Promoting the philosophy, The Art of Controlling Your Environment, Moving the Needle, a full service creative and production company, was founded on the belief that artistic practice can directly lend itself to good business. This manifests in a variety of ways as the company is made up of visual, graphic, video and recording artists. One recent project upended the trickle down flow which typically goes from corporate sponsor to arts organization to audience.
The Humana Festival of New American Plays represents the longest-running partnership between a corporation and a theatre company nationwide and is produced and presented by Actors Theatre of Louisville. For nearly four decades, Humana has funded this thriving point-of-entry for new theatrical work which reaches an international audience. One member of that audience is Moving the Needle Creative Director and founding partner, Leslie Lyons. “Our company is based in New York, but I was raised in Louisville,” says Lyons, “and the Humana Festival is in my DNA. So, in 2013, I began investigating the marketing materials of the Festival because we wanted to pitch working with them. I quickly realized that while the Festival seemed to promote each season year after year, there might be an opportunity to create a branding piece that would convey the process and collaborative, creative effort that goes into these productions overall.”
So, Moving the Needle wrote a treatment that would have high brow artistic value but
be cost effective for the non-profit entity of Actors Theatre. The result is a two-video
branded campaign that was produced during the 2014 Festival which will be used to
celebrate the success of each year’s festival all the while educating audiences about its
rich process and history.
Managing Director of Actors Theatre, Jennifer Bielstein leverages the point. “With an expanding global audience, the need to reach people online is essential. Videos like the ones Leslie created for us enable us to not only reach people, but to actually engage them in what we do and effectively tell our story. We also expect to use the campaign to inspire some current audiences as it conveys our core values of Creatively, Collaboration, Engagement and Excellence.”
Having the origin of this project come from an audience member is quite unique and, in
this case, the results were products created by artists which flowed back to benefit the
corporate sponsor. This idea of cross pollination between the community, arts
organizations and corporations is exactly the kind of artistic control over environment
that Moving the Needle seeks out.
From Humana Foundation Executive Director, Virginia Judd, “At Humana, we embrace several core values that influence the way we conduct our business and relate to others. Two of these values, cultivate uniqueness and thrive together, are reflected in our partnership with Actors Theatre of Louisville and, by extension, Moving the
For its outstanding partnerships with the arts, Humana received induction into the BCA Hall of Fame in 2006, and Humana Chairman Michael B. McCallister received the 2013 BCA Leadership Award for excellence in leadership through the arts.