Arts and business news from around the country.


What Do El Dorado, Tulsa, Oak Park, and San Carlos All Have in Common?

Posted by Mariama Holman
What Do El Dorado, Tulsa, Oak Park, and San Carlos All Have in Common?

They understand that the arts contribute to the economy and quality of life


Small towns across America are realizing the potential of the arts to reenergize economies, rebrand districts, and revitalize neighborhood infrastructure. El Dorado, Tulsa, Oak Park and San Carlos realize that the arts area business, and investing in their success spurs the local economy. Take a look at a few of the many arts and business partnerships initiated across the country, below.


El Dorado, AR

$100 Million designated for entertainment district spurring job creation and tourism 


Downtown El Dorado suffered from zero to fifteen percent occupancy rates in certain blocks following the oil bust of the 1970’s. Scaling downtown development will turn community blight into benefit.


El Dorado Festivals & Events (501-c3) is investing in the Murphy Arts District, a year-round entertainment district in downtown El Dorado. Plans for the area feature a musical hall, amphitheater, restaurant and a children’s play area. El Dorado Festivals & Events also seeks to spend $32 million to renovate a 1920’s Rialto Theater, which will be reopened to include an art gallery, exhibition hall and artist-in-residence quarters. The grand opening is set for September of 2017.


Tulsa, OK

$30 Million creating new mixed-use retail space for the creative economy


Since the 1920’s the 72,000 square foot Archer Building has had a home within downtown Tulsa. The now abandoned building and its unique architectural elements are getting a face lift due to a grant from the George Kaiser Family Foundation. The Archer Building will turn into 35 artists’ studios, 14 apartments and retail space for 10 restaurants and retail businesses. Magic City Books, a book store with special rooms designated for community gatherings and clubs, will help anchor the ground floor.  


Jeff Morton, President of the Board of Directors for the Brady Arts District Business Association states that the development is to breathe new life into the area, “our magic time is not over; it is right now and what is in the future.”


Oak Park, IL

$50,000 set-aside for assisting local arts and business owners    


The Oak Park Arts District Business Association is investing time and resources in collaborating with creative workers and artists to further distinguish the neighborhood from surrounding Chicago suburbs.


Oak Park Arts District visitors criticize the lack of visible art within the community. “Friends love the bars and the idea of restaurants coming on Harrison and Lombard…It’s all very cool, but the arts do seem to be lagging,” according to Oak Park Arts and Business Association Trustee, Bob Tucker.


The association plans on focusing its resources towards facilitating the efforts of local artists and businesses that contribute to creating a more artistically vibrant and attractive neighborhood.  


San Carlos, CA

Chamber of Commerce hosts industrial arts show for increasing foot traffic


The San Carlos Industrial Arts District is currently known as the home of several home and building supply businesses, but the area is changing to be more consumer facing.

Zoning laws are now allowing food and beverage establishments, such as Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company and the Domenico Winery, to open. Local businesses are excited about anything they can do to improve the area for pedestrians. They desire to transform the neighborhood from a drive-through zone to a destination.


As a result, the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce is working with local business owners to put on an Industrial Arts Car Show geared towards attracting the district’s industrial design enthusiasts along with arts, food, and wine lovers.


Photo: Downtown Tulsa, OK


Investing in Curiosity and Exploration

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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


Valuable and Unique Essays on Business and Arts pARTnerships

Posted by Jessica Gaines



All across the country, today’s most innovative businesses are using the arts to help them meet some of their most difficult and vital objectives. Americans for the Arts is proud to announce the complete pARTnership Movement essay series. These eight essays, with case studies that profile successful business-arts relationships, illustrate one of the 8 reasons businesses partner with the arts and are available here on The pARTnership Movement website. Click on a thumbnail above to download each essay.


Recruit and Retain Talent

Make your community – and your company – more attractive to current and future employees by partnering with arts organizations to create a vibrant cultural scene.


Put Your Company in the Spotlight

Build your market share, enhance your brand, and reach new customers by partnering with the arts to put your business in the spotlight.


Advance Corporate Objectives & Strategies

Use the arts to communicate important messages to customers, employees, and other stakeholders.


Foster Critical Thinking

Help employees stimulate the critical thinking needed to advance business goals by partnering with the arts.


Engage Your Employees

Use arts partnerships to inspire and engage employees so that they are able to achieve their full potential.


Embrace Diversity & Team Building

Facilitate the creation of a strong corporate culture that fosters creativity while providing opportunities for employees to strengthen interdepartmental relationships, exchange ideas and broaden their networks.


Say Thanks

Inspire your employees by providing access to arts experiences that show your appreciation for their contributions.


Contribute to the Economy & Quality of Life

The arts create jobs, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, generate tourism revenue, and foster an environment that appeals to a skilled and educated workforce. By partnering with arts organizations, you can strengthen the health and vitality of our neighborhoods, cities, states, and nation.



For more information or to share your arts and business partnerships with Americans for the Arts pARTnership Movement, contact BCA Coordinator Jessica Gaines at  


Creative America – the $704 Billion Arts and Culture Economy

Posted by Jessica Gaines

Taken from the Huffington Post article “Goals Worth Fighting For,” by Americans for the Arts CEO Robert L. Lynch, below are eight goals that could strengthen our country through the arts. Great reminders to the business community and leaders everywhere as the status of federal funding for the arts is called into question.


1. Every person in the United States deserves to have access to the broad range of arts in his or her life. The way to do that is increase federal funding for the arts to $1 per capita for a more creative America;


2. Every child in the United States deserves to have access to every art form, grades K-12. The way to do that is fully fund and implement the Well-Rounded Education provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act to close gaps in access to arts education for all students;


3. Our country needs to be competitive and the arts provide a great opportunity for economic development, including tourism and support for small arts businesses run by entrepreneurs. One way to get there is by establishing a cabinet-level position to advise President Trump on the $704 billion arts and culture economy;


4. The creation of millions of jobs would be helped by boosting economic and community development programs, like those proposed in Senator Tom Udall’s CREATE Act, which promote the role of the arts in serving the American public through federal agencies such as the Small Business Administration, Rural Development Administration, FEMA disaster recovery centers—to name just a few. The job numbers speak loudly: the nation’s arts and culture sector employed 4.7 million wage and salary workers in 2013, with a total compensation of $339 billion;


5. Our military service members and veterans deserve to be fully supported during and after valiantly serving our country. Two ways to do that are to support the arts as they are integrated into health and wellness programs, which has shown much success in the past, and to increase access to arts therapists and artist-directed programs to help provide a pathway for re-entry and re-integration of our service members and veterans into the workforce. The NEA’s Creative Forces program is a shining example of this work;


6. Preserve or expand charitable tax deduction incentives;


7. Support creative youth development by strengthening community-based organizations working in youth development and the arts; and


8. Promote cultural exchange programs that advance diplomatic objectives and cultural cooperation through the exchange of art and other aspects of culture among nations.


As business leaders continue to share why they value the arts, the arts' impact to and improvement of society remains notably strong.  Additional resources and information about supporting and advocating for the arts are here.


Photo: Courtesy of Milliken & Company 2014 BCA 10 Award winnerFountain by Krisel. Sculpture located at the Roger Milliken Center.

Sheila Pree Bright’s Young American series from The Amistad Center for Art & Culture. A program made possible by 2011 BCA 10 and 2016 BCA Hall of Fame Award winner Aetna Inc.

Courtesy of Corning Incorporated 2015 BCA 10 Award winner. Dancers at 171 Cedar Arts Center, a multi-arts center supported by Corning Incorporated Foundation.



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