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Building Up, Building Art

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Building Up, Building Art

Many real estate developers have come to see the value in including art in buildings and spaces. Opportunities to bring not only art concepts but also artists into the early stages of projects can lead to developments that are brilliantly unique and inclusive. These developments support great design, inspirational concepts, and more importantly, local community.

 

In recent years, with real estate development planning, there’s been a strong lean towards artist residencies, community listening sessions, and ideas to turn neglected properties into town centers. With increased access to and desire for art among residents, real estate developers have become more tuned into the benefit of these partnerships. In Creative Exchange’s “Lessons from RARE: Engaging Artists in Real Estate Development”, several points are offered about these artist-development relationships:

 

  • Give artists the freedom to create open-ended work
  • Provide practical support for creative engagement
  • Allow for chance encounters and unexpected shifts

 

When incorporating the points above, sometimes having a third party or “translator” involved in the process comes out as a win. In Orlando, the Novare Group partnered with curatorial team, Dashboard, to produce 1,400 cubic feet of vibrant color at their luxury high-rise apartment community, SkyHouse Orlando. The eye-catching artwork,  designed by The Young Never Sleep, showcases some of Central Florida’s most exotic and native plant life in exaggerated colors for a striking and education street-scape experience.

 

In addition to the points above, the potential of new artist-developer driven projects is a chance for blossoming and building a legacy. In Miami Jorge Pérez, 2015 BCA 10 Leadership Award winner and chairman of The Related Group, has built a legacy and continues to transform Miami into an international tourist and cultural destination with beautiful and inspiring developments. The Related Group’s mixed-use building, the SLS Brickell showcases a ”drip painting” style mural on its eight-story parking garage that gives artist Markus Linnenbrink 40,000 square foot of surface to cover. 

 

Investment in brilliant collaborations will continue to build brilliant, vibrant communities where art and business are both victorious.

 

 

Photo credit: Paper Gardens, www.dashboard.us.

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Arts Educators Win Gold with Golden Artist Colors

Posted by Chris Zheng
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Arts Educators Win Gold with Golden Artist Colors

It’s an adage that always rings true–behind every great artist is a great teacher. Americans for the Arts would like to congratulate educators Isaac AlaridPease, Jessica Clark, and Bryan Wilson on their selection as the 2016 Golden Educator Residents!

For a second year, Golden Artist Colors has partnered with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to recognize the importance of work done by arts educators around the nation in inspiring each new generation of thinkers, innovators, and artists. With the help of the National Art Education Association, the Alliance reviewed competitive applications to select three arts educators, who had a recognized student in the 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, to be Golden Educator Residents. The selected teachers participate in a two-week residency program in upstate New York for July and August 2016, and are awarded a $1,000 gift certificate for Golden paints. An additional nine finalists also each receive $1,000 gift certificates.

 

As a past honoree of Americans for the Arts’ BCA 10 Awards, a yearly event which recognizes 10 businesses of all sizes for their exceptional involvement with the arts, Golden Artist Colors is no stranger to supporting the arts. And this partnership with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, who acts as a premier partner in ensuring every child has access to comprehensive arts education, is another example of their dedicated work in the arts.

 

Speaking of the residency program, Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, stated “Golden Artist Colors is to be commended for making this exceptional opportunity available to outstanding educators. We were most impressed by the quality of the applications we received this year. Teachers are part of the lifeblood of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and we are privileged to have this moment to show our appreciation for their efforts in the classroom as well as our respect for their work as artists.”

 

Americans for the Arts is thrilled to see BCA 10 alumni continue to support the arts and the wonderful educators who make it all possible.

 

Artwork credit: Bryan Wilson, "Why I Do What I Do".  

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At Zappos, Creativity is a Shoe-In

Posted by Chris Zheng
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At Zappos, Creativity is a Shoe-In

Zappos knows that building a successful business means starting off on the right foot. With consistent support of the arts, especially in its home community of Las Vegas, Nevada, the online shoe and apparel retailer is widely recognized as an engaging place to work and is able to attract talent from around the region.

 

From its lax dress code policies to providing employees with paint and art supplies to draw on the walls of the its headquarters, Zappos embodies a culture of creativity. Located in an area that is undergoing rapid revitalization, the company has continuously supported a thriving arts scene by hosting an art gallery in its own office. Gallery curator Paco Alvarez says of the company: “Zappos is a very creative environment. The more creative our employees can be the better. We want people to come to work and create an environment that they are pleased to come to.”

 

Support for the arts falls in line with the company’s Core Values, and one way it stands out from others is its choice to support a full-time resident artist. Miguel Hernandez has painted dozens of murals at headquarters and neighborhood businesses around the city of Las Vegas. Hernandez took hold of Core Value #1: Deliver WOW through Service, and quickly fell into his role as campus artist, self-managing his time and forming connections throughout the business while creating stunning paintings from employee requests. In support of Core Value #4: Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded, Hernandez blew people away with his creative designs, turning many blank office walls into outstanding works of art that welcomed visitors and employees alike.

 

In engaging the local community through support of a thriving and resilient arts culture, Zappos has established itself as a company with strong corporate values and an authentic loyalty to its community. When it comes to forming a successful online shoe business, Zappos has definitely taken a step in the right direction.

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BBVA Compass CEO Advocates for STEAM

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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BBVA Compass CEO Advocates for STEAM

This Thanksgiving, when you're thinking about everything you're grateful for, don't forget to give thanks for your arts education. Many children today do not have access to adequate arts education, which expands creativity and leads to increased job opportunities.

 

Arts education advocates had a big moment last week when Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) added an amendment to the rewrite of the nation’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), integrating the arts into STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math). Learn more about this important legislation.

 

In a recent op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, Manolo Sanchez, CEO of 2014 BCA 10 honoree BBVA Compass, argues on behalf of arts education and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). "Exposure to the arts - to the endless possibilities of exploration in music, art, dance, drama - has the power to spark the kind of creativity that can lead to student achievement across many disciplines. It helps kids learn how to take intellectual risks and to dig deep into their brains to make complex connections," he says.

 

In this op-ed, Sanchez introduces a new musicians-in-residence program at Crespo Elementary School in Southeast Houston, a joint venture by the Houston Independent School District and Houston Symphony, with support from BBVA Compass. Crespo is a fine arts magnet school with a student population that's 95 percent economically disadvantaged and 97 percent Hispanic.The program is inspired by a "time-tested and respected initiative pioneered by the New York Philharmonic." According to Sanchez, "two Community Embedded Musicians from the Houston Symphony will teach third-, fourth- and fifth-graders about the power of classical music, reaching more than 400 economically disadvantaged students each year."

 

Sanchez claims, "Studies have found that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were significantly more likely to excel in math if they'd had music education. Non-native English speakers are also able to pick up the language faster through the use of music."

 

"It's in the private sector's interest to step up and fund arts initiatives. It's good corporate citizenship, but it's also smart business," Sanchez asserts. "Those who do will be helping to bring the magic of the arts to students who might otherwise be unable to experience it, yes. But they're also helping build the kind of workforce that sees the world in innovative new ways - a critical skill for this 21st century."

 

Read the full op-ed here.

 

Learn more about Americans for the Arts' arts education initiatives.

 

Read more stories about businesses supporting arts education.

 

Photo: Manolo Sanchez at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. BBVA Compass and the BBVA Compass Foundation sponsored an exhibition from Dec. 16, 2012, through March 31, 2013, of more than 100 European paintings from Madrid’s famed Museo del Prado at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – the first time a collection of its size was ever shown outside of Spain.

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Arts and Business Partnerships: Enriching Workplaces and Communities Nationwide

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Arts and Business Partnerships: Enriching Workplaces and Communities Nationwide

On The Huffington Post, Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch discusses successful arts and business partnerships, including his experience touring the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and visiting the Kohler manufacturing facilities and showroom in Sheboygan and Kohler, Wisconsin. Read an excerpt here:

 

Imagine that you are arriving to a job interview at a tech company. As you wait, you take a look around you, and notice beautiful, thought-provoking works of art displayed on the walls, plus sculptures in the public and outdoor spaces. Imagine working for a manufacturing firm, when one day you receive an announcement of an exciting new art contest for employees. Or, attending your national insurance firm's annual meeting, knowing that you'll soon be able to take the stage for a company-wide battle of the bands and sing and perform your heart out. In these three examples, you would actually be at Microsoft, Ford, or Aetna, respectively, but in reality it could be any one of thousands of businesses that are harnessing the power of the arts...because it is good for business.

 

You may be more likely to seek out companies like this for employment, or stay with a company for years because of various employee development opportunities through the arts. Or as a consumer you may just notice these companies first over competitors. This is a win-win for all--both companies and employees benefit from arts partnerships.

 

Last year I had the pleasure of touring the magnificent John Michael Kohler Arts Center, as well as visiting the Kohler manufacturing facilities and showroom in Sheboygan and Kohler, Wisconsin. During my visit, I learned directly from Herb Kohler of the impressive Arts/Industry program, a partnership between the Arts Center and Kohler Company, which makes the facilities and technologies of the Kohler Company's Pottery, Iron and Brass foundries, and Enamel Shop available to artists from around the world. In residencies of 2 to 6 months, artists are able to explore new ways of thinking and working and to create bodies of work that are not possible in their own studios. More than 500 artists have been involved over the last forty years since 1974.

 

The Arts/Industry program is having a remarkable effect on Kohler and the region. The artists' involvement in the factory and the community energizes the associates, and a creative synergy develops not only with the designers but also with engineers, slip casters, and enameling specialists. The cross-pollination has led to innovative ideas regarding products. Kohler is a name synonymous with bathroom and kitchen fixtures. But its internationally acclaimed arts partnership is getting plenty of attention too, not only for artist opportunities, but also for helping the company to stay at the forefront of its industry.

 

Continue reading on The Huffington Post.

 

Photo: Joseph C. Dilg, Managing Director and Vice Chairman at Greenhill & Co., Inc. (left) and Robert Lynch, Americans for the Arts President and CEO (right) present the 2011 BCA Hall of Fame Award to Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., Chairman and CEO at Kohler Co.

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The Latest Trend in Arts and Biz: Corporate Sponsored Artist-in-Residency Programs

Posted by Kellyn Lopes
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Artist-in-residency programs traditionally exist in the realm of the nonprofit world and are financed by generous patrons. Organizations, such as Hedgebrook in Washington State, offer retreat-like residencies for artists to work on a specific artistic project for multiple weeks, in Hedgebrook’s case, writers. As we observe the changing trends and shifts in Corporate Social Responsibility, there arises a new trend in the artist-in-residency programs: corporations.

 

Amy Wheeler, Executive Director of Hedgebrook, praises corporate artist-in-residency programs: "It sends a cultural message that artists are valuable, and the work they do is important."

 

A recent article by Fast Company highlights some of the many ways corporations are hosting artists-in-residence. Autodesk, a San Francisco-based software company, for example, views the resident artists as a focus group, taking advantage of the creative ways artists use their technologies while the company develops the software.

 

PhotoNoah Weinstein, Senior Creative Programs Manager at Autodesk said, “Artists are great explorers and discoverers when it comes to using technology. They are asking the software to do things that it does not usually do; they point out when things do not work and shed light on new functionalities at the cutting edge.”

 

Amtrak, on the other hand, invited writers onto their train not to advise, but to write, resulting in a widely successful social media campaign. Alicia Lee, Senior Communication Specialist for Social Media noted, “We exposed our long-distance service to a huge audience. When people think about trains, they think about the Northeast or the Pacific Northwest corridors. But with this residency, we were getting more eyeballs on other parts of our service, including cross-country travel.”

 

Another corporate artist-in-residency program is through Facebook. This commissioning program invites artists into corporate offices to create permanent works, often in the form of murals and sculptures. Facebook covers the cost of materials to produce the work and gives the artist a predetermined fee. Learn more about Facebook’s residency.

 

Click Here to read the full article from Fast Company, “Welcome to the Brave New World of the Corporate-Sponsored Artist.”

 

Photo: artist studio signage at Facebook, courtesy of Art Business.

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Does Your Company Need An Artist? Chicago Booth School of Business Says: Yes!

Posted by Kellyn Lopes
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Creativity is among the top applied skills sought by employers. Ready to Innovate, a 2008 study by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts, found that 72% of companies that give to the arts recognize that it stimulates creative thinking, problem solving, and team building.In the following video, Visiting Artist and Social Entrepreneur, John Michael Schert, joins Chicago Booth professors Harry Davis and Canice Prendergast to discuss the role of artists in inspiring corporate creativity. 

 

 

John Michael Shert, a professional dancer, co-founded Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) in 2004, serving as the Executive Director and a dancer for 9 years. He was appointed the first Visiting Artist and Social Entrepreneur at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2013, focusing on how the skills and attributes of artists are relevant and valuable to other sectors.

 

For more information and examples of fostering corporate creativity and engaging employees through the arts, read the Success Stories of companies who have partnered with the arts, or check out our tool-kit on Bringing the Arts into the Workplace.

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Artists-in-Residence Are the New Cargo

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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We’ve seen artist-in-residency programs at Facebook, Time Equities, Microsoft, Amtrak and others, but here’s one we never expected—an artist-in-residence program aboard a cargo ship!

 

Maayan Strauss, an Israeli photographer, is launching an artist-in-residency program that will invite 12 artists to live and work on commercial container ships. The residency program, known as Container, is intended to challenge the traditional idea of studio residencies, inviting artists to work within a unique intersection of industry, culture and technology. Hosting artists in the ships’ available cabins, Container will be a backstage pass that provides a firsthand encounter with the maritime shipping industry. Artists will travel the world in relation to the various shipping routes and nexus of destinations of global trade.

 

Strauss has been a Container artist herself, having traveled on her own container vessel journey in 2011. A student at Yale at the time, she was on a summer trip to Israel and found herself without the means to fly home, joking with a friend that she should just take a freight ship. Commercial container ships rarely take passengers, so it was difficult for Strauss to find a ship that would agree to allow her to live and work as an independent photographer while traveling the high seas. In the end, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services agreed. Strauss used the opportunity to create a series of photographs she calls Freight, which captured ship life in its rawest form, some of which can be seen below.

 

 

 

(Images courtesy of MaayanStrauss.com.)

 

Container is currently forming partnerships with leading freight-liners to facilitate the artist-in-residency program. A call for applicants will be announced soon at ContainerArtistResidency.org.

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Facebook Gives Artists a Thumbs Up

Posted by Kellyn Lopes & Patrick O'Herron
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Facebook has long been praised for its exemplary “hacker culture” and drive for innovation in the tech sector, but did you know that corporate artworks also shape the company’s attitudes and brands?  A recent look at the murals in Facebook’s Menlo Park, CA campus and many offices show how the arts work to inspire employees and enhance the corporate culture. Many graffiti artists, painters, sculptors and designers have left their mark on the office spaces. (Photo credit: Brand new whimsical sculpture by Thomas Wold being installed; courtesy of ArtBusiness.com.)

 

Facebook has an active Artist-in-Residence program. Artist Drew Bennett, curator of the program who spent a residency at Facebook, says, “It’s a visual and a physical manifestation of what’s happening on the computers. You could just present your values on a piece of paper. But inviting a diverse group of independent artists to work alongside us is a more genuine expression of that creative process.”

 

The mission of Facebook's Artist-in-Residence program is to create a corporate environment rich in art, and more specifically, rich in a way that positively impacts the work experience. The company views a workplace filled with art and access to artists as a positive, value-add for employees.


Through the Artist-in-Residence program, artists are hired and treated much like other Facebook employees. Resdencies range between four and sixteen weeks, providing the artists freedom to build and paint what they wish.

 

At Facebook's headquarters, art is installed in reception areas, hallways, stairwells, on the surfaces of floors, hanging from ceilings, and even some of the furnishings and decorations have been made by artists. Employees are continually exposed to new works and outlets for inspiration and creativity. (Photo credit: Light well paper installation by Val Britton; courtesy of ArtBusiness.com.)

 

As the Facebook Artist-in-Residence program grows and evolves, the company hopes to see whether an art dense environment can create measurable benefits for everyone involved, both artists and employees. So far, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.

 

Find more information and see more visuals from Facebook's Artist-in-Residence program at the following links:

 


 

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Time Equities Partners with Artists in Construction of Lower Manhattan Skyscraper

Posted by Kellyn Lopes
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Where can artists, construction workers, and developers work simultaneously?

 

Time Equities, Inc. (TEI), an international real estate firm, has recently announced an artist-in-residency program in conjunction with the construction of a new residential tower, 50 West. The 64-story building is currently under construction in Lower Manhattan, where developers and construction workers are joined by artists Noa Charuvi, Hugo Bastidas, and Paul Anthony Smith. The artists have been commissioned by TEI, through their program Art-in-Buildings to create paintings that document the construction process in exchange for an honorarium and studio space located near the construction site.


Artist Noa Charuvi says, “I’ve never heard of an artist becoming involved in a skyscraper. You do see that [documentation] in photography, but it’s not common to see paintings of it.”


Art-in-Buildings was created in 2003 by TEI as a way to foster emerging and mid-career artists and to create a more interesting environment for its buildings’ occupants, residents, and guests. The program works to expand the arts audience by promoting artists in non-traditional spaces. Art-in-Buildings includes rotating exhibits and permanent art installations throughout New York City, starting with the Maiden Lane Exhibition Space and the West 10th Window. (Photo credit: One of the many paintings by Noa Charuvi during her residency at 50 West; courtesy of Kevin Hagen for The Wall Street Journal.)


TEI is committed to enriching its properties’ value and aesthetic through art, and is active in numerous arts organizations in New York City, such as the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund, and of course, Art-in-Buildings.  CEO Francis Greenburger is highly passionate about the arts. He founded the Art Omi International Arts Center, a center that hosts artist residencies for visual artists, writers, dancers and musicians, which all three artists at the site are alumni of, as well as a 300-acre public sculpture park in Ghent, New York.  Mr.Greenburger also serves on the board of various non-profit organizations, many of which are arts organizations.


The works produced by the artists during their residency will be displayed in the 50 West sales gallery during construction and some will be installed in the lobby for residents to enjoy upon the completion of the building.


"I thought it would be an interesting environment for an artist to work, to be in dialogue with the construction of the building and how that inspires them," Mr. Greenburger noted. "And we also thought we would install some of this work in the building—'before' and 'after' pictures."

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