“Each day is more wondrous and rewarding because I experience it through the arts.” When The Related Group Chairman and CEO Jorge Pérez said these words on October 6 at the BCA 10 gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City while accepting the 2015 BCA Leadership Award, he verbalized a sentiment which most of the business executives in the room shared. The arts not only bring joy to our lives, but the benefits to businesses partnering with the arts are numerous. By engaging with and supporting the arts, businesses have an affordable, reliable way to recruit and engage employees, foster innovation, create messages that resonate, and connect with potential customers and the community.
The pARTnership Movement is growing. More and more businesses are coming to understand the strategic value of partnering with the arts. The arts are a powerful tool in an era where remaining creative is a top priority in the workplace. For those interested in partnering, this year we launched The pARTnership Movement essay series, which takes a deep dive into the 8 Reasons for Businesses to Partner with the Arts through successful case studies and research. Additional research related to arts and business can be found here and through our triennial BCA Survey of Business Support of the Arts, the next iteration of which will be released in 2016. For arts organizations, we launched new tool-kits to help you build better relationships with businesses.
For businesses like Duke Energy, our 2015 Hall of Fame Award recipient, the power of arts for businesses is not new. The company has been supporting the arts for years, particularly in Charlotte, where Duke Energy helped create and sustain the Levine Center for the Arts, which is home to several museums and theaters, as well as Duke Energy’s headquarters. During the company’s Lunch & Learns, employees go behind the scenes to experience arts and culture. According to Duke Energy Foundation President Stick Williams, “Our employees have become even more engaged in the community as a result of our investments in the arts.” Some other great partnerships we learned about in 2015 include:
- 2008 BCA 10 honoree Zions Bank in Utah put the company’s partnership with Ballet West on display by featuring the ballet’s costumes in the bank’s branches this summer. The exhibit made for a visually stunning display that garnered media attention for both the bank and the ballet company’s new season.
- 2015 BCA 10 honoree Corning Incorporated’s artist-in-residence program and the company’s art collection are designed to inspire innovation in the workplace. Corning is also recruiting talent by supporting the arts in Corning, New York, much like 2015 BCA 10 honoree BNY Mellon does through BNY Mellon jazz in Pittsburgh.
- Arrow Electronics and 2015 BCA 10 honoree GE’s FirstBuild are building the future of technology and appliances by engaging with artists.
- Griffin Technology and Hallmark display employee artwork to encourage employees to learn more about one another.
- Businesses like Facebook, IDEO, and Virgin America are enticing employees with arts-filled workspaces.
- 2015 BCA 10 honoree AutoZone engages and educates employees through “AutoZone the Opera” in partnership with Opera Memphis. AutoZone has also helped support many arts initiatives in Memphis, and we were proud to celebrate the company in its hometown this November.
So how can we spread the word about the power of the arts so that we see more creative, mutually beneficial partnerships between businesses and arts organizations in 2016? Richard Davis, the CEO of U.S. Bank, one of this year’s BCA 10 honorees, says it’s up to business leaders to come together to share the message. ”We need to create this core of advocates, vocal, visceral advocates, to express that now business is reliant on the arts,” he said. “Because the arts wouldn’t make it as far as they do without business, but the world wouldn’t make it at all without the arts.”
In 2016, let’s take him up on his call to action. If you are a business leader who recognizes the strategic value of partnering with the arts…
- Write an op-ed like BBVA Compass’s CEO Manolo Sánchez in Houston, John Pappajohn in Des Moines, or NV Energy’s Community Relations Manager Karen Ross in Reno.
- Nominate your business for the BCA 10 Awards to have your achievements recognized publicly. Nominations close on January 8.
- Stay informed by signing up for our monthly newsletter, BCA Noteworthy.
- Use The pARTnership Movement ads in your internal and external communications.
- Share your story. We want to hear from you! You can also connect with us on Twitter (@Americans4Arts) using #ArtsandBiz.
Photos of Jorge Pérez and Richard Davis by Rana Faure at Americans for the Arts’ BCA 10 gala.