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What's so important about creativity?

Posted by Emily Peck
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What's so important about creativity?

We might work in the arts field, but our day-to-day work looks like any other business. We stare at Excel charts, spend hours on conference calls, write reports, and try to find the bottom of our never-ending email inboxes. Like every other industry, our work only succeeds if we are creative and innovative, if we try new things and look at old problems in new ways. As arts administrators, we are well versed in the role the arts can play in bringing creativity to the workforce—but we don’t always put this into practice.

However, this summer, we reminded ourselves of the importance of the arts and creativity to our daily work. Our inaugural Johnson Fellow, artist Tanya Aguiñiga, led Americans for the Arts’ New York office through a collaborative felting project. As a group, we explored the creative person that is inside of all of us and doesn’t always get a chance to escape at work. We had the opportunity to collaborate on a design process and experiment with new ideas and techniques. The project took us out of our usual way of working and collaborating, and it made us think about things in new ways. And, in the end, we created a piece of art that represented each of us individually and as a group.

 

No matter what industry you work in, Americans are seeing the value of creativity in their jobs. From our recent public opinion poll, Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018, 55% of employed Americans agree that their job requires them to be creative. And an even larger percentage, 60%, believe that the more creative and innovative they are at their job, the more successful they are in the workplace.

 

And how are they finding their inner creative spark? For many businesses, the answer lies in partnering with the arts. Our recently released Business Contributions to the Arts 2018 Survey, conducted in partnership with The Conference Board, asked business leaders if the arts contribute to stimulating creative thinking and problem solving—and 53% of them agreed that it does.

 

These trends align with the report Ready to Innovate, conducted ten years ago by The Conference Board, that explored the role of the arts in building creativity in the workforce. The report, aimed at business leaders, concludes, “The arts—music, creative writing, drawing, dance—provide skills sought by employers of the third millennium.”

When asked about their current challenges, CEOs interviewed by The Conference Board talked about the importance of creativity and innovation. Less than 10% are extremely satisfied with their organization’s ability to innovate. These CEOs also said that as part of their long-term vision, the want to emphasize creativity and innovation as a part of their corporate values.

 

That might sound a little grim—but there are great examples across the country of businesses engaging with artists and arts organizations to bring creativity into their workplace.

 

At Milliken, employees are surrounded by art throughout their campus and in their day-to-day work. They even integrate art into their training sessions and encourage artistic endeavors through an employee band. CEO Joe Salley reports, “Innovation, art, and design are the heart of our corporation, and are inherent in our training. The arts open our minds to the seemingly impossible and help us think with fresh perspectives, which is what our nearly 7,000 associates worldwide do every day to bring the Milliken spirit of innovation to life.”

 

Hallmark’s #my5days program offers five work days per year for creative employees to renew, explore, learn, and think differently about the world and work around them by participating in their creative pursuits. According to CEO Don Hall, “As a creatively based company, Hallmark sees the arts as a source of renewal and inspiration for our employees and our business.”

 

Like our own experience, like that of Hallmark and Milliken, businesses and their employees are valuing creativity and innovation more and more as an integral part of their work experience to inspire new ideas and new ways of working that impact the bottom line. We want to provide the data and best practices to inspire even more businesses to engage with the arts.

 

Photo: Staff in the New York office making art with Tanya Aguiñiga

 

This blog originally appeared on ArtsBlog

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Samsung’s Summer Speaker Series and the Pipeline to the Workforce

Posted by Melyssa Muro
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While it is no secret that internship experiences are invaluable to college students or anyone joining the workforce, Samsung recently curated an event for students in NYC to be in conversation with some of the city’s industry leaders. From late July to the end of August, students gathered once a week at Samsung 837 for this Mini-Internship to hear the life stories and lessons from top names in media, music, film, sports, and more. In addition to Samsung executives, featured speakers included Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee and Iron Chef David Burke. The series also included representatives from prominent local organizations, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. Students were further exposed to these industry pioneers through an open forum, where they participated with questions and free discussion with the star-studded guest list.

 

The program is ongoing with the support of Meatpacking Business Improvement District, and is part of Samsung’s continued commitment to advancing students—particularly amid the summer months. Andrew Bowins, vice president of Samsung Electronics America’s Corporate Reputation, has expressed interest in creating a pipeline for the future, stating that for young professionals, “Access to role models who could become mentors can be a critical step into the workforce.” Samsung has further shown its dedication to education and professional development through their Hope for Children initiative (ongoing for over a decade), as well as partnerships between the Corporate Citizenship team and many educational programs focused on helping students hone skills necessary to join the workforce.

 

In this way, Samsung truly upholds the standard of how a company should contribute to the economy and in doing so, improve the quality of life not just for the immediate community, but for generations to come.

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Programs by Design

Posted by Kate Reese
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Programs by Design

Here at the pARTnership Movement, we talk a lot about how experience in the arts fosters creativity, problem solving skills, and strategic thinking. In Philadelphia, an industrial designer-turned-executive is living this truth, as covered in a recent article on Philly.com.

 

Karin Copeland says her attention to product design fostered her aptitude for program design in her current role as Executive Director at the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC). When she first started the job, she noticed a handful of improvement areas and set to work sculpting programs the same way one might sculpt clay.

 

When she arrived at the organization, its reputation hinged largely on an annual luncheon that gathers more than 1400 each year. While the event drew crowds, Copeland saw an opportunity for expansion and “wanted ABC to be recognized as a source of valuable programs of mutual benefit to the business and arts communities.”

 

Since then, Copeland has tripled participation in existing programs such as Business on Board, which educates professionals about good nonprofit arts board behavior like fundraising. The Kennet Symphony orchestra is one example of success – it’s gained two engaged board members through participation in the program.

 

Among the new programs Copeland’s vision has brought to fruition is a speaker series that routinely sells out; notable professionals such as Malcolm Gladwell and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg rank among past speakers.

 

ABC has also launched a program called Designing Leadership, which partners with IBM and The Wharton School of Business to provide executive development for arts, culture, and creatives sectors.

 

Through these new strategic initiatives, the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia has expanded reach and demonstrated the ultimate value arts can have for business community. At the helm, Karin Copeland is perfect example of how exposure to the arts enables entrepreneurs to envision change, take a leap and bring lofty ideas to fruition.

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DollarDays International CEO on the Value of Arts Education

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DollarDays International CEO on the Value of Arts Education

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Read Marc Joseph’s blog on arts education.

 

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

 

Explore Americans for the Arts’ arts education resources.

 

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


 

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