Arts and business news from around the country.


Listen Up, Drink Up

Posted by Danielle Iwata
Listen Up, Drink Up

2016 BCA 10 Winner Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (DE) has an impressive history of supporting and collaborating with the music industry. As part of their Off-Centered Art Series, Dogfish Head Brewery creates seasonal beers. In honor of Record Store Day on April 21 – of which they are the Official Beer— they have partnered with The Flaming Lips. In what might be their most integrated effort yet, the band was involved with the creation of the beer Dragons and Yum Yums; and in return, the Flaming Lips’ newest release includes two songs “The Story of Yum Yum and Dragon” and “Pouring Beer in Your Ear” that are inspired by the beer. The bottle features a design by artist Marq Spusta, which will also be adapted for Record Store Day posters, shirts, and other items.  


Dogfish Head is one of many breweries partnering with the music industry. Forbes recently highlighted the collaboration between Waterbury Symphony Orchestra and Litchfield Distillery, and the Erie (Pennsylvania) Philharmonic and Mazza Vineyards. In both cases, the Orchestra and Philharmonic are using the pairings to promote a younger demographic. From Ohio to Oregon and Main to North Carolina, breweries and wineries are working in tandem with music organizations and festivals.


Whether it’s sipping wine at an orchestra intermission, or drinking a cold one at a music festival, it seems that drinks and music have always gone together. It’s exciting to hear that so many organizations are taking advantage of this natural relationship and we hope to see more in the future. Bottom’s up!


Photo credit: Paul Bunyon design by artist Marq Spusta


Why Does Your Business Value the Arts?

Posted by Jessica Gaines

In their acceptance speeches at the 2016 BCA 10 Awards, twelve industry leaders spoke about what being honored at the 2016 BCA 10 means to them and why they encourage and seek out opportunities to bring the arts into their worlds.

See the full event recap and view the BCA 10 program book to learn more about this year’s best businesses partnering with the arts. Know a company that partners with the arts? Nominations for the 2017 BCA 10 Awards are open through January 13, 2017.


1. Let’s Start Easy—With an Arts Business

[Describing a Mayor’s address to a group of teachers and students] And he told these kids, I think he managed to look every single one of them in the eye, he said, “You do what you wanna do, and you apply it the way you want to apply it, and take risks. Do art, do drama, do music, do what you’re doing here.” And it’s moments like that, seeing these kids and the teachers, that make me really appreciate the luck I have to be involved in a business that gets to provide, in a large measure, that creativity.

–Robert Buchsbaum, CEO at Blick Art Materials

Watch the full speech here.

Photo courtesy Blick Art Materials.

2. A Health Care Leader

When a chairman hires a Chief Mindfulness Officer and he allows his employees to meditate and to be mindful, he is art. When an IT executive plays a mean jazz saxophone, he too is art. When a community relations director forms a Latin band and sings in the nightclubs of NYC, he is art. And when a multicultural marketer shares marketing tips to a philanthropist—a corporate philanthropist at Aetna sharing marketing tips through The Grateful Dead—they too, are art. When a company has 16 different colors in its logo, that company is art. And we believe that everyone in this room is art. And when art and the folks in this room come together, we spark innovation; we inspire youth. We celebrate and heal communities. We stimulate economies. We sustain this great nation.

–Floyd Green, Vice President, Community Relations and Urban Marketing at Aetna, Inc.

Watch the full speech here.

Photo: Rana Faure


3. From the Utility Company

The focal point for Austin Energy is transformational power, which makes sense. As an electric utility, we deal with transformers and power each and every day, but there’s also a transformational power in art to bring people together: to create bridges of knowledge and understanding, to explore new ideas, to drive change.

–Allen Small, Distribution Director at Austin Energy




Photo courtesy Austin Energy


4. From the Water Meter Folks

At Badger Meter, my best engineers are all musicians. There’s some connection—I don’t know it because I’m a philistine—but there’s some connection between art, between music and engineering. I don’t understand it, but they know it and they’re all musicians. My best salespeople were on a stage at one time in their lives. My best marketing people were involved in the visual arts. And it’s those skills that you can’t just teach in a classroom. Somehow those were developed through their education.

–Richard Meeusen, Chairman, President, and CEO at Badger Meter

Watch the full speech here.

Photo: Rana Faure

5. From the Insurance People

In four months, I’ve met with every one of the 320 employees and the number one thing that they talk about is the arts, giving back, and community. … I think it’s the ability for all of us in our lives to be able to give back. To be able to do the things that are special and unique in our lives.

–Marc Schmittlein, President and CEO at CopperPoint Insurance Companies

Photo courtesy CopperPoint Insurance Companies


6. The Automotive Marketing Expert

I feel like we are receiving an Oscar for this [award] and it is really a true honor. These are the artists that have worked really hard to make all of these projects happen in Burlington, Vermont, and so more than anything I want to say ‘cheers’ to them and thank you to Americans for the Arts and BCA 10 for recognizing the rapport of business, art, and community coming together. So we have Scott, Mary, Michael, Kate. and Abby. These are the artists. Short and sweet.

–Jill Badolato, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at

Photo: Rana Faure


7. From the Beer Brewers

I really have a great job because our slogan at Dogfish Head is “off-centered ales for off-center people.” We have about 300 co-workers, the majority of them in Delaware, and a small salesforce around the country. We have all kinds of folks that are artists themselves. We have a magician’s assistant, a death metal guitarist, jazz musicians, graphic artists, illustrators, all kinds of folks. And our philosophy is that it’s really necessary to give back to the community and that’s what Beer and Benevolence is all about. Be it the environment, be it the community in general—but the arts especially.

–Mark Carter, Beer & Benevolence Coordinator at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Photo courtesy Dogflish Head Craft Brewery


8. Lawyers, Too!

We basically said, “We work with the most creative, innovative, crazy people around the world, you know, creatives always are. And why don’t we do that in Oklahoma City as well, and bring everybody into our office, make that community, that place-making kind of place.” And what we have seen really is that the engagement of our employees, of our staff, of our directors, in the arts has increased 200-300%. But one of the most amazing things for us is the karma—whatever you want to call it—the karma, good will, love that we’ve seen through this community, of this web of people that we put together.

–Douglas Sorocco, Director at Dunlap Codding

Photo courtesy Dunlap Codding


9. The One Known for Making Almost Everything

I’ll never forget my first day when I made it to manager and got an office; you got to tour the corporate art grouping and actually go in and pick out your own art. And so what did you feel? You felt that sense of passion and to be able to go in and say I resonate with that picture, that’s gonna bring out the best of me. And what a privilege to be able to work with a company like that.

–Susan Podlogar, Global Vice President Human Resources at Johnson & Johnson

Photo courtesy Johnson & Johnson


10. A Change Management Consulting Firm

Service, volunteerism, and sponsorship are important to our management team, our consultants, and our identity as a company. Supporting the arts had proven to have both personal and professional benefits for our employees and provided us an interesting and refreshing connection within our community.

–Kat McDonald, Community Engagement Manager at M Powered Strategies

Photo: Rana Faure


11. Even a Wealth Management Business

I would also like to extend a special thank you to the Americans for the Arts organization. Like us, you recognize that the arts are a transformative vehicle in our society and that cultivating the arts is not only important, but necessary to a world that seems to be moving away from creativity.

–Dave Blowers, Executive Vice President at Northern Trust

Photo courtesy Northern Trust


12. Don’t Forget About P&G!

Procter & Gamble has a long history of supporting the arts and we are blessed to live in a community where the arts have provided such amazing experiences for our employees, for our families, for new talents to come into our region and really be transformed by the arts.

–Phil Duncan, Global Design Officer at Procter & Gamble

Photo courtesy Procter & Gamble




Arts & Business Partnerships in Delaware

Posted by Stacy Lasner

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.


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