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Connecting Art and Business in Practice

Posted by Mica Scalin
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Mica Scalin is the Co-Founder of Another Limited Rebellion, which helps businesses and individuals devleop their own creative practices to grow and succeed. She has worked in communications, marketing, and creative development for Showtime Networks, CBS, and NBC Universal. She was the Head of Communications for the nonprofit JDub and has produced and curated numerous art and cultural exhibitions and events.

 

The following is excerpted from Scalin's ARTSblog post on AmericansfortheArts.org.

 

Another Limited Rebellion,

Times Are Changing

Dozens of times in the past few years I’ve been in a room of professionals in non-arts related fields (think engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance) and asked the question: “Do you need creativity to succeed at your job?” In this time, I’ve seen the show of hands go from less-than-half the group to 99% of the room. Not only are they aware they need it, they are quick to articulate why; innovation and differentiation, marketing and customer engagement, recruitment and culture building. BUT when I ask a follow up question to the same people: “Would you call yourself creative?” only 2-3 hands are raised and tentatively at that. This is the discrepancy we think is essential to address.

 

Window of Opportunity

I loved the story that was told in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts. It absolutely validated what we had been seeing with our clients and helped us to hone in on how best to offer something they could really use.

 

Only a small percentage of the responders said they supported the arts because it helped their businesses grow or meet corporate objectives. On the other hand, a great majority said they would increase contributions to the arts if it increased their businesses profitability.

 

Now, while it is very unlikely that we could actually get the data to prove our art engagements affect bottom lines, there is another angle to come at this same issue because 59% said they would increase contributions if it was demonstrated that the arts promote employee creativity and growth. Any business that invests in employee growth and creativity does it because they believe it will increase profitability and impact their bottom line.

 

We know that arts can promote creativity and growth in individuals in so many ways but the challenge is how to do this in a way that reflects a businesses needs.

 

Sharing Practice

Turn over my business card and you will see the words “Creativity Is A Practice”. I love seeing the “ah-ha moment” on people’s faces when they read those words. It is like a muscle that gets exercised, those who practice it, have more of its power available to them. Most importantly, it is a way of thinking about creativity that makes its value available to anyone.

 

When we share our practice we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing the not-quite-right, the trials and errors and the outright failures. This in itself is helpful because it demonstrates that creating something great requires a lot of messiness and uncertainty in the process. Becoming comfortable with such ambiguities and developing a kind of resilience is how artists survive and grow.

 

Seeing how artists must continually put un-finished, in-complete work out for critique in order to improve their work, sets a great example for those in businesses that are struggling to get ahead. In an environment not necessarily conducive to the relentless iterative, trial and error processes that innovation requires, artists can provide a model.
 

Times Are Changing

Dozens of times in the past few years I’ve been in a room of professionals in non-arts related fields (think engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance) and asked the question: “Do you need creativity to succeed at your job?” In this time, I’ve seen the show of hands go from less-than-half the group to 99% of the room. Not only are they aware they need it, they are quick to articulate why; innovation and differentiation, marketing and customer engagement, recruitment and culture building. BUT when I ask a follow up question to the same people: “Would you call yourself creative?” only 2-3 hands are raised and tentatively at that. This is the discrepancy we think is essential to address. If people feel so alienated from their own creativity how can truely value and appreciate the labor of artists?

Window of Opportunity

I loved the story that was told in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts. It absolutely validated what we had been seeing with our clients and helped us to hone in on how best to offer something they could really use.

Only a small percentage of the responders said they supported the arts because it helped their businesses grow or meet corporate objectives. On the other hand, a great majority said they would increase contributions to the arts if it increased their businesses profitability.

Now, while it is very unlikely that we could actually get the data to prove our art engagements affect bottom lines, there is another angle to come at this same issue because 59% said they would increase contributions if it was demonstrated that the arts promote employee creativity and growth. Any business that invests in employee growth and creativity does it because they believe it will increase profitability and impact their bottom line.

We know that arts can promote creativity and growth in individuals in so many ways but the challenge is how to do this in a way that reflects a businesses needs.

Sharing Practice

Turn over my business card and you will see the words “Creativity Is A Practice”. I love seeing the “ah-ha moment” on people’s faces when they read those words. It is like a muscle that gets exercised, those who practice it, have more of its power available to them. Most importantly, it is a way of thinking about creativity that makes its value available to anyone.

When we share our practice we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing the not-quite-right, the trials and errors and the outright failures. This in itself is helpful because it demonstrates that creating something great requires a lot of messiness and uncertainty in the process. Becoming comfortable with such ambiguities and developing a kind of resilience is how artists survive and grow.

Seeing how artists must continually put un-finished, in-complete work out for critique in order to improve their work, sets a great example for those in businesses that are struggling to get ahead. In an environment not necessarily conducive to the relentless iterative, trial and error processes that innovation requires, artists can provide a model.

- See more at: http://blog.americansforthearts.org/node/95091/draft#sthash.qmwTMRSs.dpuf

Times Are Changing

Dozens of times in the past few years I’ve been in a room of professionals in non-arts related fields (think engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance) and asked the question: “Do you need creativity to succeed at your job?” In this time, I’ve seen the show of hands go from less-than-half the group to 99% of the room. Not only are they aware they need it, they are quick to articulate why; innovation and differentiation, marketing and customer engagement, recruitment and culture building. BUT when I ask a follow up question to the same people: “Would you call yourself creative?” only 2-3 hands are raised and tentatively at that. This is the discrepancy we think is essential to address. If people feel so alienated from their own creativity how can truely value and appreciate the labor of artists?

Window of Opportunity

I loved the story that was told in Americans for the Arts’ 2013 BCA Survey of Business Support for the Arts. It absolutely validated what we had been seeing with our clients and helped us to hone in on how best to offer something they could really use.

Only a small percentage of the responders said they supported the arts because it helped their businesses grow or meet corporate objectives. On the other hand, a great majority said they would increase contributions to the arts if it increased their businesses profitability.

Now, while it is very unlikely that we could actually get the data to prove our art engagements affect bottom lines, there is another angle to come at this same issue because 59% said they would increase contributions if it was demonstrated that the arts promote employee creativity and growth. Any business that invests in employee growth and creativity does it because they believe it will increase profitability and impact their bottom line.

We know that arts can promote creativity and growth in individuals in so many ways but the challenge is how to do this in a way that reflects a businesses needs.

Sharing Practice

Turn over my business card and you will see the words “Creativity Is A Practice”. I love seeing the “ah-ha moment” on people’s faces when they read those words. It is like a muscle that gets exercised, those who practice it, have more of its power available to them. Most importantly, it is a way of thinking about creativity that makes its value available to anyone.

When we share our practice we make ourselves vulnerable by exposing the not-quite-right, the trials and errors and the outright failures. This in itself is helpful because it demonstrates that creating something great requires a lot of messiness and uncertainty in the process. Becoming comfortable with such ambiguities and developing a kind of resilience is how artists survive and grow.

Seeing how artists must continually put un-finished, in-complete work out for critique in order to improve their work, sets a great example for those in businesses that are struggling to get ahead. In an environment not necessarily conducive to the relentless iterative, trial and error processes that innovation requires, artists can provide a model.

- See more at: http://blog.americansforthearts.org/node/95091/draft#sthash.qmwTMRSs.dpuf
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