In an op-ed in the Delaware News Journal on December 3, 2015, John Shipman, executive director of the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA), discusses the value of breaking the old partnership model, which he claims, "abstractly rewards the business partner while concretely rewarding the arts partner." In October, Americans for the Arts’ State Arts Action Network and our own Private Sector staff held an event at the museum to discuss arts and business partnerships. Reflecting on some of the topics discussed at that event, Shipman discusses some of the benefits that businesses can derive from partnering with the arts, including a more vibrant community, engaged and creative employees, and more.
"What is most important, perhaps, is an understanding that a strategic partnership between institutions from the business and arts sectors provide valuable combinations of resources that enable each partner to gain new levels of success unable to be obtained on their own. A solid partnership creates new, innovative and exciting elements useable in the computation of each partner’s continued success," he says.
This understanding can have a real impact on both businesses and arts organizations. For example, it has driven the organization to change its mission to become an organization focused on the “exploration of new ideas at the intersection of art, design, and technology.” According to Shipman, this has "broadened the DCCA’s ability to discuss creativity in a more inclusive, and perhaps a contemporarily more relevant, way."
“The arts represent a powerful management tool for developing workforce and organizational infrastructure to improve Delaware’s competitive advantage,” said Dr. Guillermina Gonzalez, executive director of the Delaware Arts Alliance and chair of the State Arts Action Network Council, at the October event. “This is a departure from simply asking organizations for a check. We believe that the conversations on this front should continue so that arts and business partnerships can be developed across the state that successfully integrate the arts into corporate practices while providing new ways for Delaware’s arts organizations to succeed in their mission.”
Photo: Dr. Guillermina Gonzalez addresses event attendees at the museum.