stronger towns, counties, and cities through the arts. The discussions surrounding arts and business will be ever-present, with Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville Executive Director Casey Summar speaking about placing artists inside businesses to help advance their goals, and Vice President and Artistic Director of Arts Brookfield (a 2014 BCA 10 honoree) Debra Simon speaking on innovative corporate partnerships. Click on the following article from the Nashville Business Jounral to read about the Convention and the growing ties between Nashville's business and arts communities. #AFTAcon


Ties that bind: National spotlight on Nashville arts and business connections


“One of the things that inspired us to come back [to Nashville]… is the incredible amount of partnerships between the for-profit community and the nonprofit arts sector. Communities are changing so quickly. It’s really important that arts communities across the country see good examples… Nashville is an awesome, awesome place to showcase that.”

-Clayton Lord, Vice President of Local Arts Advancement, Americans for the Arts


“I think there is definitely a change in the way that business is partnering with the arts. It’s not just giving money, it’s looking at ways they can partner to advance business and creative goals.”


Emily Peck, Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives,
Americans for the Arts


United Arts Funding: Why It Matters

Posted by Jordan Lohf

Have you ever wanted to give to the arts institutions in your community, but were concerned about oversight and accountability? Or, maybe you see the potential in the arts as an economic driver for your area, but don’t know how to create the most possible impact. Supporting or starting a United Arts Fund (UAF) may be the solution you were looking for. 


UAFs are nonprofit organizations that raise local money for the arts in a combined effort for three or more cultural institutions. Primarily, UAFs are created by business leaders that want to see a strong arts community in their area, but want to ensure their support is utilized to create the largest impact possible. Today, allocations of UAF funds are increasingly more open to the diversity of the community, requiring member organizations to reflect the differences and needs of the whole community through project grants, capital grants, capacity building grants and neighborhood and community grants. Community planning is also becoming a large driver in funding and allocation decisions.


The Greater Hartford United Arts Fund, a member of the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Network, is a great example of how a UAF can help vital arts organizations “live and breathe,” as one arts leader put it. By providing general operating support, programming grants, and educating the community about the different area arts organizations and what they have to offer, the Greater Hartford United Arts Fund is strengthening the arts community and the greater Hartford area as a whole.


Click the video below to view images and testimonials of the art and organizations Greater Harford United Arts Fund is supporting in its efforts to maintain and bolster the local arts community.


For more information on UAF chapters in your community, contact Valerie Beaman, Private Sector Initiatives Coordinator, at



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JOE MAHONEY/TIMES-DISPATCH   On November 27, 2012, Americans for the Arts and The Conference Board convened business leaders and artists for a discussion about how the business and arts sectors can leverage their respective...
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Arts Mean Business - Conversations in Local Communities
Sep 05, 2012 0 Comments
In a conversation centered on the pARTnership Movement and how businesses can partner with the arts to strengthen the economic vitality of Long Island, East End Arts is hosting Americans for the Arts’ own Emily Peck as keynote...
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