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 Spotlight: VF Corporation (Greesnboro, NC)

Posted by Danielle Iwata
BCA Spotlight: VF Corporation (Greesnboro, NC)

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


“VF has a proud history of supporting the arts in the communities where our associates live and work, because we believe that thriving communities also mean thriving employees. Empowering local arts organizations that inspire and positively impact people and societies will always remain a focus for us at VF.” 

- Steve Rendle, Chairman, President & CEO, VF Corporation


VF Corporation is one the world’s largest apparel and footwear companies with nearly 70,000 associates and operations in more than 170 countries. VF is committed to giving back to its local communities and believes that being an actively engaged citizen is valuable for both the community and for the business.


VF and its brands encourage associates to pursue volunteer opportunities, whether through corporate volunteer programs or on their own. During the National Folk Festival in Greensboro, NC, which took place each year from 2015 to 2017, hundreds of VF associates joined the more than 1,400 volunteers needed to execute the three-day event. As a lead financial contributor, VF brought its Wrangler brand to the festival by sponsoring the Wrangler Stage, one of the festival’s most popular destinations. Wrangler also contributed the use of its headquarters’ downtown grounds to the festival, which provided space for audience seating and a food and beverage marketplace.


VF regularly celebrates associates who volunteer their time. Through the VF 100 program—which honors the 100 associates company-wide who have accumulated the highest number of service hours each year—VF has donated $1,000 to each winner’s charity of choice via the VF Foundation, VF’s philanthropic organization. Since the VF 100 program’s inception in 2005, more than 1,100 associates have contributed over 295,000 hours and more than $1 million has been donated to community causes.


VF takes an active role in supporting arts initiatives in its hometown of Greensboro. The company is a long-time lead contributor to ArtsGreensboro’s annual community-wide ArtsFund Campaign, which supports more than 50 arts organizations, projects, and artist initiatives each year across Guilford County. VF’s senior management is also playing a strategic role in a Greensboro-based, art-focused task force that is spearheading the effort to create Greensboro’s “Cultural Arts Master Plan,” whichwill serve to advance and support creative life in Greensboro.


Wrangler Stage, courtesy of VF Corporation


Several of VF’s brands offer customers the ability to showcase their artistry by crafting custom products while also benefiting local nonprofits. For nine consecutive years, the Vans brand has hosted its Custom Culture arts competition, which supports high school arts programs around the country. Participating schools have the chance to win $75,000 towards art programming, and four runner-up schools can earn $10,000. Since 2012, Vans has partnered with Americans for the Arts to offer Custom Culture Grants to public high schools to support arts education. VF is grateful for the ways in which the arts have enriched the company, and will continue to give back to the arts in their communities.


Nominated by ArtsGreensboro


Announcing the 2018 BCA 10 Honorees

Posted by Danielle Iwata
Announcing the 2018 BCA 10 Honorees
The Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) of Americans for the Arts is proud to present the BCA 10 awards on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at a black-tie gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City.
The awards honor 10 U.S. companies, a business leader, and an arts and business partnership for their exceptional commitment to the arts through grants, local partnerships, volunteer programs, matching gifts, sponsorships, and board membership.
We are excited to announce this year's winners:

Churchill Downs (Louisville, KY)

Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati, OH)

Fosun (New York, NY)

Phillips 66 (Houston, TX)

The Standard (Portland, OR)

Tierney (Philadelphia, PA)

UMB Financial Corporation (Kansas City, MO)

VF Corporation (Greensboro, NC)

West Bend Mutual Insurance Company (West Bend, WI)

Zions Bank (Salt Lake City, UT)


In addition, Chandrika Tandon, chairman of Tandon Capital Associates and Soul Chants Music in New York City and Grammy-nominated musician, will be honored with the BCA Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals for their extraordinary vision, leadership, and commitment to supporting the arts and for encouraging other businesses to follow their lead.


Square and Cheyenne River Youth Project of San Francisco, CA and Eagle Butte, SD, respectively, will receive the David Rockefeller pARTnership Award. This award recognizes a company and arts organization (or artist) for an exceptional project, program, or initiative that represents a true alliance, collaboration, or exchange between the two.


"We are grateful to honor these businesses and individuals for their exceptional involvement in ensuring that the arts thrive in their communities," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "They provide the arts with significant financial and in-kind support, and they incorporate meaningful arts-related programs into their employee, customer, and community relations activities – truly setting a standard for other businesses to follow."
Join us in celebrating these companies and their exceptional partnership with the arts by purchasing tickets, placing an ad in the BCA 10 journal, or sponsoring the gala celebration.





BCA 10 Spotlight: Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina

Posted by Mariama Holman
BCA 10 Spotlight: Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina

Duke Energy is committed to supporting the vitality of the communities we serve. That includes introducing our young people to the arts at an early age—study after study shows that children benefit immensely from exposure to the arts. Investing in the arts makes good sense, for our business and for our communities.

–Lynn Good, Vice Chair and CEO, Duke Energy


For more than 100 years, Duke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States, has acted with the belief that providing access to and building an appreciation for the arts can have a powerful impact on the communities it serves.


As a true testament to Duke Energy’s appreciation of the arts, in 2010 the company moved its headquarters to the Levine Center for the Arts complex, one of Charlotte’s key cultural destinations. Duke Energy contributed $5 million toward the Levine Center’s construction and provided the Arts & Science Council with an $83 million endowment to fund operations. The Levine Center is home to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, the John S. and James L. Knight Theater, and Mint Museum Uptown. In addition, Duke Energy’s support of The Mint Museum of Craft + Design resulted in the creation of the Duke Energy gallery at the museum.


In 2009, Duke Energy was recognized by Americans for the Arts as a BCA 10 honoree. That year, the company forged a partnership with the Charlotte Symphony (CSO) and Opera Carolina to create The Duke Energy Power of Music Opera/Symphony Partnership with a gift of $150,000. The grant enabled Opera Carolina and the CSO to continue a partnership that has provided live music for opera productions in Charlotte for more than 60 years.


In 2013, when arts organizations in Charlotte were experiencing a significant decline in funding support, the Duke Energy Foundation committed $10 million to the Foundation for the Carolinas’ THRIVE Fund, which was established to provide financial stability for Charlotte’s arts and culture sector.


In Raleigh, Duke Energy has naming rights for the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center, and in recent years, has annually provided more than $500,000 in grants to the North Carolina Symphony, Carolina Ballet, North Carolina Opera, North Carolina Theatre, and Pinecone. In Florida, a $50,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation enabled the Florida Orchestra to create new youth concerts and launch Classical Kids, providing free tickets for youth from underrepresented communities. In Cincinnati, Duke Energy is the title sponsor of the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, which has consistently ranked in the top 10 children’s museums in the world.


Working under the banner “Duke Energy In Action,” Duke Energy employees and retirees regularly volunteer for charitable projects and participate in the company’s contribution matching program. The company also involves its employees in its workplace giving campaigns. For more than 20 years, Duke Energy has ranked among the top 10 ArtsWave campaign contributors in the Greater Cincinnati area.


Photo: A performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Raleigh-based North Carolina Theater where Duke Energy funding supports program excellence and education. Duke Energy has supported the North Carolina Theater since 2006.


Corporate Diversity ARTSBlog Series

Posted by Jessica Gaines

In this series from Americans for the Arts, four ARTSBlogs approach equity, diversity, and inclusion, with the arts as a contributor towards resolution. Below are excerpts from the ARTSBlogs. Click on each title to be taken to the full blog.


1. “Diversity + Inclusion = A Winning Strategy” by Floyd Green


We [Aetna] value art so highly because it brings a different perspective to traditional “training.” It helps to connect our employees to ideas in a creative and organic way. Not everyone responds and processes training in the same way. In order for everyone to get to the finish line, we have to meet people where they are. The arts allow this to happen, and will take them on the journey to where they want to be. The more we use the arts, the more we’ll reach innovation and imagination; the more people are able to come together without fear, be safe and comfortable, and express how they’re feeling.

Full ARTSBlog here.


Floyd W. Green, III is Vice President and head of Community Relations and Urban Marketing for Aetna, Inc. and is also on the Board of Directors for Americans for the Arts.



2. “A Win-Win Culture: How Inclusivity Drives Innovation in the Business World” by Elizabeth Thys and Yazmany Arboleda


“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”


This blog highlights the idea that cultivating a diverse and inclusive culture is a win-win for companies and shows three ways that diversity and inclusion drive innovation:

  1. Employee Resource Groups: Based on the company’s internal LGTB Employee Resource Groups, Clorox’s Burt’s Bees® launched its first LGTB-targeted product. Miriam Lewis, Principal Consultant, HR, noted that “inclusion equals innovation.”
  2. Knowledge Management
  3. Diverse Employee Perspectives


Full ARTSBlog here.


Elizabeth Thys is CEO and co-founder of limeSHIFT and Yazmany Arboleda is a New York-based public artist who lectures internationally on the power of art in public space.



3. “Am I What You’re Looking For?” by Catherine Heitz New


In 2016, we were inspired by an innovative collaboration between Wells Fargo and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA). As part of their 12x12 series, SECCA featured an exhibition of works by photographer Endia Beal entitled Am I What You’re Looking For?, which portrays young, black women as they contemplate their identities in the often-competing contexts of self and career. Endia Beal is a North Carolina-based artist, educator, and activist, who is internationally known for her photographic narratives and video testimonies that examine the personal, yet contemporary stories of minority women working within the corporate space.

Full ARTSBlog here.


Catherine Heitz New is Chief Advancement Officer and Deputy Director of The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.



4. “Driving Diversity Through Board Service” by Alexandra Hallock


In what ways does your organization wish to deepen board diversity?


That was one of the critical questions we asked while ramping up for the most recent round of BoardLead. BoardLead is the primary program of Cause Strategy Partners, LLC that strengthens social good organizations by recruiting, placing, training and supporting talented professionals from top companies for high-impact board service. Through a partnership with The New York Community Trust, BoardLead Arts NYC was created to help small to medium sized nonprofit arts organizations elevate, diversify, and transform board leadership. Goldman Sachs, Google, and MasterCard partnered with BoardLead to make board placement opportunities available to high potential and diverse employees.

Full ARTSBlog here.


Alexandra Hallock is a Consultant of Cause Strategy Partners, a purpose-driven social enterprise that believes in harnessing the power of business for social good.


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.


Foster Critical Thinking in the Workplace Through the Arts

Posted by Stacy Lasner
Foster Critical Thinking in the Workplace Through the Arts

In the business world, innovation is a prerequisite for progress. Launching today, the third essay in The pARTnership Movement essay series, Foster Critical Thinking, demonstrates how arts partnerships can help a company encourage critical thinking and thereby boost innovation among employees.

Some companies choose to spend more money on research and development to trigger innovation, but the 2014 Global Innovation 1000 survey from strategic consultants Strategy&, the global strategy consulting team at PwC, showed that R&D spending alone will not necessarily make a company innovative.

According to the 2008 Ready to Innovate report by The Conference Board, Americans for the Arts, and the American Association of School Administrators:


  • 97% of U.S. business executives agree that creativity is becoming more important in the workplace.
  • 85% of U.S. executives looking to hire creative people say they cannot find enough qualified applicants.
  • 61% of U.S. executives say that employers have the responsibility to instill creativity in the workforce.


So how can companies encourage creativity among their employees in order to drive innovation?

Foster Critical Thinking features successful case studies from the Innovation Institute, which provides artist-led professional development programs for individuals and teams from various companies within Charlotte metro area and beyond, and Kohler Co. in Wisconsin.

Where the Innovation Institute seeks to reawaken creativity and innovation by bringing businesspeople into an artistic setting, Kohler takes a different approach and brings art into the workplace. The company partners with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, an independent contemporary arts nonprofit organization, on an artist-in-residence program called Arts/Industry. The artists who participate in Arts/Industry use Kohler Co.’s industrial equipment and materials to produce their art—right alongside Kohler Co. associates building bathtubs, sinks, faucets, and other household fixtures. In 2011, Americans for the Arts was pleased to honor Kohler Co. with the BCA Hall of Fame Award for their engagement with the arts.

By learning from professional artists, employees can perhaps recognize the artistic value in their own work and realize that building a fine bathtub is not so far removed from building a sculpture, that writing a compelling report bears some kinship to writing a novel, that art and business are in fact interlinked on many levels.

Arts partnerships offer companies effective and cost-efficient methods of achieving critical business goals. The first essay in The pARTnership Movement essay series, Recruit and Retain Talent, shows how, by partnering with the arts, businesses can attract and retain the talented, motivated people they need in order to gain a competitive edge and outperform the competition. The second essay, Put Your Company in the Spotlight, explores how engaging with the arts can help a business build market share, enhance its brand, and reach new customers.

Do you know of a company that partnered with the arts to foster critical thinking? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at

Read more about how top businesses are partnering with the arts to foster critical thinking.

Learn more about The pARTnership Movement essay series.


Photo: Innovation Institute participants at McColl Center for Art + Innovation.


Charlotte Cultivates its Next Cultural Leaders

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

How do you identify emerging leaders and help them develop into productive volunteers and board candidates for cultural organizations in your community? For The Arts & Science Council of Charlotte, the answer lies in the organization’s Cultural Leadership Training Program (CLT). (Photo credit: Arts & Science Council of Charlotte.)


Launched in 2005, CLT was built out of concern from cultural organizations for finding the next generation of volunteers to serve on boards. “People were starting to recycle through arts organizations, with the same faces popping up all the time in board roles,” said Katherine Mooring, vice president for culture & community investment at the Arts & Science Council. “We were missing an opportunity to engage some new fresh talent.”


With meetings held at rotating cultural organizations for three-and-a-half hours, once a month, future board leaders are taught the history and dynamics of the region’s cultural community. Each class focuses on an aspect of board service and a particular arts discipline, with topics ranging from legal responsibilities, governance and board-staff relations to finance, fundraising and advocacy.


Because each meeting is held at a different cultural organization, class members are given an opportunity to be immersed in new arts and cultural activities—visual arts, performing arts, music, theatre and dance. Students have played Suzuki violin, performed scenes from Shakespeare plays, and created a line drawing of a dance movement, then performed it.


“It was alike getting a backstage pass to all the cultural arts programs in town,” comments Sheila Mullen, chief empowerment officer at Continuous Motion Consulting, who joined the board of the McColl Center for Visual Art when she completed the program in 2008 and is about to begin a term as board chair. “I was well-prepared to be a board member, and knew what my roles and responsibilities were.”


Taylor Barden, an associate vice president at Morgan Stanley, a board member at the Charlotte Symphony and chair of the committee of alumni of the program who select each new class, says the program helps class members see “how arts organizations can work together” for the benefit of the community.


Strong board leadership is an essential part of building arts and business partnerships that benefit the entire community. Read more about The Arts & Science Council of Charlotte’s Cultural Leadership Training Program, and be sure to download our “Working with Volunteers” tool-kit to learn about how you can create pro bono skills-based volunteer opportunities with arts organizations in your area.


A Swiss pARTnership

Posted by Scott Provancher
A Swiss pARTnership

As I drove up to a series of nondescript warehouse buildings, I double checked the directions to make sure I was in the right place.


Inching slowly forward, I eventually spotted the sign I was looking for: Forbo Siegling, Inc. As I got out of my car, I wondered for a second if this donor relationship visit was a good use of my time.


We often say that relationships are the key to fundraising success. But more often than not, we catch ourselves spending most of our time only nurturing the relationships that we know will lead to significant donations. We forget that most people are not born as arts philanthropists and need to be inspired by an experience or a relationship that will turn them into arts lovers.


Well “corporations are people too,” to quote Mitt Romney.


Just like people, businesses need their own breakthrough moments that inspire them to become meaningful supporters of the arts. As stewards of our institutions and the arts community, we always need to be searching for partnerships with the business community that make these special experiences happen.


Forbo Siegling, Inc. is a modest donor to the Arts & Science Council and the reason for my visit that day was to meet with the North American CEO, Wayne Hoffman. After a tour of their facility, I learned that in addition to being one of the world’s largest manufacturers of conveyer belts (think U.S. Postal Service and airport baggage systems), they were owned by Forbo which is headquartered in Switzerland.


As I continued my meeting with Mr. Hoffman, I also learned that Forbo’s board of directors were planning to visit Charlotte in the coming months and were looking for a location to meet. Without hesitation, I said “You should have your board meeting at the Bechtler Museum.”


Charlotte recently completed the Levine Center for the Arts, home to Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mint Museum, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, and the Knight Theater. The connection for Forbo is that the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art was made possible with the gift of a $70 million art collection donated by Andreas Bechtler, son of Swiss art collectors Hans and Bessie Bechtler.


After additional conversations with Mr. Hoffman, Forbo hosted their board of directors at the Bechtler Museum and it was a huge success.


In Wayne’s words, “I couldn’t be happier. The weather supported us, the meeting venue was most appreciated, and the general outcome of the board meeting was positive for Forbo Siegling, LLC here. Further, the museum tour that was conducted was informative and interesting for all of them. Of course, they had various connections with both the artists and Andreas Bechtler so that became even more interesting as the day progressed.”


This rich cultural experience has left a lasting impression with Forbo’s leadership and forever strengthened the partnership with the arts community in Charlotte.

Though I wish that all of my corporate visits lead to unexpected partnerships between the arts and the business community, Forbo Siegling is a powerful reminder that breakthrough relationship moments are out there in least expected corners of our communities.


This blog was originally posted on ARTSblog.


*Photo of Bechtler Museum of Modern Art courtesy of the Arts & Science Council.

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