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Engaging Employees Through the Arts is Good Business

Posted by Jordan Shue
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Engaging Employees Through the Arts is Good Business

Americans for the Arts knows that engaging business employees through volunteerism and the arts is key to fostering a desirable work environment, increasing efficiency and morale, and doing good in the community. For arts groups seeking to build deeper ties with the business community, offering to address the need to engage employees in their work can serve as a powerful tool and argument for why supporting the arts is a win-win for everyonethe company, its employees, your organization, and the entire community.

 

Americans for the Arts is thrilled to announce the release of the first three workbooks in a series dedicated to helping nonprofits start arts-based employee volunteer and engagement programs, including:

 

1.       The Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville’s WorkCreative, an arts-based training program that brings arts into the workplace by engaging employees in hands-on creativity to stimulate communication, build teamwork, and spark innovation for effective business growth.

2.       ArtsWave’s CincySings, a corporate arts challenge that brings arts into the workplace by creating a friendly, amateur singing competition featuring choirs of Cincinnati-based company employees.

3.       Americans for the Arts Business Volunteers for the Arts®program, a pro bono consulting program for arts organizations that operates in several cities around the United States.

 

If you’re trying to make the case to businesses in your area that using the arts can engage their employees, check out our one-pager advocacy tools, Six Ways to Use the Arts to Boost Employee Engagement and The Arts Boost Employee Engagement. Learn from practitioners who’ve taken the plunge, and work with us or on your own to do the same in your communities! Learn more.

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BuzzFeed’s 14 Ways Doing Theater As A Kid Can Help You As An Adult

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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BuzzFeed’s 14 Ways Doing Theater As A Kid Can Help You As An Adult

Numerous business leaders have attributed their success in business to their arts education background. You can find many of their stories on pARTnershipMovement.org.


Excerpted from BuzzFeed’s February 23, 2016 article by Maritsa Patrinos, here are 14 ways doing theater as a kid can help you as an adult. You can learn more about how theater helps cultivate these skills by reading the full article on BuzzFeed.


Interested in learning how to use the arts to cultivate these skills in your employees? Learn about arts-based training examples here.


14 Ways Doing Theater As A Kid Can Help You As An Adult
1. It improves your public speaking skills.
2. You learn the value of teamwork.
3. It teaches you empathy.
4. You become a master of stress management.
5. You’ll gain confidence.
6. But you’ll also learn some humility.
7. It teaches you how to deal with rejection.
8. You’ll know how to work on a deadline.
9. It is a surefire way of gaining reading skills.
10. You’ll gain a higher appreciation of the written (and spoken) word.
11. It makes you more charismatic.
12. Your memorization skills will be on point.
13. It gets you in the habit of staying physically active.
14. It teaches you some real-world professionalism.
 

Photo courtesy of Trust Company of Kansas. Photo by Christopher Clark.

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New Essay on Engaging Employees Through Art Partnerships

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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In 2014, a Society of Human Resource Management study found that employees in the United States remain only moderately tuned in at work. Gallup took this a step further, reporting that we’re in the midst of an “employee engagement crisis.” In June 2013, Gallup had estimated that “actively disengaged” employees cost the United States $450 to $550 billion per year in lost productivity in its report, “How to Tackle U.S. Employees’ Stagnating Engagement.”

 

How can companies combat this problem and boost workforce engagement? Mark
Royal, a consultant at the management consulting firm Hay Group, says that engagement tends to be deeper among employees who feel that they have opportunities for growth and development. “The problem for organizations is that demand for such opportunities frequently outpaces the available supply,” he says.

 

By partnering with arts organizations, companies can provide employees with innovative opportunities for growth and development, which can in turn have positive effects on engagement, morale, retention, and performance.

 

In our new essay in the pARTnership Movement essay series, we explore how the Arts & Science Council's Cultural Leadership Training (CLT) Program in Charlotte and the Center of Creative Arts' COCAbiz program in St. Louis helps business employees learn how to serve on boards, develop leadership, and communications skills, and enhance creativity and collaboration. The programs also help businesses determine the leadership potential of their employees based on their interest in participating in these training programs.

 

Download the essay here

 

“People become experts at their jobs by doing the same thing many times. But repetition
can lead people to get stuck in a cognitive rut where it becomes hard to see new
perspectives,” explains Steve Knight, Director of COCAbiz. “We use artistic experiences as a way to help people escape from those mental ruts and rise above their normal routines to find new solutions and opportunities.”

 

“Our company has a lot of scientists, so we were not sure whether an arts-based
development program would be a good fit,” admits Anne Schuchardt, Leadership Development Project Manager for the multinational agricultural company Monsanto. “It turned out that innovation and experimentation which underpin the arts are also really important for scientists. As a result, our employees have jumped in and embraced the artistic lessons that COCAbiz delivers.”

 

Hear more about COCAbiz in our upcoming webinar on March 16.

 

Read more about engaging employees through the arts, and find case studies.

 

Get more information about and examples of arts and business partnerships by signing up for our monthly newsletter, BCA Noteworthy.

 

Have you used the arts to train and engage your business's employees? We want to hear from you. Share you story on Twitter with @Americans4Arts using #ArtsandBiz or email us at pARTnership@artsusa.org.

 

Photos: Courtesy of the Center of Creative Arts.

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Connecting Art and Business in Practice

Posted by Mica Scalin
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Mica Scalin is the Co-Founder of Another Limited Rebellion, which helps businesses and individuals devleop their own creative practices to grow and succeed. She has worked in communications, marketing, and creative development for Showtime Networks, CBS, and NBC Universal. She was the Head of Communications for the nonprofit JDub and has produced and curated numerous art and cultural exhibitions and events.

 

The following is excerpted from Scalin's ARTSblog post on AmericansfortheArts.org.

 

Another Limited Rebellion,

Times Are Changing

Dozens of times in the past few years I’ve been in a room of professionals in non-arts related fields (think engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance) and asked the question: “Do you need creativity to succeed at your job?” In this time, I’ve seen the show of hands go from less-than-half the group to 99% of the room. Not only are they aware they need it, they are quick to articulate why; innovation and differentiation, marketing and customer engagement, recruitment and culture building. BUT when I ask a follow up question to the same people: “Would you call yourself creative?” only 2-3 hands are raised and tentatively at that. This is the discrepancy we think is essential to address.

 

Window of Opportunity

I loved the story that was told in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts. It absolutely validated what we had been seeing with our clients and helped us to hone in on how best to offer something they could really use.

 

Only a small percentage of the responders said they supported the arts because it helped their businesses grow or meet corporate objectives. On the other hand, a great majority said they would increase contributions to the arts if it increased their businesses profitability.

 

Now, while it is very unlikely that we could actually get the data to prove our art engagements affect bottom lines, there is another angle to come at this same issue because 59% said they would increase contributions if it was demonstrated that the arts promote employee creativity and growth. Any business that invests in employee growth and creativity does it because they believe it will increase profitability and impact their bottom line.

 

We know that arts can promote creativity and growth in individuals in so many ways but the challenge is how to do this in a way that reflects a businesses needs.

 

Sharing Practice

Turn over my business card and you will see the words “Creativity Is A Practice”. I love seeing the “ah-ha moment” on people’s faces when they read those words. It is like a muscle that gets exercised, those who practice it, have more of its power available to them. Most importantly, it is a way of thinking about creativity that makes its value available to anyone.

 

When we share our practice we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing the not-quite-right, the trials and errors and the outright failures. This in itself is helpful because it demonstrates that creating something great requires a lot of messiness and uncertainty in the process. Becoming comfortable with such ambiguities and developing a kind of resilience is how artists survive and grow.

 

Seeing how artists must continually put un-finished, in-complete work out for critique in order to improve their work, sets a great example for those in businesses that are struggling to get ahead. In an environment not necessarily conducive to the relentless iterative, trial and error processes that innovation requires, artists can provide a model.
 

Times Are Changing

Dozens of times in the past few years I’ve been in a room of professionals in non-arts related fields (think engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance) and asked the question: “Do you need creativity to succeed at your job?” In this time, I’ve seen the show of hands go from less-than-half the group to 99% of the room. Not only are they aware they need it, they are quick to articulate why; innovation and differentiation, marketing and customer engagement, recruitment and culture building. BUT when I ask a follow up question to the same people: “Would you call yourself creative?” only 2-3 hands are raised and tentatively at that. This is the discrepancy we think is essential to address. If people feel so alienated from their own creativity how can truely value and appreciate the labor of artists?

Window of Opportunity

I loved the story that was told in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts. It absolutely validated what we had been seeing with our clients and helped us to hone in on how best to offer something they could really use.

Only a small percentage of the responders said they supported the arts because it helped their businesses grow or meet corporate objectives. On the other hand, a great majority said they would increase contributions to the arts if it increased their businesses profitability.

Now, while it is very unlikely that we could actually get the data to prove our art engagements affect bottom lines, there is another angle to come at this same issue because 59% said they would increase contributions if it was demonstrated that the arts promote employee creativity and growth. Any business that invests in employee growth and creativity does it because they believe it will increase profitability and impact their bottom line.

We know that arts can promote creativity and growth in individuals in so many ways but the challenge is how to do this in a way that reflects a businesses needs.

Sharing Practice

Turn over my business card and you will see the words “Creativity Is A Practice”. I love seeing the “ah-ha moment” on people’s faces when they read those words. It is like a muscle that gets exercised, those who practice it, have more of its power available to them. Most importantly, it is a way of thinking about creativity that makes its value available to anyone.

When we share our practice we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing the not-quite-right, the trials and errors and the outright failures. This in itself is helpful because it demonstrates that creating something great requires a lot of messiness and uncertainty in the process. Becoming comfortable with such ambiguities and developing a kind of resilience is how artists survive and grow.

Seeing how artists must continually put un-finished, in-complete work out for critique in order to improve their work, sets a great example for those in businesses that are struggling to get ahead. In an environment not necessarily conducive to the relentless iterative, trial and error processes that innovation requires, artists can provide a model.

- See more at: http://blog.americansforthearts.org/node/95091/draft#sthash.qmwTMRSs.dpuf

Times Are Changing

Dozens of times in the past few years I’ve been in a room of professionals in non-arts related fields (think engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance) and asked the question: “Do you need creativity to succeed at your job?” In this time, I’ve seen the show of hands go from less-than-half the group to 99% of the room. Not only are they aware they need it, they are quick to articulate why; innovation and differentiation, marketing and customer engagement, recruitment and culture building. BUT when I ask a follow up question to the same people: “Would you call yourself creative?” only 2-3 hands are raised and tentatively at that. This is the discrepancy we think is essential to address. If people feel so alienated from their own creativity how can truely value and appreciate the labor of artists?

Window of Opportunity

I loved the story that was told in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts. It absolutely validated what we had been seeing with our clients and helped us to hone in on how best to offer something they could really use.

Only a small percentage of the responders said they supported the arts because it helped their businesses grow or meet corporate objectives. On the other hand, a great majority said they would increase contributions to the arts if it increased their businesses profitability.

Now, while it is very unlikely that we could actually get the data to prove our art engagements affect bottom lines, there is another angle to come at this same issue because 59% said they would increase contributions if it was demonstrated that the arts promote employee creativity and growth. Any business that invests in employee growth and creativity does it because they believe it will increase profitability and impact their bottom line.

We know that arts can promote creativity and growth in individuals in so many ways but the challenge is how to do this in a way that reflects a businesses needs.

Sharing Practice

Turn over my business card and you will see the words “Creativity Is A Practice”. I love seeing the “ah-ha moment” on people’s faces when they read those words. It is like a muscle that gets exercised, those who practice it, have more of its power available to them. Most importantly, it is a way of thinking about creativity that makes its value available to anyone.

When we share our practice we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing the not-quite-right, the trials and errors and the outright failures. This in itself is helpful because it demonstrates that creating something great requires a lot of messiness and uncertainty in the process. Becoming comfortable with such ambiguities and developing a kind of resilience is how artists survive and grow.

Seeing how artists must continually put un-finished, in-complete work out for critique in order to improve their work, sets a great example for those in businesses that are struggling to get ahead. In an environment not necessarily conducive to the relentless iterative, trial and error processes that innovation requires, artists can provide a model.

- See more at: http://blog.americansforthearts.org/node/95091/draft#sthash.qmwTMRSs.dpuf
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What’s Trending: Attracting & Engaging Creative Talent with Art in the Workplace

Posted by Kate Reese
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What’s Trending: Attracting & Engaging Creative Talent with Art in the Workplace

 

According to an article published by Fast Company, some of America’s most desirable companies for prospective employees share a creative culture enhanced by art as a common dominator. This culture attracts creative candidates who help the companies remain innovative. Facebook, IDEO, and Virgin America, for example, boast inspiring workspaces and provide activities that build community among employees and encourage fresh perspectives.

 

At IDEO, a design and consulting firm, employees encounter multiple personal projects lining the hallways, from a mural of Instagram photos to a mystery project in the making comprised of discarded items donated from staff. IDEO is “intentionally creating moments—spaces, walls to draw on, the piano, culture-building events—to [help employees] bring their whole selves to the workplace," says managing director Clark Scheffy. This sentiment is articulated in the company’s “Little Book of Ideo,” which illustrates the company’s cultural values.

 

Virgin America’s office and terminals are consistent with the company’s popular “party” brand—guests and employees are greeted with rock music and freshly cut flowers.

 

Facebook’s sparse office workspace is punctuated by larger than life art installations and murals created by rotating artists-in-residence. According to Drew Bennet who runs the program, “it’s allowing the community that is already engaged in so much creativity to have a reference, a backdrop of their reality, in a more tactile way." The company also offers employees the chance to participate in workshops for learning hands-on artistic endeavors, such as print making and wood working. By facilitating these classes, Facebook develops workplace skills that go beyond the computer screen.

 

"When I see designers pushing their personal edges, I get extremely excited," says Scheffy. "Of course, it's terrifying as well, and I prefer for it to happen at the beginning of a project when working with a client so we can recover and redirect if we need. But I constantly seek that magic space where we are challenged and pushing our limits. That's where the best work happens."

 

Photo: IDEO's Chicago office.

 

Learn more about art in the workplace.

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Lessons in Oratory from the Opera

Posted by Brooke LaRue
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Lessons in Oratory from the Opera

Did you know that Margaret Thatcher took voice lessons when she became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom? Think about the people you know in leadership positions. Chances are they all share an ability to communicate well. Employers often claim that good public speaking skills is one of the most valuable assets in a new hire, but many job seekers lack performance training. In a recent article in The Harvard Business Review, Allison Shapira, a former opera singer who now teaches public speaking, has identified several ways to perfect this essential skill, which she culled from her years as a performer.


She writes, “As a former opera singer, I know how much breathing affects how a voice sounds. Singers must use deep breathing in order to project a strong voice across a crowded auditorium to reach every single person in the audience…Now, having taught public speaking and presentation skills for over a decade, I can say with confidence that the ability to harness your breath is one of the most important and least taught areas within public speaking.”


Read the opera singer’s tips for public speaking.


Learn other ways that arts-based training can help in business.

 

Photo: Americans for the Arts President & CEO Robert Lynch addresses the audience at the 2014 National Arts Awards.

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Classical Ballet is Coming to Your Workplace

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Classical Ballet is Coming to Your Workplace

Classical ballet is coming to your workplace,” says ballerina Karis Scarlette, founder of En Avant Ballet, in a recent blog post for the Guardian. For employees seated at a computer all day, “ballet’s continual movement patterns provide a graceful, lengthening fluidity that allows even the most inactive of office workers to stretch their stiff bodies and evaluate their posture.” Ballet can even help improve memory, improve focus, and reduce stress.

 

That’s why many companies, including online retailer ASOS, have recently added ballet classes to the benefits available to their employees. “I’ve taught everyone from CEOs and lawyers to designers, secretaries and journalists,” says Scarlette. “While each job role is different, what ballet offers them is universally beneficial.”

 

Read more from Karis Scarlette about the benefits of ballet in the workplace.

 

Photograph © Quinn Dombrowski

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JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts Brings More Poise and Grace to its Business

Posted by Kellyn Lopes
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Poise, grace, posture, and confidence are some of the many exceptional attributes of ballet dancers. JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts also sees these as important qualities its associates need to deliver a superior level of service to its guests.

 

JW Marriott is taking the service culture to a new level with the launch of “Poise and Grace,” a series of video training tutorials led by Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet.

 

“At JW Marriott, we look to identify associates that live the brand vision of orchestrating the exceptional, crafting luxurious experiences for guests that are inspired by their passions,” said Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President and Global Brand Manager of JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts.  “Poise and posture are globally recognized cultural cues that reflect the care and dedication our associates provide in every service interaction.”

 

The inspirational videos are typically shown to associates during the daily team meeting. The videos focus on the importance of warming up, breathing techniques, movement flow and connecting with audiences. While hotel guests do not see the videos, they experience the impact: confident, poised associates with strong first impressions and meaningful connections.

 

“We are proud to partner with JW Marriott on the Poise and Grace video training series,” said Wheater. “Ballet technique breeds discipline, self-confidence and a genuine interaction between people. Dancers epitomize poise and grace, and this program is a wonderful way to both celebrate our brand partnership and enhance the JW Marriott guest experience.”

 

  

 

Photo: courtesy of JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts.

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A Simple Way to Improve Business Efficacy

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Diagnosing Art

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Diagnosing Art

Diagnosing art? The following article from the Wall Street Journal looks at a group of physicians who are doing just that! Courses developed at medical schools around the country are training doctors to hone their observation skills by studying works of art. A swollen knee, a lazy eye—the subjects of many great paintings present maladies that offer doctors a new perspective on crafting their diagnosing skills. Just one of the many ways the arts are being utilized to build a stronger, more productive workforce.

 

Doctors Enlist Paintings to Hone Skills

 

Photo: Raphael’s The School of Athens, Universal History Archive/Getty Images. Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

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From Ballet Dancer to CEO
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Another incredible story of dancer-turned-executive! In the following article from The Guardian, Leigh Thomas, CEO of Dare, a UK-based creative agency, discusses the skills she took away from the barre and brought to the board...
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How Ballet Helped Advance Her Executive Career
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Introducing Delta Airlines Innovation Class
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Introducing Delta Airlines Innovation Class, a mentoring program at 35,000 feet! Delta is using its time up in the air to connect an innovator of today in the fields of business, art and technology with a leader of tomorrow...
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