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Biotech Bands Battle it out in Boston

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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On Wednesday, May 20, 2015, the third annual Battle of the Biotech Bands, hosted by the Arts & Business Council of Boston, took place at Boston’s Royale Nightclub. Described as a fun, community-driven, networking event, Battle of the Biotech Bands features bands associated with Boston-based biotech companies. The bands compete to raise money for a charitable foundation of their choosing. According to the event's website, Battle of the Biotech Bands is “an amazing opportunity for biotech companies and innovators throughout Boston to rock out and partner with architecture, design, and building professionals.”

 

AURAL GAVAGE (Momenta Pharmaceuticals), who played on behalf of The Jolane Solomon Research Fund at Boston College, took home the gold. MOLECULAR GROOVE (PerkinElmer), who played on behalf of The American Cancer Society, and the ZAC MAC BAND (Ironwood Pharmaceuticals), who played on behalf of The Boys & Girls Club of Middlesex County also competed. Merrimack Pharmaceutical's BAD IDEA, the 2014 winner, opened the night.

 

“The Battle of the Biotech Bands is truly a unique event that brings together individuals from across the building and life science spectrum – a networking opportunity that doesn’t feel like you’re networking,” said Carly Bassett, Co-Chair, Battle of the Biotech Bands. “It’s about the music, charitable organizations, and connecting gifted innovators in the biotech industry with the teams of people that help make their organizations possible. Already in our third year, the industry response has grown exponentially. Our hope is to continue this annual tradition for many years to come.”

 

The event was sponsored by a variety of businesses, including Merrill Datasite, a virtual data storage company; Biobridges, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology consulting company; and Choate, a law firm.

 

"Having the opportunity to sponsor the Battle of the Biotech Bands is personally and professionally gratifying," said Jason Falchuk, BioBridges' Managing Partner. "Our life sciences community is made up of brilliant, inspiring people working together to develop breakthrough therapies. Music also unites, inspires, and heals. If I had to choose only one event that captures the pulse of our exceptional community, this is it."

 

Visit the Battle of the Biotech Bands website for more.

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Eastern Salt Company's Shelagh Mahoney Joins BCA Executive Board

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the appointment of Shelagh Mahoney, CEO and owner of Eastern Salt Company, Inc., Eastern Minerals Inc., and Atlantic Salt, Inc., to its Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) Executive Board.

 

The BCA, a division of Americans for the Arts, works to ensure that the arts flourish in America by encouraging, inspiring, and stimulating businesses to support the arts in the workplace, in education, and in the community. The BCA Executive Board is comprised of business leaders who provide leadership and expertise on key BCA initiatives including messaging, advocacy, and strategic alliances.

 

Mahoney’s company Atlantic Salt, Inc. was selected as a BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree in 2013 for their sponsorship of the annual LUMEN festival on Staten Island, which features video and performance art by emerging artists and more established artists at the forefront of their media.

 

Read the full press release here.

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Dentist Uses Art to Make an Impression

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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What insight does a dentist have to offer on the importance of the arts? Plenty, it turns out.

 

Recently, Dr. Neal Fleisher, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of General Dentistry and Director of Pre-doctoral Periodontology at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM), gave a talk at the launch of The Arts Factor 2014 Report by ArtsBoston. The Report gives insight into the ways that the arts are growing and strengthening Boston's economy and building a vibrant community in which people want to live and work.

 

Dr. Fleisher first became interested about the potential benefits of art appreciation for dental students three years ago, when he read about a program at Yale Medical School that brought medical students to the University’s museums. As a means to improve patient care, he and his colleagues created a program at GSDM that teaches dental students art appreciation skills. The course, which is taught as part of each first year DMD student's required training, gives students the opportunity to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to examine and discuss works of art through a new learning system known as Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). The purpose of VTS is to utilize the arts in allowing students to cultivate their own ideas and appreciating the perspectives of their peers.

 

Dr. Fleischer explained to his audience that art is of great benefit to those in the dental profession because few dentists "are naturally gifted at looking at a patient or at a set of X-rays and figuring out what they are telling us about a patient—which is, of course, the critical component in the practice of medicine and dentistry. To properly diagnose our patients, dentists need to be able to explore all possible sources of the problem, to critically analyze all the symptoms and findings. In many cases, we’ll involve colleagues in the process, we’ll communicate with each other, making critical observations and discussing them in a detailed and succinct manner. It’s not always easy to teach these skills in a traditional classroom and it seems that utilizing this VTS technique works very well at opening this door for our students.”

 

Dr. Fleischer recognizes that engaging in the arts stimulates critical thinking and helps to reframe and solve problems in new ways. Learn more about the VTS program at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

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BayCoast Bank Supports Local Artists in Corporate Collection

Posted by Linda Murphy
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BayCoast Bank Supports Local Artists in Corporate Collection
(Ann Ramos Desrosier and Christina Leigh stand next to a Ron Lister painting in BayCoast Bank's conference room, photo courtesy of The Herald News.)
 
When one thinks of a bank, it’s not likely the next thought would be artwork, but that’s not the case for several local artists, whose work adorns the walls of BayCoast Bank’s corporate offices, conference room, and branch lobbies.
 
Supporting local artists with an expansive corporate art collection was the brainchild of BayCoast Bank President and CEO Nicholas M. Christ, said Ann M. Ramos Desrosier, senior vice president, chief community banking officer.
 
Ramos Desrosier, who was put in charge of procuring the artwork, worked with Christina Leigh, an art consultant with East Greenwich, R.I.-based Corporate Art Group, Inc.
 
When the bank moved to its new corporate headquarters on Swansea Mall Drive in 2012, Ramos Desrosier said they had a lot of bare walls in the three-story building. “BayCoast is very focused on supporting the communities that we serve, so we felt it was only right to support the artists who live in those communities,” she said.
 
With that goal in mind, the two women set upon a nearly year-long project of meeting with local artists and narrowing down the field in search of artwork focusing on local landscapes. They selected four well-known area artists: Tony Henriques, Chuck Boucher, Ron Lister and John Eddy.
 
“We wanted to be able to showcase the kind of artwork that you wouldn’t typically find in a bank,” said Ramos Desrosier.
 
Initially they purchased about 35 pieces from the four artists, which were installed in various places in the building including the conference room, halls, and in each of the offices.
 
Ramos Desrosier, who inherited a painting she “hated” in her former office, made sure that the BayCoast employees had the opportunity to select a piece of artwork for their office from the 35 or so initial pieces.
 
Some of the pieces are original paintings, such as the landscapes by Ron Lister in the conference room, and others are prints on canvas of original pieces, said Leigh. And rather than the unfamiliar scenes and non-descript artwork one expects to find in offices, the collection at the BayCoast Bank features scenes that are well known to those who live or work in Greater Fall River including the Braga Bridge, Mount Hope Bay, and the Swansea dam.
 
The value of the collection, they said, isn’t in its monetary worth, but with the fact that it supports the local arts community.
 
Since the original pieces, they have procured even more artwork from more local artists including Sarah Desjardins, Arthur Moniz and Molly Pettengill.
 

“The employees definitely appreciate being able to pick out the art in their offices,” said Ramos Desrosiers, “and in the areas that are open to customers, they do comment on the local artists, so it gives them some recognition, too.”

 

(This article was originally posted at The Herald News.)

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Support Local: Finding the Dramatist Beneath the Suit

Posted by Kara Robbins
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I work in Newton, a moderately affluent suburb outside of Boston. Newton is blessed with a community of smart, talented, hard-working, and well-rounded individuals and families. Essentially, it’s the target audience for the arts—except these folks are busy!

 

When the Newton Cultural Alliance (NCA), an umbrella organization for participating arts and culture nonprofits, incorporated in 2009, Newton had 2 orchestras, 2 large music schools, 4 choruses, 3 visual arts organizations, 2 community theaters, 2 high school theaters, 1 nationally recognized ballet school, a museum, 3 colleges, and more.

 

On the business side, while Newton is one city, it is divided into 13 villages so there is no distinct city center, but rather many village centers. In theory, this is a very endearing idea but in practice, it is somewhat divisive and, until some recent efforts, no merchant association has succeeded in uniting the businesses or the community.

 

That being said, our local businesses are extremely supportive of area nonprofits and are always willing to donate to auctions, hang flyers, and participate in special events. In and of itself, this is a very helpful stance but it doesn’t build long-lasting or thriving relationships that will truly make a change in the community. That’s where NCA has picked up the ball. 

 

We’re not reinventing the wheel, but we are doing our very best to engage in mutually beneficial programs. One major goal is to create and host high-quality, fun events that increase the awareness of local dining, shopping and arts. To do this, we’re working with business owners on an individual level, the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Newton on specialized projects. Some of our current arts and business programs include:

 

1. Culture ‘n Cuisine: a discounted dining program for NCA members’ audiences. Local restaurants offer diners a 10% discount and receive free, expanded marketing in return. Our audiences feel well taken care of and discover new dining destinations!

 

2. Arts Stroll & Shop: This annual holiday event encourages Newton residents to “Shop Local. Eat Local. Art Local.” The 2013 Stroll included participation by 40 local businesses and 150+ artists and musicians! Attendees are able to stroll through the village center and take advantage of the diverse shopping and dining while being entertained by performing and visual arts. Empty storefronts are turned into temporary art galleries, young musicians play in their favorite shops, and it all culminates with a collaborative holiday performance.

 

Shoppers enjoyed live music at National Jean Company during the Arts Stroll & Shop.

Shoppers enjoyed live music at National Jean Company during the Arts Stroll & Shop.

 

3. Chamber of Commerce Events: With the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce, NCA hosted its first arts and business gathering in Fall 2012. What began as a networking opportunity has turned into a developed relationship, where NCA is invited to attend Chamber committees and the Young Professionals Group is even hosting an event to benefit NCA.

 

When our focus changed from “how will blank project affect the arts?” to “how will blank project develop our local economy and community?” the opportunities for partnerships were many. It is extremely satisfying to be viewed as a business partner amongst our for-profit friends and rewarding to take on a leadership role in the nonprofit community.

There is still a long way to go before we achieve our goals but at this point the hardest part is slowing down to refine our current projects while turning down others. We want to do it all!

 

Starting these partnerships is all about who you know—it’s all about building relationships! Become friends with your local merchants! If you walk by the same set of shops every day, pop in when you’re not asking to hang a flyer or for an auction item. Learn who is new in town and get in there and introduce yourself.

Remember, we’re in the arts partly because it is so much fun and, undoubtedly, everyone has a story they’d love to share about playing the recorder in elementary school or how they’d really love to sink their hands into some clay. Find the dramatist beneath the suit and connections will bloom!

 

(This post is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage.)

 

*This article was originally posted on ARTSblog.

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Local Business Woman Makes Dreams Come True

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Debbie Blais, founder, owner and operator of Debbie Blais Real Estate and Blais Builders, is giving the gift of the arts to a few lucky students.  Inspired by one of her favorite Henry David Thoreau quotes, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined,” she has created The Dream Scholarship, offering local arts students $1,000 annually in scholarship funds. 

 

After visiting the Burt Wood School of the Performing Arts for a craft fair, Blais reached out to school owner Lorna Brunelle, pledging $1,000 in scholarship funds to help children experience the joy of the arts.  Brunelle accepted letters of interest from families in the Middleboro area who felt that their artistic dreams had been halted due to lack of access to arts funding.  Two local children were hand selected for the 2013 award—Alannah Henault of Berkley, Mass. and Emily Travers of Taunton, Mass.  Both students used their scholarship winnings to support a class at The Burt Wood School inspired by the hit television show Glee.    

 

Blais, a Middleboro, Mass. mogul, maintains a successful empire in real estate, development and construction.  A lifelong resident of Middleboro and a business woman for over 25 years, Ms. Blais has been active in many community projects and events.  As a local business leader, she continues to play an important role in the artistic evolution and education of today’s youth. 

 

“The Debbie Blais Dream Scholarship is earmarked for students, who because of financial limitations, would not be able to attend,” states Blais.  “I believe in pursuing your dream, regardless of the obstacles; in this case it is money to pay for the courses. As a business woman, I believe that art has a profound effect on the quality of our lives; how we view and interact in the world around us.”

 

For more information on The Dream Scholarship, visit www.debbieblais.com.

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