Arts and business news from around the country.


Annoucing our 2019 Judges!

Posted by Danielle Iwata
Annoucing our 2019 Judges!

We are excited to share this year's esteemed judges for the BCA 10 Awards: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America. We are honored to have their expertise!



Toni Freeman

The Arts and Science Council (ASC)


Mark Hegedus

Magic Hat Brewery


Kate Marquez

Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance


Felicia Shaw

Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis


Ryan Williams



Every year, Americans for the Arts recognizes 10 businesses of all sizes for their exceptional involvement with the arts that enriches the workplace and the community. These companies set the standard for excellence and serve as role models for others to follow. We also honor an individual with the BCA Leadership Award and a partnership with the David Rockefeller Fund pARTnership Award.


Check back this Spring to meet our 2019 honorees!


The honorees will be celebrated a gala in New York City on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the Central Park Boathouse.


BCA 10 Spotlight: UMB Financial Corporation (Kansas City, MO)

Posted by Danielle Iwata
BCA 10 Spotlight: UMB Financial Corporation (Kansas City, MO)


Americans for the Arts is excited to honor UMB at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.


“It is an honor to be recognized among this group of distinguished and innovative companies. UMB believes the arts to be a medium that permeates all areas of life and positively affects those it touches. Our commitment to the arts is a distinct part of our culture that truly contributes to the quality of our work life and environment.”

 – Mariner Kemper, CEO and chairman, UMB Financial Corporation


UMB Financial Corporation was founded by the Kemper family in 1913, and the arts have been an integral part of the character of the company. UMB believes all people can benefit from the power and positivity of the arts. Whether it’s through a creative outlet, therapeutic respite, expansion of viewpoints, or pure enjoyment, the arts impact communities and individuals in powerful ways. UMB’s commitment to the arts is equally visible from its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., to its offices spanning eight states.


On the first Friday of each month, Kansas City Crossroads Art District hosts “Kansas City First Fridays,” where the Art District transforms into a giant art gallery and street festival. UMB has a branch in the heart of the neighborhood and is a strong supporter of the event.


CEO Mariner Kemper was appointed campaign chairperson for the Denver Mayor’s Commission on Art, Culture & Film in the late 1990s, during which he was instrumental in integrating public art into the design of the Denver Center for Performing Arts and the Denver Public Library. He now sits on the board of the Denver Art Museum, where he serves as the Uncorked fundraising event co-chair, which UMB has sponsored for the past 15 years.


The company recognizes the value of the arts for associates and maintains the UMB Corporate Art Collection, one of the most highly regarded collections of American art in the Midwest. Established for the enjoyment of customers, guests, and associates, R. Crosby Kemper’s intent regarding the creation of the collection was to foster a knowledge of classic American art in all of UMB’s communities. New associates learn about the history of the company’s passion for the arts during a New Hire Art Tour on their first day.


ArtsKC Awards Luncheon FUSE, courtesy of UMB


Associates also have hands-on creative opportunities. Every year, UMB branches, departments, groups, and individual associates transform plain, ceramic piggy banks into creative works of art during the UMB Piggy Bank Parade and Auction. This annual fundraiser, benefiting ArtsKC, a nonprofit arts council in Kansas City, is a fun and exciting way for associates to show off their artistic talents. The 2017 campaign included more than 40 piggy banks and raised $3,346.


UMB also annually offers qualifying associates two paid volunteer days off to invest back into the community, as well as numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Regular email communication is sent to associates promoting local arts activities in Kansas City and throughout its regions.


Senior leaders in Texas and Arizona have won awards for their commitment to business and the arts. Across the eight states UMB serves, associates hold board positions with organizations such as the Denver Art Museum, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Wichita Art Museum, Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, Ballet Folklorico Esperanza, and Ballet Arizona.


In recognition of their partnerships with and contributions to arts organizations, UMB Financial Corporation was a BCA 10 honoree in 2008.


BCA 10 Spotlight: Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri

Posted by Mariama Holman
BCA 10 Spotlight: Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri

At Hallmark Cards, art is an essential component of the company’s DNA. From its founding in the early 20th century, Hallmark has fostered creative environments both inside and outside the workplace, and has been particularly instrumental in building the arts and culture community in Kansas City, Missouri, where the company is headquartered. Since the 1970s, Hallmark has contributed over $35 million in cash contributions to all of the major visual and performing arts organizations in the Kansas City area, including The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.


Beyond financial contributions, Hallmark displays a deep commitment to the arts through a number of arts-related initiatives. As early as 1940, Hallmark instituted a visiting artist program that continues today, bringing artists into the workplace to give presentations and hold workshops for employees. In 1969, Hallmark initiated the Kaleidoscope program, which has provided free creative art experiences to more than 8 million children and their families.


In addition , Hallmark has one of the earliest and most extensive corporate art collections in the United States. From 1949 to 1960, Hallmark sponsored the International Art Awards, instituted by Hallmark founder J.C. Hall to, in his own words, “sponsor a ‘laboratory of fine art’ in which artists would give their imaginations free rein and from which would come ideas to stimulate and inspire the world of design. Thus we could express the deep gratitude of Hallmark Cards to living painters everywhere for their constant elevation of the public’s taste.” These works became the genesis of today’s Hallmark Art Collection, which now contains over 4,000 pieces by over 1,000 artists, including Alexander Calder, Barbara Kruger, Norman Rockwell and Kehinde Wiley. Many notable pieces are displayed at Hallmark’s headquarters in Kansas City, providing fuel for inspiration and creativity among employees.  


As a company dedicated to making cards for every life occasion, Hallmark values employees with unique artistic talents who are devoted to aesthetics and beauty. Hallmark’s internal creative staff is composed of over 900 members with different artistic talents, including designers, stylists, illustrators, writers, editors, calligraphers, web designers and photographers, who serve the company’s creative needs. Since 2010, Hallmark has held an annual artist’s fair, displaying the work of its staff artists as a way to celebrate their creativity and show the public the depth of talent that exists within the Hallmark family.


A significant portion of the estimated 48,000 volunteer hours Hallmark employees contribute to the community each year serves arts and culture organizations. These range from jazz museums and choral groups to dance troupes and improvisational theater, in addition to the Kansas City region’s high profile arts organizations. Hallmark encourages employee volunteerism through its VIP (Volunteer Involvement Pays) program, which awards a cash grant of up to $400 a year to nonprofit organizations, many arts groups among them, as a way to recognize employee commitment to volunteer service.


Hallmark’s cultivation of art and arts programming reflect the company’s regard for the arts as the key to human inspiration and creativity. A truly creative company at its core, Hallmark’s dedication to the arts both internally and externally reflects its passion for and belief in the power of the arts. 


Photo: Don Ipock. Daniel Beaty as Paul Robeson in Tallest Tree in the Forest at Kansas City Repertory Theatre.  Hallmark supports the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, as well as all of Kansas City’s major performing arts organizations, with financial and volunteer support as well as an employee ticket match program.


Top 10 States for Arts and Business Arts Partnerships

Posted by Mariama Holman

Americans for the Arts has been honoring businesses that uniquely partner with arts organizations within their communities over the last decade through the annual BCA10 awards, receiving nominees of both large, small and mid-sized companies across a dozens of industries and over 47 states.


We are taking a moment to call attention to the top 10 states that have celebrated business and arts partnerships by number of BCA10 nominees from 2005 to 2017, with pro-arts quotes from iconic awardees from the respective cities.  


1.     New York


Time Warner Inc., New York,

At the announcement of Time Warner’s recognition in the BCA Hall of Fame Award for the 2007 BCA10 gala, Richard Parsons, then CEO and Chairman stated that, “Creativity is as important to the communities we serve as it is to the businesses we run. That’s why we’re committed to supporting the arts. By giving young people a chance to develop their talents and interests through media and arts programs, enabling more people to experience world-class theater, and nurturing diverse new artists and new works, we strive to help keep the arts rich and accessible.”



2.     California

Wells Fargo, San Francisco, CA

Richard M. Kovacevich, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wells Fargo & Company went on record during their 2005 BCA10 awardee announcement saying that “the arts make communities great places to live, work and play. Supporting the arts is simply the right thing to do.”



3.     Texas

American Airlines, Dallas, TX

Bella Goren, American’s Vice President of Interactive Marketing and Reservations at Americans for the Arts as well as a member of the board of North Texas Business for Culture and the Arts, accepted the 2005 BCA10 award in New York on the company’s behalf. “American and our people have a long-standing record of supporting the arts and enhancing what the arts bring to our communities,” said Goren afterward. “Hundreds of American and American Eagle employees volunteer in many positions and capacities in local and national arts organizations, and this commitment has been ongoing.  We’re proud of them, and grateful for their contributions.”



4.     Florida

Bacardi North America, Coral Gables, FL


According to Robert Furniss-Roe, the former Regional President of Bacardi North America, “Supporting the arts within the cities and towns where we live and work is our way of giving back at Bacardi, and this sense of corporate responsibility has been at our foundation since the Bacardi company was created more than 150 years ago. Arts programming enriches the lives of our employees and their families, our neighbors, and our business partners. The realm of the arts cross borders and languages to bring all people together in the name of beauty, knowledge and community.”



5.     Pennsylvania

PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA


“The arts can bring a community to life and influence its economic development. That is why PNC has long supported creative programs and initiatives that make the arts more accessible to our employees and everyone we serve,” said James E. Rohr, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.



6.     Missouri

Hallmark Cards, Inc., Kansas City, MO

“Hallmark’s mission is to inspire meaningful connections, which enhance relationships and enrich lives. We feel the arts are central to this purpose,” said Donald Hall, Jr., President and CEO of Hallmark Cards, Inc during the 2014 BCA10 awards at the Central Park Boathouse in New York.



7.     Wisconsin

Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, WI

At the 2013 BCA10 announcement, John E. Schlifske, Chairman, President and CEO of Northwestern Mutual, stated that “Northwestern Mutual believes in the long-term benefits of sponsoring arts in the community. The arts inspire us to think differently and use new skills in all kinds of work. Our Foundation takes great pride in fostering and supporting an arts scene that not only provides entertainment, but also economic growth.”



8.   Tennessee

HCA Healthcare, Nashville, TN

"The arts nourish the spirit, challenge the mind, bring joy to the soul and enhance our communities. HCA's support of the arts is consistent with our mission to improve the quality of human life,” said Jack O. Bovender, Jr., Chairman and CEO of HCA in light of the company’s recognition for the 2006 BCA10 award.



9.   Illinois

Deere & Company, Moline, IL

"Support of the arts is integral to Deere's long-standing commitment to our communities,” said Robert W. Lane, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of  Deere & Company. “We are pleased to make major contributions to the arts that enhance the quality of life.”



10.  Ohio

Proctor & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH

“Every day at P&G we strive to improve people’s lives with our brands and products, as well as improve the communities where we live and work. Supporting the arts produces ripple effects of benefits that help communities thrive and make them great places to live,” said Proctor & Gamble CEO, David Taylor upon the 2016 BCA10 announcement.


New Essay on Engaging Employees Through Art Partnerships

Posted by Stacy Lasner






















In 2014, a Society of Human Resource Management study found that employees in the United States remain only moderately tuned in at work. Gallup took this a step further, reporting that we’re in the midst of an “employee engagement crisis.” In June 2013, Gallup had estimated that “actively disengaged” employees cost the United States $450 to $550 billion per year in lost productivity in its report, “How to Tackle U.S. Employees’ Stagnating Engagement.”


How can companies combat this problem and boost workforce engagement? Mark
Royal, a consultant at the management consulting firm Hay Group, says that engagement tends to be deeper among employees who feel that they have opportunities for growth and development. “The problem for organizations is that demand for such opportunities frequently outpaces the available supply,” he says.


By partnering with arts organizations, companies can provide employees with innovative opportunities for growth and development, which can in turn have positive effects on engagement, morale, retention, and performance.


In our new essay in the pARTnership Movement essay series, we explore how the Arts & Science Council's Cultural Leadership Training (CLT) Program in Charlotte and the Center of Creative Arts' COCAbiz program in St. Louis helps business employees learn how to serve on boards, develop leadership, and communications skills, and enhance creativity and collaboration. The programs also help businesses determine the leadership potential of their employees based on their interest in participating in these training programs.


Download the essay here


“People become experts at their jobs by doing the same thing many times. But repetition
can lead people to get stuck in a cognitive rut where it becomes hard to see new
perspectives,” explains Steve Knight, Director of COCAbiz. “We use artistic experiences as a way to help people escape from those mental ruts and rise above their normal routines to find new solutions and opportunities.”


“Our company has a lot of scientists, so we were not sure whether an arts-based
development program would be a good fit,” admits Anne Schuchardt, Leadership Development Project Manager for the multinational agricultural company Monsanto. “It turned out that innovation and experimentation which underpin the arts are also really important for scientists. As a result, our employees have jumped in and embraced the artistic lessons that COCAbiz delivers.”


Hear more about COCAbiz in our upcoming webinar on March 16.


Read more about engaging employees through the arts, and find case studies.


Get more information about and examples of arts and business partnerships by signing up for our monthly newsletter, BCA Noteworthy.


Have you used the arts to train and engage your business's employees? We want to hear from you. Share you story on Twitter with @Americans4Arts using #ArtsandBiz or email us at


Photos: Courtesy of the Center of Creative Arts.


Wells Fargo Contributes to Arts Education in St. Louis

Posted by Kate Reese

Wells Fargo’s role as a resource for financial services is rooted in the company’s desire to give back to the communities where its employees live and work. The company’s four key social responsibility focus areas include Arts and Culture, for which they were honored by Americans for the Arts with a BCA 10 Award in 2005.


In St. Louis, the company recently donated $50,000 in scholarship assistance to a new Arts and Education fund, managed by the local Arts and Education Council. This contribution is part of a larger $100,000 gift that will serve programs aiming to improve access to creative expression and arts opportunities for youth in underserved areas throughout the region.


Wells Fargo Senior VP of Community Affairs, Vanessa Cooksey, says that Wells Fargo Advisors “values maximizing human potential.” She claims, “studies increasingly show that youth participation in the arts improves overall academic achievement, school attendance, and acceptance of diverse cultures.”


According to a report in The St. Louis American, “The Fund will provide tuition scholarships and transportation subsidies intended to remove financial barriers that may prevent talented high school art students in underserved or low-income areas from expanding their creative training outside the traditional classroom setting. The Arts Education Fund will partner with new and existing A&E grantee organizations that offer classes and workshops in visual arts, craft, music, and dance disciplines.”


Another $30,000 will bolster the Arts Leadership and Management Academy (ALMA) – a professional development program that provides roundtables, workshops and peer learning opportunities to executives at arts and culture organizations. The contribution made by Wells Fargo allows ALMA to expand its’ services and removes price barriers for management workshops, allowing participants from a wide range of organizations to benefit from leadership training and other peer-to-peer learning.


The remaining portion of the money will be allocated to operating and programmatic costs associated with the Arts and Education Council’s network of roughly 70 arts and arts and education organizations that serve the region.


With this contribution, Wells Fargo is not only providing access to arts education opportunities, but contributing to more equitable and vibrant communities where its employees want to live and work.


Photo: The St. Louis American.


Businesses Thrive in Kansas City, Thanks to the Arts

Posted by Kellyn Lopes

Which came first, business or culture? In Kansas City, MO, true partnerships between arts and cultural organizations and the business community have resulted in a thriving economy and strong cultural sphere. A recent article in the Kansas City Star discusses how the arts have helped to shape the local economy and how businesses are benefiting, featuring quotes from the Kansas City Ballet, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and other arts and business leaders from the community.


ArtsKC, a regional arts council since 1999 and member of Americans for the Arts’ Private Sector Network, was highlighted in the article for its work in bolstering business support for the arts in the city. The article quotes President and CEO Harlan Brownlee: “A lot of businesses have come to conclude that if they are going to drive the talent they need, they need an attractor. We don’t have oceans or mountains, but we do have a vibrant arts community. Young professionals want a stimulating, creative environment. A number of businesses have moved downtown because that is the place to be.” Heeter, President and Chief Executive of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, explainshow thriving arts community offers both tangible and intangible benefits to businesses, pointing to corporate support shifting between charitable contributions and marketing sponsorships.


In the past 15 years, Kansas City has worked on strategic partnerships between the arts and business communities to leverage the full potential of economic and cultural development, resulting in a hub for businesses, arts and culture to thrive. Read the full article here.


Photo: courtesy of ArtsKC.


Ameren Employees Raise Over $109,000 for the Arts in St. Louis

Posted by Samantha Sharon

Employees of Ameren Corporation – a holding company for several power and energy companies in the St. Louis region – have raised an impressive sum of $109,000 for the Arts and Education (A&E) Council of St. Louis this year. Since 1986, Ameren has led an A&E Workplace Giving Campaign to support its region’s only United Arts Fund, whose mission is to build appreciation, participation and support for arts and arts education throughout the St. Louis community. With the success of this year’s campaign, Ameren’s total contributions to the A&E Council now total $2.7 million dollars, an amount that has allowed the council to bring priceless arts opportunities to St. Louis over the years. 


Since 1986, Ameren executives have striven to emphasize to their employees the benefits of living in a community with a thriving arts scene. As President and CEO of Ameren Warner L. Baxter told St. Louis Today, “The Arts and Education Council’s contribution to our region cannot be overstated, and that is why thousands of Ameren’s co-workers throughout our company support the A&E annual campaign on behalf of the arts so generously.”


Aside from the Workplace Giving Campaign, Ameren acts as a corporate partner to A&E, supporting and funding its various efforts throughout the year, including its signature annual event, the St. Louis Arts Awards.


Through its generous support of the A&E Council, Ameren has not only made an investment in the cultural sector of St. Louis, but has also made a significant impact on the city’s economy by helping to make it a more desirable and vibrant place to live, work and raise families. With this year’s outstanding donation of $109,000 to the A&E Council, Ameren hopes to inspire other companies to follow its lead and to realize how business and arts partnerships can foster the economic development, cultural growth and community engagement of any region.


For more information on Ameren's approach to sustainability, visit


ArtsKC and the Kansas City Chiefs highlight intersects between art and sports

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
ArtsKC and the Kansas City Chiefs highlight intersects between art and sports

(Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs.)


Continuing our week-long series devoted to arts and the business of professional sports (in the spirit of Super Bowl XLVIII), the following video clip from our friends at ArtsKC highlights the many similarities between art and sports, in this case, the Kansas City Chiefs and the many outstanding Kansas City arts organizations whose work contributed to the footage. As they so appropiately put it,  "Not all great theatre happens on a stage."



Since 2012, the Kansas City Chiefs has sponsored the Kansas City Chiefs Art Program, an initiative supporting the celebration of regional art. Artworks, submitted by artists throughout the Midwest with specific emphasis on Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma and Arkansas, are displayed throughout Arrowhead Stadium, including club areas, reception areas, corridors, and other interior locations, along with select exterior locations. Sharon Hunt Munson, director of the program designed to help promote regional culture, states, “Arrowhead is not only a great venue for football, but is also an iconic entertainment destination in the Midwest. We are looking forward to working with local and regional artists to display artwork at Arrowhead that celebrates the Midwestern culture that the Chiefs and our family have been proud to be a part of for the last five decades.”


Know of an arts and professional sports partnership in your area? Let us know, and we will feature the story nationally on the pARTnership Movement!


Edward Jones Donates Over $766K to Support Arts and Arts Education in St. Louis

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

The Arts and Education Council (A&E), the St. Louis region’s United Arts Fund, recently announced that Edward Jones has donated more than $766,700 this year in support of arts and arts education organizations throughout the 16-county, bi-state area. The majority of the funds were raised through Workplace Giving Campaigns at Edward Jones’ corporate headquarters and 371 branch locations.


“Giving back to the community where we live and work is important to our firm,” said Jim Weddle, Edward Jones managing partner. “Because we believe the arts are essential to the quality of life in our community, we are proud to have supported the Arts and Education Council for 20 years through our Workplace Giving Campaign, helping to ensure that our St. Louis arts organizations stay strong and vibrant.”


Edward Jones has consistently conducted A&E’s largest Workplace Giving Campaigns; this year’s effort resulted in a record high associate participation rate of 75 percent.  A long-time supporter of the St. Louis arts community, Edward Jones has donated more than $6 million to the Arts and Education Council since 1978 with nearly $4 million coming from its workplace giving efforts.  With this extraordinary philanthropic history, it’s fitting that Edward Jones partners and associates will be honored as “Corporate Champions of the Arts” at A&E’s 2014 St. Louis Arts Awards, Jan. 20, 2014.


“Edward Jones associates and principals recognize that arts and arts education enhance a region’s economic environment and greatly enrich lives,” said Cynthia A. Prost, president of the Arts and Education Council. “By enthusiastically supporting the Arts and Education Council, our region’s United Arts Fund umbrella organization, Edward Jones helps ensure the area’s legacy of artistic excellence and provides greater opportunities for everyone in our community to experience art and culture.”


Since its founding in 1963, the Arts and Education Council  has raised and distributed more than $100 million in private funding to arts and arts education organizations throughout the 16-county, bi-state St. Louis region.  A&E grants help provide millions of experiences in music, theater, dance, film, literary arts, visual arts and outreach programs for children and adults living in urban, suburban and rural areas. Many A&E-supported programs operate in underserved communities and serve at-risk youth. 


Revenue generated from Workplace Giving Campaigns accounts for one-third of A&E’s budget and annually supports nearly 70 arts organizations of all sizes, disciplines and demographics, including established institutions such as the St. Louis Symphony, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Sheldon Arts Foundation, as well as community-based groups such as Metro Theater Company, African Musical Arts and Springboard. The Arts and Education Council also partners with local corporations in named grant opportunities that provide specific funding.  These partnerships include the Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers, the Boeing Arts and Education Collaborative Grant Program, the Monsanto Rural Community Arts Education Program and the PNC Foundation Project Grant Program.


*This article was originally posted at


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Ameren Employees Raise Nearly $102,000 for the Arts in St. Louis in 2013
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