Arts and business news from around the country.


Annoucing our 2019 Judges!

Posted by Danielle Iwata
Annoucing our 2019 Judges!

We are excited to share this year's esteemed judges for the BCA 10 Awards: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America. We are honored to have their expertise!



Toni Freeman

The Arts and Science Council (ASC)


Mark Hegedus

Magic Hat Brewery


Kate Marquez

Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance


Felicia Shaw

Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis


Ryan Williams



Every year, Americans for the Arts recognizes 10 businesses of all sizes for their exceptional involvement with the arts that enriches the workplace and the community. These companies set the standard for excellence and serve as role models for others to follow. We also honor an individual with the BCA Leadership Award and a partnership with the David Rockefeller Fund pARTnership Award.


Check back this Spring to meet our 2019 honorees!


The honorees will be celebrated a gala in New York City on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the Central Park Boathouse.


Why Does Your Business Value the Arts?

Posted by Jessica Gaines

In their acceptance speeches at the 2016 BCA 10 Awards, twelve industry leaders spoke about what being honored at the 2016 BCA 10 means to them and why they encourage and seek out opportunities to bring the arts into their worlds.

See the full event recap and view the BCA 10 program book to learn more about this year’s best businesses partnering with the arts. Know a company that partners with the arts? Nominations for the 2017 BCA 10 Awards are open through January 13, 2017.


1. Let’s Start Easy—With an Arts Business

[Describing a Mayor’s address to a group of teachers and students] And he told these kids, I think he managed to look every single one of them in the eye, he said, “You do what you wanna do, and you apply it the way you want to apply it, and take risks. Do art, do drama, do music, do what you’re doing here.” And it’s moments like that, seeing these kids and the teachers, that make me really appreciate the luck I have to be involved in a business that gets to provide, in a large measure, that creativity.

–Robert Buchsbaum, CEO at Blick Art Materials

Watch the full speech here.

Photo courtesy Blick Art Materials.

2. A Health Care Leader

When a chairman hires a Chief Mindfulness Officer and he allows his employees to meditate and to be mindful, he is art. When an IT executive plays a mean jazz saxophone, he too is art. When a community relations director forms a Latin band and sings in the nightclubs of NYC, he is art. And when a multicultural marketer shares marketing tips to a philanthropist—a corporate philanthropist at Aetna sharing marketing tips through The Grateful Dead—they too, are art. When a company has 16 different colors in its logo, that company is art. And we believe that everyone in this room is art. And when art and the folks in this room come together, we spark innovation; we inspire youth. We celebrate and heal communities. We stimulate economies. We sustain this great nation.

–Floyd Green, Vice President, Community Relations and Urban Marketing at Aetna, Inc.

Watch the full speech here.

Photo: Rana Faure


3. From the Utility Company

The focal point for Austin Energy is transformational power, which makes sense. As an electric utility, we deal with transformers and power each and every day, but there’s also a transformational power in art to bring people together: to create bridges of knowledge and understanding, to explore new ideas, to drive change.

–Allen Small, Distribution Director at Austin Energy




Photo courtesy Austin Energy


4. From the Water Meter Folks

At Badger Meter, my best engineers are all musicians. There’s some connection—I don’t know it because I’m a philistine—but there’s some connection between art, between music and engineering. I don’t understand it, but they know it and they’re all musicians. My best salespeople were on a stage at one time in their lives. My best marketing people were involved in the visual arts. And it’s those skills that you can’t just teach in a classroom. Somehow those were developed through their education.

–Richard Meeusen, Chairman, President, and CEO at Badger Meter

Watch the full speech here.

Photo: Rana Faure

5. From the Insurance People

In four months, I’ve met with every one of the 320 employees and the number one thing that they talk about is the arts, giving back, and community. … I think it’s the ability for all of us in our lives to be able to give back. To be able to do the things that are special and unique in our lives.

–Marc Schmittlein, President and CEO at CopperPoint Insurance Companies

Photo courtesy CopperPoint Insurance Companies


6. The Automotive Marketing Expert

I feel like we are receiving an Oscar for this [award] and it is really a true honor. These are the artists that have worked really hard to make all of these projects happen in Burlington, Vermont, and so more than anything I want to say ‘cheers’ to them and thank you to Americans for the Arts and BCA 10 for recognizing the rapport of business, art, and community coming together. So we have Scott, Mary, Michael, Kate. and Abby. These are the artists. Short and sweet.

–Jill Badolato, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at

Photo: Rana Faure


7. From the Beer Brewers

I really have a great job because our slogan at Dogfish Head is “off-centered ales for off-center people.” We have about 300 co-workers, the majority of them in Delaware, and a small salesforce around the country. We have all kinds of folks that are artists themselves. We have a magician’s assistant, a death metal guitarist, jazz musicians, graphic artists, illustrators, all kinds of folks. And our philosophy is that it’s really necessary to give back to the community and that’s what Beer and Benevolence is all about. Be it the environment, be it the community in general—but the arts especially.

–Mark Carter, Beer & Benevolence Coordinator at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Photo courtesy Dogflish Head Craft Brewery


8. Lawyers, Too!

We basically said, “We work with the most creative, innovative, crazy people around the world, you know, creatives always are. And why don’t we do that in Oklahoma City as well, and bring everybody into our office, make that community, that place-making kind of place.” And what we have seen really is that the engagement of our employees, of our staff, of our directors, in the arts has increased 200-300%. But one of the most amazing things for us is the karma—whatever you want to call it—the karma, good will, love that we’ve seen through this community, of this web of people that we put together.

–Douglas Sorocco, Director at Dunlap Codding

Photo courtesy Dunlap Codding


9. The One Known for Making Almost Everything

I’ll never forget my first day when I made it to manager and got an office; you got to tour the corporate art grouping and actually go in and pick out your own art. And so what did you feel? You felt that sense of passion and to be able to go in and say I resonate with that picture, that’s gonna bring out the best of me. And what a privilege to be able to work with a company like that.

–Susan Podlogar, Global Vice President Human Resources at Johnson & Johnson

Photo courtesy Johnson & Johnson


10. A Change Management Consulting Firm

Service, volunteerism, and sponsorship are important to our management team, our consultants, and our identity as a company. Supporting the arts had proven to have both personal and professional benefits for our employees and provided us an interesting and refreshing connection within our community.

–Kat McDonald, Community Engagement Manager at M Powered Strategies

Photo: Rana Faure


11. Even a Wealth Management Business

I would also like to extend a special thank you to the Americans for the Arts organization. Like us, you recognize that the arts are a transformative vehicle in our society and that cultivating the arts is not only important, but necessary to a world that seems to be moving away from creativity.

–Dave Blowers, Executive Vice President at Northern Trust

Photo courtesy Northern Trust


12. Don’t Forget About P&G!

Procter & Gamble has a long history of supporting the arts and we are blessed to live in a community where the arts have provided such amazing experiences for our employees, for our families, for new talents to come into our region and really be transformed by the arts.

–Phil Duncan, Global Design Officer at Procter & Gamble

Photo courtesy Procter & Gamble




Spotlight on Phoenix, AZ (Part 2): Thrive with the Arts and Create a Greater City – The Launch of ArtWORKS PHX

Posted by Jessica Gaines

A new initiative launched this month in Phoenix, AZ to showcase and inspire business engagement with the arts: ArtWORKS PHX. ArtWORKS PHX is Phoenix’s fresh, digital arts and business campaign that encourages local businesses to tell their story of arts partnership and connects businesses to arts resources.


Modeled after the pARTnership Movement with the interest of attracting employees, inspiring creative, and fostering collaboration, this site, organized by Phoenix Community Alliance, joins Americans for the Arts' national drive to promote arts in the workplace.


Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and arts boutique hotel Found:RE are just a few local businesses that have joined on-board showing arts integration is core to their business models. The site already features several case studies of many unique and wise businesses.


When discussing timing and inspiration, Phoenix Community Alliance Executive Director Devney Preuss said, “The timing for launching ArtWORKS PHX couldn’t be more perfect.  After months of election campaign coverage, people are ready for something different. They need inspiration."


Spotlight on Phoenix, AZ (Part 1): Corporate Volunteerism Award goes to 2016 BCA 10 Winner CopperPoint Insurance Companies

Posted by Jessica Gaines
Spotlight on Phoenix, AZ (Part 1): Corporate Volunteerism Award goes to 2016 BCA 10 Winner CopperPoint Insurance Companies

CopperPoint Insurance Companies are known throughout Arizona for far more than providing workers compensation insurance. The company has also built name recognition and an amiable reputation in areas outside of their industry by supporting nonprofits that focus on areas from arts and culture to civic organizations.


This past October, CopperPoint Insurance Companies was a winner of the 2016 BCA 10 Award for their dedicated service, commitment, and partnership with the arts. Their relationships to the arts community in forms of sponsorship, Board service, or volunteer hours has positively affected Ballet Arizona, Arizona Opera, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Arizona Citizens for the Arts, and Phoenix Symphony to name a few. President and CEO, Marc Schmittlein, shares “CopperPoint Insurance Companies understands that a vibrant arts sector attracts and sustains businesses and workers, which promotes economic development and cultural enrichment. Support of cultural, arts, and educational organizations creates a well-balanced life experience for our employees, our customers, and our businesses.”


In the same month, CopperPoint also received the Corporate Volunteerism award for companies under 1,000 employees from the Phoenix Business Journal. With each employee eligible for 12 hours of paid volunteer time per year during work hours, CopperPoint’s Community Engagement Coordinator Jill Maruca states, “85 percent of our employees participate in volunteerism and/or donating money, which is really high for a company.”


By encouraging employees to help out in the community, they are connecting with their staff and retaining talent like Betty Booth, employee of 16 years, who is the first recipient of the Don Smith Volunteer of the Year Award, named after the former CEO who founded the company’s volunteering efforts.


CopperPoint’s generosity doesn’t stop with the work it does in the community.  To celebrate their recognition, the company hosted a large employee-wide lunch, pictured above.


Photo: Courtesy CopperPoint Insurance Companies


DollarDays International CEO on the Value of Arts Education

DollarDays International CEO on the Value of Arts Education


Happy Arts in Education Week! In a recent Huffington Post blog, Marc Joseph, CEO/President and Founder of DollarDays International, a wholesale distribution company, discusses the importance of arts education for developing critical and creative thinking skills in order to foster innovation.


Joseph cites a study conducted by the University of Kansas, which showed elementary schools that had superior music education programs scored 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math on standardized tests, compared to schools with low-quality music programs. He also refers to research from the NEA that shows that at-risk students who have access to the arts show better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement.


In Joseph’s home state of Arizona, the Tucson Unified School District’s Opening Minds through the Arts program is putting the research into practice by using the arts to help teach reading, writing, math, and science. According to Joseph, the program has gained national recognition from the U.S. Department of Education, Harvard Project Zero and the Arts Education Partnership.


“Arts education departments are the first to lose funding when schools are in trouble,” Joseph says. “This is evident just by looking at the history of our government's National Endowment for the Arts program: back in 1992, we were funding it at $176 million a year and now it's only $146 million. Contrary to what many of our political leaders think, the arts in school are essential to creating the innovative workforce of tomorrow.”


Read Marc Joseph’s blog on arts education.


Learn more about how businesses are helping to support arts education.


Explore Americans for the Arts’ arts education resources.


Photo courtesy of Opening Minds through the Arts. The photo shows students from Corbett Elementary in Tucson Unified School District. Opening Minds through the Arts team members Kimberly Chaffin (soprano), Juan Aguirre (baritone), and Gregory Reynolds (accompanist) worked with these students.



Arizona Citizens for the Arts Relaunches Business Volunteers Arts

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA), a program matching business professionals with arts organizations needing skills-based consulting expertise to meet their mission and expand their impact in the community, was “relaunched” by Arizona Citizens for the Arts at a celebration during Pro Bono Week this past October. BVA suspended operations in 2012 with the closing of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Phoenix. With funding from Wells Fargo and under management by Arizona Citizens for the Arts, BVA was reintroduced to the community at a celebration on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at Wells Fargo History Museum  in downtown Phoenix.


“Business Volunteers for the Arts® brings together professionals in a range of business specialties with arts organizations looking for specific skills to help build their capacity, improve their business practices and assist in growth and reach,” said Catherine “Rusty” Foley, executive director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts.


BVA volunteers provide support in areas of expertise including accounting, finance, law, marketing, public relations, human resources, strategic planning, information technology, graphic design and event planning. BVA provides full training for volunteers before matching them with arts organizations. For now, Foley said matches will be limited to organizations operating in the City of Phoenix.


Funding for the relaunch was provided by Wells Fargo through a $50,000 NeighborhoodLIFT grant.


“Community support is at the heart of Wells Fargo’s Vision & Values and we are proud to support nonprofits like Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts in their efforts to help strengthen and stabilize Phoenix communities,” said Pam Conboy, Wells Fargo Arizona Lead Regional President.


Click to view the following video from Arizona Horizon, which includes an interview with Robin Hanson, a business volunteer from Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts, detailing the program's relaunch in Arizona.



You, too, can launch Business Volunteers for the Arts® in your own community! Arts organizations and volunteers interested in participating in Business Volunteers for the Arts® can visit to submit an application.


Art@Work in Southern Arizona

Posted by Marisa Muller


“Ventana hosts Employee Art Exhibit with opening reception July 19” was originally published on Read an excerpt below:


The connection between artistic creation and scientific innovation can be experienced this summer as thirty Ventana Medical System, Inc. employees showcase their works of photography, origami, writings, watercolor, acrylic, jewelry, clay, stained glass, mixed media in the second annual Ventana Employee Art Exhibition and Competition in Tucson, Arizona.


 “As innovators, our role is to push the envelope on novel and creative ways to diagnose cancer,” said Ventana Customer Experience Manager Cathy Gawronski. “The Annual Employee Exhibition provides our employees the opportunity to share their personal creative expressions in two- and three-dimensional works. As an organization, we hold creativity in high esteem and wish to honor our employees by creating this public annual exhibition.”


Through a progressive partnership with Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA), the arts have been part of the daily work experience for the 1,300 employees who work at Ventana through quarterly gallery exhibits from local to world-renowned artists.


The partnership between Ventana and SAACA exemplifies the art@work initiative of the Southern Arizona Business Committee for the Arts (SABCA), an affiliate of Americans for the Arts. Art@work provides SABCA member businesses with the resources needed to organize art exhibitions and programs where employees can bring the visual, literary and performing art they create to the workplace to share with for colleagues, visitors and clients.


“The presence of art in the work environment is not only aesthetically pleasing,” Gawronski said, “art inspires employee creativity and collaboration in many cases.”


To view the original article, visit


*Photo courtesy of See-Ming Lee

Support for the arts is good business for Arizona

Posted by Emily Peck

In an op-ed in the Phoenix Business Journal, Michael Seiden writes about the value of the arts to the Phoenix business community.  Here is an excerpt.


It has been said that Arizona often attracts businesses because their CEOs come to vacation here and like the golf courses so much, they decide to relocate their businesses here. However, CEOs and their families want an environment rich in culture and the arts. Attracting high-paying jobs means attracting professionals with undergraduate and graduate degrees, many of whom view the arts and cultural environment as a great form of intellectual recreation that supplements their hiking, biking, golfing, hunting and other recreational activities.


The arts help form an individual’s creative thinking, supplementing the disciplines of mathematics, science and engineering. Arts organizations are working with businesses to train executives and employees in how to perform more effectively. Theaters are developing courses covering such topics as how to use acting techniques to develop better relationships with customers, and how to view yourself as others view you in the workplace.


Communities that provide support for their arts and cultural organizations tend to have the most vibrant business and technology sectors, with well-educated populations and high-paying jobs. Arizona needs to do more to support this key segment of our community.


Read the entire op-ed in the Phoenix Business Journal.

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