(Photo used with permission from TheSpectrum.com)
Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Zions Bank is a living example of how arts and business partnerships can thrive. The Zions Bank St. George Financial Center has long been a supporter of the arts with its Staircase Gallery, featuring rotating exhibits by area artists and art students. Zions Bank also sponsors a gallery at Dixie State University’s new Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building, showcasing large paintings by area artist Frank Huff. In addition, the Bank sponsors the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Broadway Across America, the Natural History Museum of Utah, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, among other initiatives, and was a 2008 recipient of The BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America award.
In February 2013, Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank, spoke at the Sears Dixie Invitational Art Show Gala at Dixie State University's Eccles Fine Arts Center. Anderson spoke in part about how businesses—no matter the size—are obligated to support the arts.
“Supporting the arts benefits businesses as the arts offer opportunities to build relationships with customers, enhance community relations and attract and retain employees,” commented Anderson.
Anderson said that businesses must do their part in supporting the arts in schools and communities by purchasing the work of area artists, because “where arts flourish, the quality of life is superior and the people and the economy prosper.”
Anderson began his February speech by quoting President John F. Kennedy, who once said it is the “obligation of all people and all organizations to support the arts for the betterment of society and of life. When the creative impulse cannot flourish, when it cannot freely select its methods and objects, when it is deprived of spontaneity, then we all suffer, freedom is lost, creativity is abandoned, the root is severed and society crumbles.”
The CEO offered 3 principles regarding the arts that he believes will strengthen communities:
Teaching the arts in school: Anderson called it a “moral obligation” and offered examples of how the inclusion of the arts in school curricula has benefited students, resulting in decreased absenteeism, fewer behavioral problems and increased academic achievement. “This is not to say that the study of the arts will make us all geniuses or great artists, but it will make us better people.”
Promoting Creativity: Anderson encouraged his listeners to realize there are no limits to what they might be able to accomplish when creativity is part of the thought process. Creativity is not just an individual thing, but also important to communities and businesses.
Supporting the arts: Anderson believes that in an enlightened and flourishing society, every individual, every business and every government will give to the arts, and will support the arts in their communities. “Some may be able to give only a little; some may be blessed to give a lot. But all of us can and must give.”