From music to dance, fine arts to performing arts, Aetna believes that the Arts can enhance one’s personal wellbeing, revitalize a community and create a world that bridges cultures and differences.
The company sees creativity in the workplace as essential to problem-solving and innovation, citing research from Psychology Today that indicates that creativity is the number one strategic priority for organizations and the world, at large.
Floyd W. Green III, Vice President and head of Community Relations and Marketing at Aetna says that, “Supporting the arts and people with an artistic background and passion aligns with Aetna’s goal of creating a talented, diverse workforce that can help this company thrive in the future. We are consistently striving to create unique new ideas that can help our business. At the core, art and innovation are incredibly similar and connected. In order to be a leader, we need to think creatively.”
For this reason, Aetna partnered with the Greater Hartford Arts Council to foster teamwork and creativity within employees by giving their workers a chance to create a work of art. The program, called Work of Art, gave Aetna employees a chance to work together on a painting that was assembled from small canvasses into one large painting, which would be displayed at the company’s headquarters.
Local artist, Nina Salazar worked alongside the Arts Council to help facilitate the project for employees – engaging workers to be creative and discover their artistic side.
Employees at first were excited, but hesitant, given they did not see themselves as artists, however by the end of the project, workers were inspired by their collective work and creative potential, becoming completely engrossed in the activity.
The work Aetna does with its employees is mirrored within the community. Aetna focuses on initiatives that explore the spirit of hope, health and diversity through the arts.
Historically headquartered in Hartford, CT, Aetna has directed more than 70 percent of its arts funding toward Connecticut cultural institutions, supporting 257 programs, events, and activities. Aetna is one of the founding funders of the Greater Hartford Arts Council (GHAC), having been a leader and core supporter since GHAC was established in 1971. Since 2006, Aetna has contributed more than $4.9 million to arts programs nationwide, sponsoring dozens of major exhibitions and performances.
Aetna also lends significant leadership to arts organizations’ programming and fundraising efforts. It was among the first to host a workplace giving campaign in 1995 and to enter the "$100,000 Club,” a special designation given to companies whose employees raise more than $100,000 a year for the Arts. Aetna’s workplace giving has raised $1,220,156. As for volunteer work, Aetna employees have logged more than 2.3 million volunteer hours since 2003.
Aetna is also a recipient of the 2016 BCA 10 Hall of Fame Award.
Photo: A message on the Apollo Theater’s marquee, thanking Aetna for sponsoring Apollo Theater’s Family Day. Image sourced from Aetna.