Arts and business news from around the country.


2017 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts Webcast

Posted by Jessica Gaines

As employee engagement becomes a priority for companies, many of them are turning to the arts in an effort to fuel attraction and retention. The latest BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts, Business Contributions to the Arts: 2017 Edition, looks at these trends in support for the arts from small, midsize, and large US businesses.


For the first time since 1969, Americans for the Arts has teamed up with The Conference Board to conduct the survey. In a FREE June 26 webcast at 3pm EST, the two partners will discuss brand new data that covers a range of topics, including trends in arts funding past and present, how arts fuels employee engagement, which companies are more inclined to support the arts and why, and measurement and impact. Learn more.


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

Emily Peck is Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives at Americans for the Arts. She is responsible for providing business and foundation leaders with the information, resources and strategies they need to better partner with and support the arts.

Mark Shugoll
Chief Executive Officer
Shugoll Research

Mark Shugoll, Ph.D. is CEO of Shugoll Research in Washington, DC, one of the nation’s leading marketing research companies for the arts. Its clients include a prestigious roster of nonprofit theaters, symphony orchestras, opera companies, dance companies, performing arts centers, museums, and more.

Alexander Parkinson(Moderator)
Senior Researcher and Associate Director, Society for New Communications Research (SNCR)
The Conference Board

Alex Parkinson is a senior researcher and associate director of the Society for New Communications Research of The Conference Board (SNCR). He specializes in corporate philanthropy and communications and marketing, and is the executive editor of Framing Social Impact Measurement.





Participate in the National Survey of Business Support for the Arts

Posted by Jessica Gaines
Participate in the National Survey of Business Support for the Arts

The 2016 National Survey of Business Support for the Arts, is now open for submissions. The survey is open to companies of all sizes who participate in corporate philanthropy, employee engagement, volunteer programs, or sponsorship.


The survey, which is jointly conducted by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts, will enable maintaining trend data on how and why businesses of all sizes support the arts. The report is a valuable benchmarking tool, with data categorized by company size (measured by revenue and asset value) and industry groups. 


Participation is confidential and none of the information provided in the survey will be shared with third parties. The survey takes about ten minutes to complete. If you wish to save your responses and return to the survey at a later time, click “Next” at the bottom of the page and, once the new page appears, close your browser. When you are ready to resume the survey, click again on the link below and you will be directed to where you left it. Go Here for more details about the survey.


Click Here to Start the Survey 


In appreciation of your time, you will receive the final report via email later this year.


If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Emily Peck, Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives at Americans for the Arts, at, or Alex Parkinson, Senior Researcher, Corporate Philanthropy, The Conference Board at


Recruitment & Retention’s Secret Weapon

Posted by Stacy Lasner
Recruitment & Retention’s Secret Weapon


What keeps CEOs up at night? According to new research by The Conference Board, failure to attract and retain talent is at the top of the list, and innovation isn’t far behind. In December 2015, voluntary quits rose to nearly 3.1 million, the highest level since December 2006. For HR practitioners charged with battling these challenges, it’s time to raise the curtain on businesses’ secret weapon: the arts.


Build it and they will come.

Des Moines had an image problem. Creative millennials were leaving the city after graduation for more vibrant communities. To solve the problem, the city’s businesses banded together to fund The Des Moines Social Club, which now hosts over 700 events a year, manages four resident theater companies, and helps sustain many arts organizations in the city. The transformation is evident. In 2014, Fortune named Des Moines the #1 City with an Up-and-Coming Downtown and Forbes named Des Moines the #1 Best City for Young Professionals. The robust arts scene has helped creative employees see Des Moines as more than just cornfields.


Remember, inspired employees bring creativity to work.

Just as creative employees want live in a vibrant community, they crave a culturally rich work environment. An engaging company culture is a crucial asset for businesses competing for top talent. Facebook, for example, not only offers employees opportunities to take art classes but, like many companies of all sizes, it employs an artist-in-residence to help inspire creativity and present new ways for employees to think about their work. Other businesses like The Standard insurance company host employee art shows to engage employees, empowering them to exercise their creative skills and pursue their artistic passions.


Embrace diversity and open-mindedness.

According to a 2015 survey from Human Capital Media Advisory Group, the research arm of Talent Management magazine, "Almost three-quarters of human resources practitioners see diversity and inclusion as a strategic enabler for their companies' business strategy." Celebrating diversity communicates to employees and future employees that your business embraces an open exchange of ideas. Utility company PECO, for example, hosts multicultural events in Philadelphia, not only contributing to the city’s appeal, but also promoting its commitment to diversity in a visible way. Other businesses express their commitment to diversity by displaying corporate art collections in their lobbies.


     Take your employee communications cue from “AutoZone the Opera.”

Employee communication is key to retaining talented employees. Regardless of the industry, arts-training not only helps staff communicate better with one another, but artful messaging is more likely to hold employees’ attention. At AutoZone’s 2013 and 2014 national conferences, the company partnered with Opera Memphis to produce “AutoZone: The Opera.” The performances reminded employees about the company’s values and customer service procedures in a fun, memorable way.


Supporting the arts is not a new concept for America’s businesses, but in order to solve today's pressing human capital issues, HR practitioners need to tap into their own creativity and put the arts to work.


The pARTnership Movement is an initiative from Americans for the Arts to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Want to learn more?


Find additional ways that the arts can help your business thrive in 2016.


Read The pARTnership Movement essay on recruiting and retaining talent.


Read success stories showcasing how Americans businesses are using the arts to recruit and retain talent.


Find other examples of businesses using the arts to recruit and retain talent.


Sign up for our monthly arts and business newletter to receive more relevant research and examples of how the arts can help businesses recruit and retain talent.


Is your business using the arts to recruit and retain talent? Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at


Foster Critical Thinking in the Workplace Through the Arts

Posted by Stacy Lasner
Foster Critical Thinking in the Workplace Through the Arts

In the business world, innovation is a prerequisite for progress. Launching today, the third essay in The pARTnership Movement essay series, Foster Critical Thinking, demonstrates how arts partnerships can help a company encourage critical thinking and thereby boost innovation among employees.

Some companies choose to spend more money on research and development to trigger innovation, but the 2014 Global Innovation 1000 survey from strategic consultants Strategy&, the global strategy consulting team at PwC, showed that R&D spending alone will not necessarily make a company innovative.

According to the 2008 Ready to Innovate report by The Conference Board, Americans for the Arts, and the American Association of School Administrators:


  • 97% of U.S. business executives agree that creativity is becoming more important in the workplace.
  • 85% of U.S. executives looking to hire creative people say they cannot find enough qualified applicants.
  • 61% of U.S. executives say that employers have the responsibility to instill creativity in the workforce.


So how can companies encourage creativity among their employees in order to drive innovation?

Foster Critical Thinking features successful case studies from the Innovation Institute, which provides artist-led professional development programs for individuals and teams from various companies within Charlotte metro area and beyond, and Kohler Co. in Wisconsin.

Where the Innovation Institute seeks to reawaken creativity and innovation by bringing businesspeople into an artistic setting, Kohler takes a different approach and brings art into the workplace. The company partners with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, an independent contemporary arts nonprofit organization, on an artist-in-residence program called Arts/Industry. The artists who participate in Arts/Industry use Kohler Co.’s industrial equipment and materials to produce their art—right alongside Kohler Co. associates building bathtubs, sinks, faucets, and other household fixtures. In 2011, Americans for the Arts was pleased to honor Kohler Co. with the BCA Hall of Fame Award for their engagement with the arts.

By learning from professional artists, employees can perhaps recognize the artistic value in their own work and realize that building a fine bathtub is not so far removed from building a sculpture, that writing a compelling report bears some kinship to writing a novel, that art and business are in fact interlinked on many levels.

Arts partnerships offer companies effective and cost-efficient methods of achieving critical business goals. The first essay in The pARTnership Movement essay series, Recruit and Retain Talent, shows 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. The second essay, Put Your Company in the Spotlight, explores how engaging with the arts can help a business build market share, enhance its brand, and reach new customers.

Do you know of a company that partnered with the arts to foster critical thinking? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at

Read more about how top businesses are partnering with the arts to foster critical thinking.

Learn more about The pARTnership Movement essay series.


Photo: Innovation Institute participants at McColl Center for Art + Innovation.


Giving in Numbers: A Preview of the 2015 Engagement Survey

Posted by Stacy Lasner

CECP, in association with The Conference Board, has released a brief of the 2015 Giving in Numbers, the most complete annual survey of corporate societal engagement. The full results will be released in autumn 2015 and will reflect responses from 271 multi-billion dollar companies with aggregate revenues of US $8.3 trillion.


The brief indicates that companies are increasingly seeing community investment as essential to their operations, and many companies are choosing to involve employees in their social engagement plans. For example, the survey found:


  • corporate matches of employee donations accounted for 12% of total corporate cash contributions.
  •  9 out of 10 companies offered an employee matching program.
  •  6 out of 10 companies offered paid-release time volunteer programs.
  • 30% of employees volunteering is average.
  • 50% of employees volunteering is the minimum to be in the top quartile.


You can find more statistics from the Giving in Numbers Brief here.


Does your company involve employees in your engagement with the arts? Tell us about it using #ArtsandBiz on Twitter or email


Using the Arts to Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Posted by Emily Peck

On June 19 at 1:00pm ET, speakers from Aetna and Travelers will join us for a webcast in partnership with The Conference Board on the role of the arts in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 


Today’s workforce is diverse in every way. Employees come from many backgrounds that cross ethnic, generational and economic lines. Through exhibitions, performances, and workshops, the arts provide opportunities for employees to grapple with workplace concerns and become more familiar with their coworkers in the next cubicle or around the world. Employers will provide examples of how using the arts as a new tool brings their diversity and inclusion programs to new levels.

In viewing, participants will:

  • Gain insights from best practice companies.
  • Hear how the arts can bridge diversity concerns in the workplace.
  • Learn how the arts can help with diversity and inclusion recruitment.


The webcast is free to members of Americans for the Arts and The Conference Board.  Americans for the Arts members should email to register.  Members of The Conference Board can register by visiting, The Conference Board's website.

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