The BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America—the annual celebration of the marriage of arts and business. It was an affair to remember on October 1, as the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), a program of Americans for the Arts, celebrated ten honoree companies; BCA Leadership Award honoree Frederic C. Hamilton, chairman of The Hamilton Companies; and the induction of past BCA 10 honoree John Deere into the BCA Hall of Fame, in this, the award's tenth anniversary year. This year’s festivities took place at the historic Loeb Boathouse Central Park—an iconic New York landmark that provided the perfect backdrop against which to celebrate an impressive slate of honoree businesses, large and small.
Many past BCA 10 honorees were in attendance at this year’s gala, including Jean Canfield, Senior Vice President, Client & Community Relations Director at PNC Financial Services Group (a 2006 and 2013 BCA 10 honoree);Alessandra DiGiusto, Chief Administrative Officer at Deutsche Bank (a 2007 BCA 10 honoree), who is a member of Americans for the Arts’ Board of Directors and served as a BCA 10 judge this year; Alton Murray, Program Manager Arts & Culture at Con Edison (a 2012 BCA 10 honoree), and Mariner Kemper, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UMB Financial Corporation (a 2009 BCA 10 honoree).
Members of Americans for the Arts’ Private Sector Council were also in attendance, as many served as nominators for this year’s outstanding slate of honorees, including Cynthia Prost, President of the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis; Karin Copeland, Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia; and Deborah Jordy, Executive Director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, who also served as one of this year's award presenters.
Members of the BCA Executive Board were also represented, including chairman Edgar Smith, Jr., chairman and CEO of World Pac Paper; John Barrett, chairman, president and CEO of Western & Southern Financial Group, John Pappajohn, owner of Pappajohn Capital Resources; Kate Paul, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Colorado; Suku Radia, president and CEO of Bankers Trust Company (who served as a 2014 BCA 10 judge); and Mark Shugoll, CEO of Shugoll Research (a 2005 and 2007 BCA 10 honoree and honorary event chair, who provided the evening's Broadway talent).
The 2014 BCA 10 honorees traveled from cities near and far with full entourages in tow to share in the national recognition. Among those in attendance accepting the award on their companies’ behalf were Ashley Capps, Founder of AC Entertainment (the brains and brawn behind the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival); Mike Hollern, CEO of Oregon-based Brooks Resources Corporation; Jim Weddle, Managing Partner of financial investment firm Edward Jones; Donald Hall Jr., President and CEO of Hallmark Cards, Inc.; and Craig L. Adams, CEO of Philadelphia energy company PECO.
The evening was not without the artistry for which the awards stand. Two live performers took to the stage to woo the crowd. The first was Kate Davis, a jazz singer, self-accompanied on the string bass, who was recently lauded by MTV as one of 2014’s “15 Fresh Females Who Will Rule Pop.” Kate has been active in Americans for the Arts for a few years running, having participated in Americans for the Arts’ National Arts Policy Roundtable and National Arts Awards. She melted the hearts of the audience when she remarked that she was “grateful to be a part of the Americans for the Arts family.”
Later in the evening, the incomparable star of stage and screen, Laura Benanti, took her turn at the microphone. Laura is best known for earning the 2008 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her portrayal of Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy, opposite Patti LuPone; her portrayal of Baroness Elsa Schraeder in last year’s The Sound of Music Live! on NBC, and her new run as up-and-coming country artist Sadie Stone on ABC’s Nashville. Laura had guests in awe with her lyrical soprano stylings of such Broadway classics as “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “The Hills Are Alive.”
Throughout the night, each honoree company took its turn at the podium receiving accolade for the strong partnerships that have been built with the arts in their workplaces and in the communities they serve. Hallmark Cards CEO Donald Hall, Jr. summed it best when he remarked, “The arts provide a common language that enriches all our lives.”
The impressive slate of 2014 BCA 10 honorees have received much acclaim in local and national press:
- AC Entertainment Named to 2014 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering With the Arts in America Honorees
- BBVA Compass honored by Americans for the Arts for its contributions to the arts
- Brooks Resources receives national arts honor
- Milliken & Co. receives art award
- Americans for the Arts Honors PECO as One of “Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts” in America
- Thrivent wins national award for supporting arts
Read more about each companies’ partnerships with the arts in the 2014 BCA 10 press statement.
Nominations for the 2015 BCA 10 will open again this month. Be sure to check AmericansForTheArts.org/BCA for the nominations announcement and to find out more about eligibility requirements.
(All BCA 10 photos courtesy of Glen Davis.)