Arts and business news from around the country.


2011 BCA 10 winner, 3M, Honors Artistry and Innovation with 3M Art and Technology Award

Posted by Mariama Holman
2011 BCA 10 winner, 3M, Honors Artistry and Innovation with 3M Art and Technology Award

In 2015 3M partnered with the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) to recognize creative thinking, imagination and innovation in the field of technology with the 3M Art and Technology Award, which offers winners a $25,000 prize and additional $25,000 in development support, connections to industry expertise and resources. Winners have the opportunity to work with MIA staff and companies involved in the judging to implement their ideas and engage museum audiences with concepts that improve their arts experience.


Entrees are judged based on their level of engagement with the user experience, meaningful connection to the community, accessibility for many audiences (especially the historically under-served), opportunities to expand beyond museum walls and feasibility.


89 contestants entered the 2016 competition from all across the United States. The winners, Molly Reichert and Ben Arcand from the Twin Cities, won the competition with an invention under the title of “Divining Rods” – a technology-based reimagining of the ancient tools used to find tangible resources of historical value, such as precious gems and fresh water.


Divining Rods is geared towards guiding visitors to discovering new artworks in the Minneapolis Institute of Art based on their responses to other artworks, functioning almost like a miniature curator.


The runner up, Katherine Stalker, created the Art Conversation Starters app, which connects museum visitors with art work while they get to know one another.


3M strives to promote creative expression and artistic cultural diversity by supporting arts organizations that enrich society through educational and community outreach.


With 3M’s support, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts presented an unprecedented exhibit that displayed 60 exceptional pieces from the Louvre’s collection in Paris, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Vermeer. The MIA’s educational outreach provided teacher workshops, online resources, free guided tours for 7,000 K–12 students, and Parent Ambassador Training Program, reaching 6,300 additional students.


3M has been a strong supporter of other museums as well, in 2010 donating $1.1 million in cash, products, and grants to institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, SC, and the Museum of African Art.

Outside of the museum sector, a 3M Foundation capital grant helped create the City of Columbia's Center for the Arts in Missouri, an artistic hub of local and national performing arts groups, visual artists, and a new generation of audiences. The primary home of the Missouri Symphony, the new center includes the Youth Orchestra, Children's Choir, and the Columbia Art League, offering group classes in all aspects of visual arts for young and old alike.

3M also supported History Theatre in St. Paul, MN, one of the few organizations in the country that develops and produces original plays on its main stage. The education program helps students connect the history they learn about in the classroom to the plays they see at History Theatre that bring history to life. The theater provides study guides, lesson plans, and group activities for students, encouraging them to explore and understand history.


Photo: Prototypes of Molly Reichert and Ben Arcand’s award winning concept, “Divining Rods” for the 2016 3M Art and Technology Award.


Building Up, Building Art

Posted by Jessica Gaines
Building Up, Building Art

Many real estate developers have come to see the value in including art in buildings and spaces. Opportunities to bring not only art concepts but also artists into the early stages of projects can lead to developments that are brilliantly unique and inclusive. These developments support great design, inspirational concepts, and more importantly, local community.


In recent years, with real estate development planning, there’s been a strong lean towards artist residencies, community listening sessions, and ideas to turn neglected properties into town centers. With increased access to and desire for art among residents, real estate developers have become more tuned into the benefit of these partnerships. In Creative Exchange’s “Lessons from RARE: Engaging Artists in Real Estate Development”, several points are offered about these artist-development relationships:


  • Give artists the freedom to create open-ended work
  • Provide practical support for creative engagement
  • Allow for chance encounters and unexpected shifts


When incorporating the points above, sometimes having a third party or “translator” involved in the process comes out as a win. In Orlando, the Novare Group partnered with curatorial team, Dashboard, to produce 1,400 cubic feet of vibrant color at their luxury high-rise apartment community, SkyHouse Orlando. The eye-catching artwork,  designed by The Young Never Sleep, showcases some of Central Florida’s most exotic and native plant life in exaggerated colors for a striking and education street-scape experience.


In addition to the points above, the potential of new artist-developer driven projects is a chance for blossoming and building a legacy. In Miami Jorge Pérez, 2015 BCA 10 Leadership Award winner and chairman of The Related Group, has built a legacy and continues to transform Miami into an international tourist and cultural destination with beautiful and inspiring developments. The Related Group’s mixed-use building, the SLS Brickell showcases a ”drip painting” style mural on its eight-story parking garage that gives artist Markus Linnenbrink 40,000 square foot of surface to cover. 


Investment in brilliant collaborations will continue to build brilliant, vibrant communities where art and business are both victorious.



Photo credit: Paper Gardens,


Minnesota Artists Featured in New Football Stadium Construction

Posted by Kate Reese

A football stadium may not strike you as the most obvious setting for a multi-sector initiative promoting the arts, but U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Minnesota Vikings play, will soon become home to more than five hundred works of contemporary art. The initiative began when the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) and the Minnesota Vikings partnered with Sports and The Arts (SATA) to develop a robust art-collection that could “connect Minnesotans with the stadium project […] and showcase Minnesota artists,” says MSFA chair Michele Kelm-Helgen.


The project recently announced the names of 34 local artists who have been commissioned to contribute to the collection, which will eventually boast 500 pieces of art. The artistic talent ranges from professionals whose work has been displayed at The Getty to art students at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.


The project is part of a larger effort to connect the stadium’s construction to all Minnesotans, not just Vikings fans. Vikings owner Mark Wilf claims that this arts initiative connects the community by “[continuing] the theme of utilizing Minnesota companies and individuals throughout the design and construction of U.S. Bank Stadium.”


Read more about the project here and check out the video below.



U.S. Bank's CEO Speaks Out For the Arts

Posted by Stacy Lasner


On October 6, 2015, U.S. Bank's CEO Richard Davis accepted the BCA 10 award on the company's behalf at the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America gala at the Central Park Boathouse in NYC.


During his inspring speech, he claimed that creativity is the most crucial trait for tomorrow's business leaders, that the arts help businesses tell their story, and that business leaders must come together to recognize the improtance of supporting the arts. Learn more about the BCA 10 and the nominations process.


Are you a business leader engaging with the arts or interested in learning more about how the arts can help your business? We want to hear from you!


Watch Richard Davis's acceptance speech:



Transcript: Thank you Julie and congratulations to everyone here tonight. So here’s the deal, we are very stoked to have this award because it’s a very special recognition of something we don’t talk enough about in America, which is the fine arts.


So tonight we’re really celebrating goosebumps. Right? Goosebumps. Think about it. The downbeat of the conductor’s baton and the beginning of the timpani roll at the orchestra. That perfect pirouette at the ballet, where you can’t believe that he or she could do it so perfectly. That amazing moment when in the confines of a beautiful building some reveals a piece of art… that breathtaking moment. And think about all these wonderful points in time that are brought to us by the fine arts. You know we celebrate the musicians, the theaters, the thespians, the performers, but they need support. So tonight we’re celebrating the goosebumps they bring to us, and business intersecting with the arts.


Now, there’s wonderful good news for you. I’m part of the Business Council of America, which is the top 150 companies in the country, and we gather three times a year, the CEOs, to talk about relevant events. Somehow I got stuck with the job of doing the survey. That’s my job, I’m survey guy. And in doing this last survey we asked the 150 CEOs of the largest institutions, “what is the most important attribute of a future C-Suite senior leader in your company?” and for the first time in history, by far, creativity came to the top of the list. [Applause.] So think of this, finally the right brain takes over! All of us are left brainers, at least at the bank we are, and this right brain, this creativity, this innovation, this thought provoking way of changing lives is what’s now in the offing. And so the greatest news of all is now is the time to get involved and be excited about what we can do intersecting business and the fine arts.


I’ll close with this very last thought. You see what we have here is storytelling. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the ballet or at the opera, if you’re listening to music or if you’re pondering a piece of art. It’s to your soul, not to your mind. And what we need to do today is celebrate the idea that business has found its moment in storytelling. So all of you here tonight, all nine of the great companies receiving this wonderful award, and those that fall before us from 2005 to today, we need to create this core of advocates, vocal, visceral advocates, to express that now business is reliant on the arts. Because the arts wouldn’t make it as far as they do without business, but the world wouldn’t make it at all without the arts. [Applause.] And so let the story be told that tonight we’ve got something to celebrate! And so here’s to more goosebumps, and Deborah Jordy, thank you for the nomination. We’re indeed honored to receive it on your behalf. Thanks everybody. Congratulations.


Classical Concerts at Clinics Can Calm Patients

Posted by Brooke LaRue

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley.

In 2008, Michael Silverman, Director of Music Therapy at the University of Minnesota, and Jon Hallberg, Medical Director at the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic, created a program through which students studying classical piano and guitar at the university performed in waiting rooms at medical clinics to help calm patients. The program, which had an overwhelmingly positive response from clinic staff, also provided a way for young musicians to hone their art while connecting with new audiences.

In the April 2015 issue of the journal Musicae Scientiae, Silverman and Hallberg report on the results of a survey they conducted with clinic staff who were involved in the program. One of the results they reported was an unexpected one—patients would often play the piano in the waiting room when the musicians weren’t around. “[This] seemed to enhance staff abilities to initiate non-medical discussion with patients, potentially increase rapport, trust, and therapeutic alliance,” the researchers said.

“I think it can calm people—get their minds off themselves in a way if they’re stressed or unhappy or whatever—which is what most people are when they come here,” one nurse claimed. “It speaks to the soul.”

“An intimate setting, an appreciative audience, a chance to bring a little joy and creativity into people's lives at a time they could really use it—what's not to like? Plenty of research has found music helps people heal; here is one unobtrusive way to jump-start that process,” noted Pacific Standard Magazine.

Read more about the healing power of the arts from Americans for the Arts President and CEO, Robert Lynch.

Has music transformed your workplace? Tell us about it by emailing or using #ArtsandBiz on Twitter.


Art and Business Connect at a “Pop-Up Think Tank”

Posted by Jon Spayde

I like to call them “pop-up think tanks” – informal gatherings to discuss serious topics in innovative ways and from unstodgy new perspectives.  They’re all over the Twin Cities, from the lively gatherings organized by our friends at Works Progress and the Ignite Minneapolis talks to Tane Danger’s Theater of Public Policy and the new Twin Cities branch of the international House of Genius project.  They’re inspired, I think, by a widespread sense that meeting and talking in the same old ways to the same old folks is getting us nowhere in an era of proliferating problems and sclerotic institutions.


I had the pleasure of taking part in a new one just last week.


A year and a half ago I wrote a short piece for The Line about my visit to a remarkable institution in Omaha, Nebraska, called KANEKO. Named for its founder, Japanese-born and Omaha-based sculptor and international art-star Jun Kaneko, it’s a space where artists, creativity consultants, businesspeople, performers, and scientists come together to explore creativity across the boundaries of disciplines via talks, performances, and free-form discussions.


After the piece ran, I got a call out of the blue from a dynamic woman named Katy Gaynor, a fundraiser, development consultant, and arts advocate here in the Twin Cities who had read the piece. Among the many things Katy and I discovered we had in common was an interest in fostering creativity and helping artists bring their skill-sets to bear on other areas of life, like business. Katy told me that she wished the Twin Cities had its own version of KANEKO.


Plans for a Dialogue

In the months since that conversation, Katy has been busy making her hopes real by putting together a team of sharp colleagues to organize what the group dubbed the “Art and Business Dialogue X-Change,” a large invited gathering of some of our community’s most prominent artists, business people, and artist-businesspeople to talk about how the arts and business could break down barriers that separate them.


It took place last Thursday, July 25, in the beautiful conference room of the McKnight Foundation, and it attracted local A-listers like Gülgün Kayim, Director of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy for the City of Minneapolis; public artist Ta-Coumba Aiken; and actor and Jeune Lune alumnus Steve Epp, to name just three of the fifty or so distinguished attendees.


I showed up too, eager to take part in the cross-sector conversations. The team that organized the event was, of course, notably cross-disciplinary as well. The first person Katy had contacted to get the ball rolling was Dylan Skybrook, a dancer/choreographer turned sustainability educator and consultant who’s on the leadership team of The Social Innovation Lab. Dylan brought aboard writer, performance artist, and Social Innovation Lab colleague Miré Regulus. Katy added her longtime friend, actor and depth psychologist Kirsten Frantzich, as well as public artist and life coach Laurie Phillips, who works at the boundaries of art and physical/emotional healing (and to whom—full disclosure–I am married), and Herman J. Milligan, Jr., Managing Partner with The Fulton Group, a marketing consulting firm. (Milligan is also a musician and a sociology PhD with years of experience nurturing corporate creativity.)


Tables for Sharing Ideas

We attendees sat at tables accommodating seven or eight, so we were able to have relatively intimate conversations within the larger gathering. The organizers encouraged us to look at the skills and mind-sets we had developed in our major life commitments and consider how we might benefit from sharing those skills and attitudes across the art-business divide.


What struck me first of all was how many of the businesspeople I talked to had serious artistic commitments in their lives, whether as active artists, collectors, or board members. This was probably partly a function of the invitee list, which was skewed  a bit toward the art side; but it forcefully reminded me at the very outset that the art-business divide is often totally blurred in individual lives.


We discussed how artists do business naturally (they often have to “read the room” like sharp salespeople in order to sell art-ideas to skeptical potential backers), and how businesspeople are being called on more and more to innovate, “disrupt,” and move boldly in uncertain directions (all things the best artists are used to doing). How can artists learn to define success more clearly (a certain amount of money, measurable notoriety, etc.) the way businesspeople are always called upon to do? How do artistic and business communications differ, and how do they resemble one another?


There were more intriguing questions than final answers, but as the afternoon ended, I felt that the business and art “silos” (the organizers’ term) had become more permeable in both directions.  Discussions had been sparked about how artists could contribute to social betterment even beyond the business sphere, by sitting on the boards of directors of many kinds of institutions and contributing in other ways beyond the art world.


A Wider Role for Artists


Katy Gaynor summed up this wider perspective for me a few days later when I caught up with her. “I think by building bridges between the arts and the business world,” she said, “we can start a larger conversation about the role of artists in solving some of our society’s most critical problems. I’d like to see artists at the table in corporate life, government, education, and the nonprofit sector—everywhere.”


Last Thursday’s gathering was, as the organizers put it, a “lab” and a “pilot project,” a gesture toward this sort of ambitious goal. Gaynor and company are sifting responses to the event prior to planning a followup; meanwhile Katy tells me that she is surprised and delighted as she discovers how many different people and groups here in town are exploring this very territory. Stay tuned for much more silo-busting.


For more on what Katy Gaynor and Dylan Skybrook are planning, contact them via e mail: and


The Line is an online magazine based in Minneapolis/Saint Paul that covers entrepreneurship, urban and community development, the arts, and sustainability.


(This post, originally published in The Line 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.)


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