Arts and business news from around the country.


Two Institutions’ Approach to Reawakening Inventiveness

Posted by Jessica Gaines
Two Institutions’ Approach to Reawakening Inventiveness

NUvention: Arts

A course offered by Northwestern University’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the McCormick School of Engineering in partnership with the School of Communications MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program.


NUvention: Arts uses lectures, case studies and guest speakers to give students a first-hand look at what it takes to start a creative arts company in an age of digital disruption. Culminates in a team project that asks students to create and pitch an arts-minded business idea.


With digital technology changing the interaction with and consumption of the arts, and with entrepreneurship on the rise, this course is giving students the ability to develop successful businesses in which an artistic component is the helm.


Theatre student, Elizabeth Hunter, who used the course to re-work her approach to her educational video game on Shakespeare’s Macbeth titled, Something Wicked, says “It was super valuable for me to be in an environment where the goal is not deconstruction, but construction.” Hunter worked alongside MBA and other masters-level students in the course, being tasked with creating, rather than critiquing.


Ahren Alexander knew early on in his Northwestern career that he was interested in entrepreneurship.  The engineering major also had a keen interest in music. “We Skyped in with Beyonce’s manager, the CEO of Pandora, the lead singer of Train. It was awesome,” Alexander said. “There was also an opportunity to chat with entrepreneurs in the area, around Chicago. It was just phenomenal. That’s something I think is extremely important with entrepreneurship – being able to make those kinds of relationships.”



Innovation Institute

An artist-led professional development program at the contemporary art center and urban artist residency program McColl Center for Art + Innovation.


The Innovation Institute has a professional facilitator with a background in organizational coaching and creative development join an artist to lead participants, business leaders, in exercises around unlocking creativity, encouraging risk-taking, and stimulating imaginative thinking. The sessions begin with the artist talking about his or her work and creative process. The artists then lead the participants through a series of experiences where they are making, sharing, presenting, critiquing and discussing art.


This pushes participants outside their comfort zone. “By having them participate in the creative process, they gain a visceral understanding of the fact that for every piece of art they see on the wall of a gallery, there are probably 40 other pieces that were failures that nobody will ever see,” says artist and program instructor Susan Harbage Page.


Fabi Preslar, president at SPARK Publications, a design firm specializing in custom-published books, magazines, and catalogs, attended the Innovation Institute. In the months before she attended, she had been feeling burnt out. “Just to hear how these artists find inspiration in their everyday experiences helped reawaken my creativity,” says Preslar. With her new perspective, she was able to make

the bold decisions needed to reinvigorate her business. Her company’s revenue jumped 118 percent in the year after her graduation and then rose another 19 percent the following year.


Bob Hambright, Division President at Centex Construction, sent his executive team to the institute. One of the Centex executives ended up coming back with an idea for a bold new HR model for how the company should hire, retain, and develop its people. “To me, the Innovation Institute ended up being a good way to stretch people’s minds. I think that spending time with right-brained artists and participating in these art activities helped them appreciate people with different skills from their own. Their time at the Institute helped them appreciate the importance of creativity in finding the best business solutions.”


More about the institute in the pARTnership Movement essay on fostering critical thinking.



blog comments powered by Disqus

More News

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
The Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts are Featured in Forbes
Oct 11, 2017 0 Comments
This year's BCA 10 honorees are using the arts to meet business goals in moving ways. We are proud to recognize them with an ad in the 100th Anniversay Issue of Forbes, "100 Greatest Business Minds" (page 169, September 28)...
Go to full post
Hear from the Business Leaders of the 2017 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts
Oct 02, 2017 0 Comments
Now that you have read about this year’s BCA 10 honorees, let’s take the time to meet the leaders. These business executives, representing a range of industries from hotels to healthcare to retail, are inspiring. Support them...
Go to full post
2012 BCA 10 Winning Tampa Bay Times Spreads Joy of Literature with Times Festival of Reading
Sep 28, 2017 0 Comments
Every fall, the Tampa Bay Times marketing department produces a celebration of the literary arts known as the Times Festival of Reading. This one day event draws thousands of book lovers, as well as famous authors from across...
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.