News

Arts and business news from around the country.

RSS

Corporate Culture Goes Cultural

Posted by Jessica Stern
0 Comments
Corporate Culture Goes Cultural

A sample of the pieces created by employees of The Standard. (Photo by Liang Liang)

 

I’m not going to lie, I really don’t know much about visual art. It’s embarrassing as an “arts” administrator because my brother is an accomplished artist, my mother is a wildly creative interior designer, and my father fashions some of the most impressive urban development project management documents around.

 

Now, I could tell you all about Romantic-era composers, and go on about West African beats and argue why their current grooves are an aural history lesson of the slave-trade and post-colonialism, but when it comes to visual art, I just really don’t know a lot.

What I do know is, 1) generally speaking, I like visual art a lot and 2) I love seeing art by people who don’t consider themselves professional artists.

 

Enter reason #17 or so why I love my job: The ongoing charge to recognize businesses that make a special effort to unleash the inner artist in their accountants, actuaries, techies, and administrators.

 

So, naturally I was overjoyed to receive an invite last month to attend the opening of The Standard’s 2nd Annual ARTS (Artists in Residence at The Standard) Show.

 

The Standard, a financial services company, is one of Portland’s largest private employers, with approximately 2,200 individuals working in the state. This 106-year-old Oregon-born company was founded originally as a life insurance company with a goal to “champion the needs of the local community.” That value of being a community champion still rings true and The Standard is continually recognized for its charitable work, in addition to being a great supporter of arts and culture.

 

Always on Business for Culture & the Arts’ (BCA) list of the Top Business Donors to the Arts, The Standard ranked as the #1 Business Donor to the Arts in 2010 in the Portland Metro Area and #2 in the state of Oregon. Last year, in BCA’s cumulative study of 10 years of data, The Standard ranked #6 in the state of Oregon (having contributed over $1.8 million to arts and culture in 10 years).

 

Whether it’s through volunteerism, employee team scavenger hunts or direct giving, in addition to insurance, this company does something exquisitely: they honor their employees.

 

But back to ARTS…I’m familiar with programs that other Business Committees for the Arts run in other cities like On My Own Time (Denver) and art@work (Kansas City), but I hadn’t realized that some companies take it upon themselves to highlight the artistic talents of their staff.

 

I wasn’t able to make last year’s ARTS opening event and so I didn’t have an expectation of what I would encounter in an insurance company’s employee-only art show. Imagine my delight when I got off the elevator and saw that this was not just a room blocked off for some drawings and paintings; The Standard dedicated an entire building floor to showcase the creative fruits of their staff!

 

A sample of the pieces created by employees of The Standard. (Photo by Liang Liang)

Once inside, I had to continually pick my jaw up from the floor. The employees of The Standard are TALENTED! Every medium was represented: painting, pen and ink, stained glass, quilting, beading and jewelry, photography, sculpture, you name it. I was especially delighted to see one of BCA’s Board Members showing off two exquisite oil paintings. I had no idea!

 

And therein lies the beauty of what The Standard has done for the second year in a row for their employees.

 

When you’re not a self-described artist, or you have a day job that maybe you love (maybe not?), often our time to create gets put into another box outside the workplace. That creativity tends to become part of our “other” self; separated from the time we spend in the “real world” doing “grown-up” things. By creating a space to showcase employee art, The Standard has bridged the gap between personal and professional in an inspiring way.

 

It takes our thinking from, “Oh, there’s Joe over there, he’s a claims analyst,” to “There’s Joe over there, he’s an analyst and also makes really interesting mix-media collages. I saw them at the employee art show last year.” We learn to appreciate our colleagues for all of themselves, not just the person we see at a desk for eight hours a day.

 

This experience of showing one’s art in the workplace gives employees an opportunity to open what is normally a very private part of their lives for their colleagues in order to appreciate one another’s talents.

 

It’s been proven that companies who blur that personal/professional line and focus on the whole self and well-being of their employees see greater productivity and less turnover. We also know intrinsically that corporate art collections make for visually stimulating work spaces, which also keep employees happy.

 

At a recent testimony before Portland City Council to refer a public funding measure for arts education and access to the ballot, a gentleman implored City Commissioners to imagine Council Chambers without the paintings and sculptures that enhanced the space. He encouraged them to imagine their difficult jobs without that creative inspiration.

 

This was a poignant moment, and one that I think about when visiting businesses. I realize how much more uplifted I am when I’m surrounded by beautiful or challenging art, even though I don’t know much about technique or the great artists that came before to inform a certain style. I appreciate the companies who provide stimulating surroundings for their employees and think about how much more pleasant a workplace it must be.

 

That The Standard opened its walls to its own employees not only tells me their corporate culture is one that wants to keep people happy, it tells me that they know creativity and appreciation for a colleague’s work will continually boost company spirits, encourage people to know one another a little better, and appreciate the multi-faceted lives we all live.

 

It tells me that by using art as a means for connection, we infuse our daily surroundings with inspiration that can only inform and encourage progress in the daily cycle of business and work.

 

*This was originally posted on ARTSblog.

Related
Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

More News

New David Rockefeller BCA pARTnership Award
Jan 08, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts announced today that the David Rockefeller Fund will invest in a four-year presenting sponsorship of the new David Rockefeller BCA pARTnership Award. Given annually, the award will honor a company and arts...
Go to full post
Nation's United Arts Funds Raise $85.5 million for the Arts in 2016
Jan 02, 2018 0 Comments
Throughout the summer of 2017, the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Initiatives department solicited responses to the FY2016 United Arts Fund Campaign Survey. Surveys were distributed to a total of 45 united arts funds by...
Go to full post
Nominate the Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts
Dec 11, 2017 0 Comments
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: 2018 BCA 10 AWARDS Every year, Americans for the Arts through its Business Committee for the Arts, honors the 10 best businesses partnering with the arts in America. Submissions close January 19. ...
Go to full post
Award-Winning Examples of Companies Supporting the Arts
Nov 21, 2017 0 Comments
The arts are an economic driver. According to the Arts & Economic Prosperity study, released by Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity during 2015, which...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: AC Entertainment in Knoxville, Tennessee
Nov 14, 2017 0 Comments
Known as one of the foremost concert promoters and festival producers in the United States, AC Entertainment celebrates the arts by bringing first-class live entertainment experiences to music lovers from around the world. Founded...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Scholastic Inc., New York City
Nov 09, 2017 0 Comments
“Creative, innovative thinking, the hallmark of artists and writers, is fundamental to building economic strength, and new and better ways of seeing the world. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards validates the creativity of students...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina
Nov 07, 2017 0 Comments
“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...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri
Nov 02, 2017 0 Comments
At Hallmark Cards, art is an essential component of the company’s DNA. From its founding in the early 20th century, Hallmark has fostered creative environments both inside and outside the workplace, and has been particularly...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Bacardi in Coral Gables, Florida
Oct 31, 2017 0 Comments
“Supporting the arts within the cities and towns where we live and work is our way of giving back at Bacardi. This sense of corporate responsibility has been at our foundation since the Bacardi company was created more than 151...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Microsoft in Redmond, Washington
Oct 26, 2017 0 Comments
“Microsoft is honored to support arts and culture organizations across the U.S. and around the world, which provide so much richness to all of our communities.” -Lori Harnick, General Manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Yum! Brands in Louisville, Kentucky
Oct 24, 2017 0 Comments
“At Yum! Brands, we believe in the power of the arts to educate, inspire and empower all students, especially those who are classified as ‘at-risk’.  Working with our local Fund for Arts organization we created the Yum! Family...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Turner Broadcasting System in Atlanta, Georgia
Oct 20, 2017 0 Comments
“Turner Voices, our company’s signature corporate philanthropy program, marries our deep ties to our Atlanta hometown with our commitment to next-generation storytellers and their power to impact our community in profoundly positive...
Go to full post
It’s a Celebration! The 2017 BCA 10 Gala: Best Businesses That Partner with the Arts
Oct 19, 2017 0 Comments
On October 11th, business and arts leaders gathered at the iconic Central Park Boathouse in New York City to honor the best businesses partnering with the arts in America at the annual BCA 10 Awards. Now in its 13th year, this...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: AutoZone, Inc. in Memphis, Tennessee
Oct 18, 2017 0 Comments
"Even as AutoZone has evolved over the last 36 years, we’ve maintained a steadfast commitment to our hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Leadership and active participation in our region’s arts and culture are essential to community...
Go to full post

Already a partner?

Already a partner?

Learn easy ways to take your partnership to a new level.

Use our ads locally

Use our ads locally

View The pARTnership Movement ad campaign and find ways to use the ads.

pARTnership videos

pARTnership videos

Watch and share our videos from The pARTnership Movement.

Partnership ideas

Partnership ideas

Inspire employees with tickets to the ballet or a concert.

Are you an arts group?

Are you an arts group?

Get listed in our searchable directory.

Recruit talent

Recruit talent

Employees want to live and work in a vibrant community.