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Investing in Curiosity and Exploration

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Investing in Curiosity and Exploration

What makes one business outshine others in its field? A few things come to mind but committing to community often pushes a company ahead of its competitors.

 

Digital agency, Situation Interactive, is an example of this type of commitment. As a creative-driven agency that uses media and technology to tell immersive brand stories, Situation Interactive has been fortunate to be named one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York by the New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM) in 2016. It’s not so much about luck however, Situation Interactive’s Founder Damian Bazadona attributes this type of recognition as a direct reflection of their clients and team. Their ability to gain this honor is further highlighted by the company’s beneficial and necessary commitment and investment in the community.

 

Every year, Situation rewards praiseworthy NYC public school students with a Broadway show experience. The program began with one middle school, MS 343 in the South Bronx, that is located in the poorest congressional district in the nation yet, one of the highest performing schools in New York City. Using funds slated for holiday gift baskets for clients and partners, Situation sent the entire school to see Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark – significant as most of these students had never been on a field trip, much less seen a Broadway show.

 

School trips to world-class arts and culture with access to working arts professionals: The Situation Project was born.

 

Now in its sixth year, the Situation Project predominantly provides Broadway-level experiences, see #TheatreMakesMe, but also boasts other art and culture experiences for these NYC middle school students including experiences like a tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for an 8th grade photography class before it had opened to the public.

 

With the Situation Project, Situation Interactive shows how they are on a mission to stimulate and expand the imaginations of students in their local communities.

 

Photo: Situation Project

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"Contribute to the Economy & Quality of Life" is eighth essay in series illustrating benefits of arts and business partnerships

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Americans for the Arts is proud to announce the final installment in The pARTnership Movement essay series: Contribute to the Economy & Quality of Life.

The newest essay features case studies from Arts Brookfield and the Houston Arts Alliance. These case studies profile successful arts and business partnerships from across the nation and the benefits to those businesses by way of engaging employees, enhancing their brand, and building vibrant communities.

Each essay in this series, started in June 2015, illustrates one of The pARTnership Movement's 8 reasons businesses partner with the arts, and has been a key tool in motivating and guiding sustainable, symbiotic partnerships between businesses and the arts. To view and download this essay and the rest of The pARTnership Movement's essays, visit www.pARTnershipmovement.org/essays.

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Mary Phan Wins Scholarship Integrating the Arts and Economics

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Mary Phan Wins Scholarship Integrating the Arts and Economics

The NABE Foundation, the charitable arm of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), and Americans for the Arts jointly announced today that Mary Anne Phan has won the eighth annual NABE Foundation/Americans for the Arts Scholarship Award. Phan was presented with the scholarship on March 8 at the 2016 NABE Economic Policy Conference in Washington, DC.

 

Phan will receive the $5,000 scholarship to further the integration of the arts into the study and application of economics in her undergraduate career and professional development. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Art History at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

 

“As an economics and art history double major, I am interested in the force of the art market on the economy and conversely, in economic motivations in art,” said Phan. “It is such an honor to receive the NABE Foundation/Americans for the Arts Scholarship Award and it will allow me to fund my study abroad at Lincoln College, Oxford University, next semester.”

 

“I am delighted that Mary Anne will have the opportunity to continue pursuing her passion for both the arts and economics with the help of this scholarship award,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “This award reflects the fundamental belief that the arts are a key component in helping to prepare students to succeed, and it’s a pleasure to partner with the NABE Foundation for the eighth year to recognize student achievement in both the arts and economics.”

 

“These award recipients are at the cutting edge of our profession; by operating at the intersection of economics and creativity, they see patterns in our behavior that others miss,” said Diane Swonk, founder of DS Economics and a NABE Foundation Board member.

 

Read the full press release here.

 

To learn more about Phan’s perspective on the intersection of economics and the arts, read her blog post on ARTSblog.

 

The NABE Foundation Americans for the Arts Scholarship Award was established in 2008 to encourage the integration of the arts into the economic education process. Recipients of the scholarship must come from economically disadvantaged households and have attended public school. Successful candidates demonstrate long-term participation in the study of, creation in and/or performance in one or more art forms, including dance, music, theater, literary, visual/media arts; excel academically; and have formally declared the intent to study economics for policy purposes, or in applications in the private and public sectors. The scholarship recipients are selected following a competitive review process which begins with a pre-screening of applicants by Americans for the Arts, followed by a review of finalists by a subcommittee, and ratification of recipients by the NABE Foundation Board.

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NEA Research on The Arts & Economic Growth

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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NEA Research on The Arts & Economic Growth

Photo: National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Let's talk numbers. Not only are the arts a great way to engage employees and put your brand in the spotlight, but by partnering with arts organizations, your business is also helping to sustain a big contributor to the U.S. economy.

 

Arts and culture contributed $704.2 billion to the U.S. economy in 2013 (4.2% of GDP) according to new research from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. This number represents a 32.5% growth in GDP contribution between 1998 and 2013.

 

The Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA) is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector's contributions to the economy. In addition to the overall contribution numbers, ACPSA reveals that consumer spending on the performing arts grew 10 percent annually over the 15-year period.

 

“The new data shows that the production of performing arts services has grown at a faster clip than arts and cultural production in general, contributing $44.5 billion to the U.S. economy in 2013,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Notably, the ACPSA reveals that Americans are choosing to spend more on performing arts events such as concerts, plays, and dance performances. This tells us that the arts remain a valuable and desirable commodity for U.S. consumers, and that the arts are a strong contributor to America’s economic vitality.”

 

According to the NEA’s news announcement, some other key findings include:

 

Culture outpaces other sectors - Over the 15-year period (1998-2013), arts and cultural production grew by $165 billion or 32.5 percent. The annual growth rate for arts and culture as a whole (1.8 percent) was on par with that of the total U.S. economy (1.9 percent). But it grew faster than other sectors such as accommodation and food services (1.4 percent), retail trade (1.3 percent), and transportation and warehousing (1.1 percent).

 

Arts employment - In 2013, arts and cultural sector employed 4.7 million wage and salary workers, earning $339 billion. Industries employing the largest number of ACPSA workers include government (including school-based arts education), retail trade, broadcasting, motion picture industries, and publishing.

 

Learn more about the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account report and results.

 

Americans for the Arts also produces a number of annual publications, e-newsletters, and reports that provide a quantitative, measurable impact of the arts in America. For example, while most economic impact studies of the arts have focused on the nonprofit sector (such as our own Arts and Economic Prosperity studies), Americans for the Arts’ Creative Industries is the first national economic impact study that encompasses both the nonprofit andfor-profit arts industries. Reports for all 435 U.S. Congressional Districts, the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the 7,500 state legislative districts, and all 3,143 U.S. counties—as well as a full suite of user tools and a comprehensive list of the industries included—are available for download

 

Sign up for BCA Noteworthy, our monthly business and arts partnerships newsletter, to learn about new research and resources to help you build and promote your arts partnerships, and hear from other business leaders engaging with the arts.

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6 Ways the Arts Can Help Your Business Thrive in 2016

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Foster Critical Thinking & Innovation

Did you know that GE has a new division called FirstBuild (a 2015 BCA 10 honoree) that brings artists into the factory to help create the next generation of appliances? Or that litigation firm Faegre Baker Daniels LLP uses theater to train its lawyers? The increased demand for customized products and services and the rise in consumer power is leading to an emphasis on continuous innovation. Last year we learned from BCA 10 honoree U.S. Bank’s CEO Richard Davis that CEOs representing the country’s top companies now believe that creativity is the most important attribute of a future C-Suite senior leader. Americans for the Arts’ and The Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate study also supports their claim.

 

To learn how businesses are using the arts to foster critical thinking and drive innovation, read this essayYou can find additional examples here.

 

Engage Employees, Especially Millennials

2014 BCA 10 honoree Hallmark displays employee art. Facebook offers art classes to employees. 2015 BCA 10 honoree NV Energy's employees volunteer with local arts organizations and at arts events. “Employee engagement” is not just a buzzword or a passing trend. It holds powerful benefits for businesses. For example, many studies show that employees (particularly millennials) who frequently participate in workplace volunteer activities are more likely to be proud, loyal, and satisfied employees. The arts offers businesses many opportunities to engage employees both in and out of the workplace (a topic we’ll explore more on pARTnershipMovement.org in 2016).

 

Find more examples of how the arts can help engage employees.

 

Recruit & Retain Talent

Creative employees want to live and work in a vibrant community; if you build it, they will come. According to a recent Cone Communications study, 76 percent of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments before deciding where to work. Millennials are also highly mobile. Today’s businesses are not just competing for talent against other companies, but also against other communities, cities, states, and countries. In 2014, a survey by ManpowerGroup showed that 40 percent of U.S. employers have difficulty filling jobs. How do communities like Des Moines, Iowa and Corning, New York attract top employees? They invest heavily in local arts and culture.

 

For an example of how business support of the arts helps attract creative talent, read this essay about the transformation of Des Moines. You can find additional examples here.

 

Put Your Company in the Spotlight

In 2015, BCA 10 company Zions Bank showcased costumes from a local ballet company in the bank’s branches, which resulted in substantial media coverage and increased visitors for both the bank and the ballet. Celebrating the arts is a way to build a powerful presence and engage with multiple stakeholders quickly and effectively. According to Americans for the Arts’ BCA National Survey of Business Support of the Arts (the next iteration of which will be released in 2016), 79 percent of businesses agree that the arts increase name recognition.

 

To learn how Portland General Electric partnered with the arts to build an emotional connection to their intangible product, read this essay. Learn about other ways the arts can help you put your business in the spotlight.

 

Advance Corporate Objectives & Strategies

Over the holidays, competitors Apple and Microsoft both sent powerful messages to consumers through music. In August 2015, Google demonstrated its support of people with disabilities through a visual display on the steps of prominent buildings in Washington DC, which also called attention to Google’s Cultural Institute. The arts are an incredibly effective way of breaking through to audiences facing information overload. Consider the flash mob trend and the rise of video in marketing. According to an article in The Guardian quoting research by Cisco, by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic.

 

Learn how other businesses are using the arts to advance corporate objectives and communicate strategic messages in this essay, and find additional examples here.

                                                               

Contribute to the Economy & Quality of Life

When you partner with local arts, you partner with the whole city. The arts enhance community development, create jobs, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, draw tourism dollars, and more. Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $135.2 billion in economic activity every year—$61.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $74.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences. For 2015 BCA 10 honoree, commercial real estate firm Prospective Inc., the impact of the arts on the company’s bottom line is undeniable. “The impact of the arts on demand for office, retail, and residential real estate, result(s) in higher valuations of commercial and residential properties and increased tax revenues to local, county, and state government. Investment in the arts provides a powerful economic return,” said Joe Ritchey, Principal of Prospective Inc.

 

Read more about how supporting the arts helps contribute to the economy and check out how other businesses are contributing to their local economies through the arts.

 

Want to learn more? Find additional ways that the arts can help your business thrive in 2016.

 

How has partnering with the arts impacted your business? Tell us on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at pARTnership@artsusa.org.

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Architecture Firms in DC Compete at Canstruction

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Architecture Firms in DC Compete at Canstruction

Some of the best arts and business partnerships are ones in which businesses incorporate the arts as part of other charitable efforts. For example, architects in DC collaborated with their colleagues on a creative project this past November to raise awareness about hunger in the city. At the Washington Architectural Foundation's annual Canstruction event, teams created structures made of full cans of food that were then donated to charity. According to Greatergreaterwashington.org, this year's theme was transportation, which resulted in replicas of the Metro map, Washington Dulles International airport, and a Car2Go from firms such as KCCT Architects and Barnes Vanze Architects. Through this year's event, the firms donated a total of 68,313 pounds of food plus $5,070 in “votes” for the Capital Area Food Bank, resulting in 69,600 meals--27.600 more meals than the event raised in 2014.

 

Canstruction® is an Atlanta, Georgia based charity which hosts competitions, exhibitions and events showcasing colossal structures made out of full cans of food. After the structures are built, the cansculptures® go on display to the public as a giant art exhibition. At the end of the event, all food is donated to local hunger relief organizations. Canstruction® events are held annually in over 150 cities around the world including North America, Australia, South America, Europe, and Asia.

 

Not only does Canstruction challenge architects to think creatively, enabling them to work collaboratively with their coworkers and hone their design skills in a fun way, but it also allows the businesses to give back to the community where their employees and customers live and work. For these firms, Canstruction is about more than just building a map or a car, it's about building a brand.

 

Photos: A DC Metro map and Can2Go by nevermindtheend on Flickr.

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Arts & Business Partnerships in Delaware

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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In an op-ed in the Delaware News Journal on December 3, 2015, John Shipman, executive director of the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA), discusses the value of breaking the old partnership model, which he claims, "abstractly rewards the business partner while concretely rewarding the arts partner." In October, Americans for the Arts’ State Arts Action Network and our own Private Sector staff held an event at the museum to discuss arts and business partnerships. Reflecting on some of the topics discussed at that event, Shipman discusses some of the benefits that businesses can derive from partnering with the arts, including a more vibrant community, engaged and creative employees, and more.

 

"What is most important, perhaps, is an understanding that a strategic partnership between institutions from the business and arts sectors provide valuable combinations of resources that enable each partner to gain new levels of success unable to be obtained on their own. A solid partnership creates new, innovative and exciting elements useable in the computation of each partner’s continued success," he says.

 

This understanding can have a real impact on both businesses and arts organizations. For example, it has driven the organization to change its mission to become an organization focused on the “exploration of new ideas at the intersection of art, design, and technology.” According to Shipman, this has "broadened the DCCA’s ability to discuss creativity in a more inclusive, and perhaps a contemporarily more relevant, way."

 

“The arts represent a powerful management tool for developing workforce and organizational infrastructure to improve Delaware’s competitive advantage,” said Dr. Guillermina Gonzalez, executive director of the Delaware Arts Alliance and chair of the State Arts Action Network Council, at the October event. “This is a departure from simply asking organizations for a check. We believe that the conversations on this front should continue so that arts and business partnerships can be developed across the state that successfully integrate the arts into corporate practices while providing new ways for Delaware’s arts organizations to succeed in their mission.”

 

Photo: Dr. Guillermina Gonzalez addresses event attendees at the museum.

 

Read more about the DCCA's transformation, the October event, and other creative partnerships in Shipman's op-ed.

 

Learn more ways that businesses can benefit from partnering with the arts.

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"3 Reasons Your Business Should Support the Arts" from NV Energy's Community Relations Manager

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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This year, NV Energy was named Nevada's first BCA 10 honoree for its support of the arts. In an op-ed in the Reno Gazette-Journal, the company's Community Relations Manager, Karen Ross, spotlights three reasons that businesses should support the arts.

 

  1. A thriving arts community helps recruit talent.
  2. The arts contribute to the economy and quality of life.
  3. Arts drive tourism.

 

A thriving arts community helps recruit talent.

"Employees want to live and work in a vibrant community. Arts businesses and the creative people they employ stimulate innovation, strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, and play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy," says Ross.

 

Learn more about how the arts can help a community recruit talent.

 

The arts contribute to the economy and quality of life.

Americans for the Arts' Arts & Economic Prosperity study discusses the important financial impact of arts and cultural organizations and their audiences.

 

Learn more about how the arts contribute to the economy and quality of life.

 

Arts drive tourism.

Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the percentage of international travelers including museum visits on their trip has grown steadily since 2003 (18 to 28 percent). The share attending concerts and theater performances has grown from 14 to 18 percent since 2003.

 

Learn more about how the arts impacts tourism.

 

"Support for the arts contributes to communities that thrive and grow," Ross says. "Although the return on investment for a business may at first seem intangible, the long-term results speak for themselves in terms of economic diversification, tourism and educational performance."

 

Read the full op-ed here.

 

Photo: Sculpture at the annual Artown festival in Reno, which is supported by NV Energy.

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Royal Oak Gears Up for Ford Arts, Beats, & Eats Festival

Posted by Brooke LaRue
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This Labor Day weekend, the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak will host the 18th annual Ford Arts, Beats & Eats festival, an event that—with the help of corporate supporters—has a multi-million dollar impact on the local economy.


Ford Motor Company has signed on to be the event’s title sponsor through 2018, and Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort is the presenting sponsor of the event. Other local businesses supporting the event include Priority Health, OUR Credit Union, and Vibe Credit Union, among others. The new sponsorships bring $1 million to the festival, which showcases artists, musicians, and food from the Metro Detroit area, reported C & G Newspapers.


L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive, told C&G Newspapers that the annual event brings about 350,000 people to downtown Royal Oak, has a $10 million impact on the city, and a $30 million impact on the region. Additionally, he stated that the festival has given $4.5 million to nonprofit and community organizations in the last 18 years – all with no cost to local taxpayers.


In addition to corporate support, the festival is made possible by organizations such as the Detroit Institute of Art, Deaf Arts Festival, and the Royal Oak Schools Performing Arts Committee. For example, C&G Newspapers reported that this year the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) will bring its mobile interactive classroom and creative exploration space to the event to help people, “think like an artist.” DIA will present onstage art demonstrations each day of the festival.


Ford Arts, Beats, & Eats aims to bring a low cost cultural experience to families while simultaneously supporting the community. According to the event’s website, proceeds from admission fees are distributed 25 percent to Arts Advocacy, 25 percent to the City of Royal Oak, and 50 percent to 13 local charities. “Downtown Royal Oak provides the ideal background for Ford Arts, Beats, & Eats, and our residents love this event…it has a very positive impact on our downtown,” Mayor Jim Ellison told C&G Newspapers.
 

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The Arts Mean Business in Iowa

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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On Wednesday, August 12, the Des Moines Register published an op-ed by entrepreneur John Pappajohn titled "The Arts Mean Business in Iowa."


“Ask an outsider what they know about Iowa, and they may say one of three things, CORN ...HOGS ... and FARMLAND.” But, “what may come as a surprise is that in Iowa, the arts serve as an economic driver that attracts companies, creates jobs and grows local and state revenue. Without a doubt, the arts mean business in Iowa,” Pappajohn says.


As Chairman of Equity Dynamics Inc. and owner of Pappajohn Capital Resources in Des Moines, and as a member of Americans for the Arts’ BCA Executive Board, Pappajohn has witnessed first-hand how the arts has helped recruit and retain businesses and talented employees in Iowa. For example, according to a recent Americans for the Arts study:

 

  • Nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences within Iowa’s Cultural Corridor of 11 counties alone generate $80 million annually and support more than 2,500 full-time equivalent jobs.

 

  • These jobs and related audience expenditures return $3.3 million in local tax revenue and an additional $4.1 million in state tax revenue.

 

  • There are 5,834 creative industry businesses in Iowa — which include everything from art museums to graphic art studios — with more than 22,000 employees.


Pappajohn mentions two Des Moines-based corporations that have directly profited from partnering with the arts–The Principal Financial Group, whose art-filled campus helps recruit and retain employees, and EMC Insurance Companies, who runs a visual arts competition for current and former Iowa residents. You can read more about how by partnering with the arts, these companies were able to recruit and retain talent in Iowa in the first essay in our pARTnership Movement Essay series, "Recruit and Retain Talent."

 

Thanks to the arts, Des Moines’ population is growing, unemployment rates are falling, and the number of young people engaged in civic life is increasing. A strong arts scene and a culturally vibrant community is a significant economic driver that shouldn’t be overlooked by businesses or its elected leaders.


Americans for the Arts will reinforce these messages this week at Des Moines’ Iowa Arts Advocacy Caucus. The statewide training event will educate arts advocates and messengers at the Iowa Presidential Caucuses, as well as invite presidential candidates to speak on their arts policy position. More information is here, as well as a press release on the caucus here. Twitter users can follow the event via #ArtsVote2016.

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