News

Arts and business news from around the country.

RSS

Why Philanthropy Should Steam Ahead and Support the Creative Economy

Posted by Claudia Jacobs
0 Comments

When I was a college student in the 60s we thought ourselves intellectual, political and even somewhat evolved. A widely acknowledged putdown of college athletes oft heard was that their course load included Basket Weaving 101. That statement was not only insensitive to athletes; it also inadvertently reflected an additional put down of the arts. And that attitude remains and is reflected in how the arts are viewed today. “In the public schools, arts are all too often the first programs to be cut and the last to be reinstated,” says James Grace, executive director of the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston.

 

Today we need to update that thinking. If we are to actively enrich our communities, arts should not be a stepchild of science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). In New England alone, over 53,000 people are employed in the “creative economy” and that sector, if it were considered in the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), which it is not, would rank just below the data and information sector and just ahead of the truck transportation sector, according to 2009 statistics compiled by the New England Foundation for the Arts. The 18,026 New England arts organizations supply the economy with nearly $3.7 billion–so why does STEM, an acronym that excludes the arts, seem to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue? Yes, there are major reasons why the U.S. needs to be focused on producing adults with skills in these areas, but why not include the arts and go from STEM to STEAM?

 

Philanthropies are more and more focused on impact, grantee accountability, metrics and getting results. Sound good? Not so fast. While these evaluation measures have importance, danger could be lurking. For the metric-merry this can have the potential of giving stepchild status to the arts as the less easily measured are most vulnerable to being cut from the roster. Some argue that the increased frenzy with metrics may indeed play a role in stifling innovation.

 

“And arts curricula in schools,” says Grace, “have broad proven benefits that might not appear to be related to academics but are.” He says that “building the muscles of creativity enhances students’ engagement and development in all aspects of their education. The discipline and process of moving from an idea to a creative result is a skill that is translated whether your life’s work is about computers, architecture, nursing or music. What company doesn’t want engaged creative and innovative thinkers and disciplined workers? How many will survive the global environment without them?” Grace also contends that when arts programs were cut out of the curriculum in schools, it contributed to a lost generation of arts patrons and that has economic impact that is still being felt across sectors.

 

In addition, arts can have a magnetism that engages even the most recalcitrant students, some of whom might fear or be turned off by science, technology and math. Yet if their brains have been exercised in the arts, these same students might avoid getting turned off to education writ large. If we don’t lose these students along the way, they may get through school, mature and return to those other areas later in their educational or professional careers because they haven’t opted out, because they have a means of expression.

 

Imagine a society where the arts are a core component, not considered peripheral to the educational equation. Art is open to all – the working poor, women, persons with disabilities – so it is a social justice strategy and something where diversity has always been valued. Arts reflect culture and provide important lifelong tools.

 

And proof that philanthropies and individual donors may be ignoring the grass roots and important educational benefits within community organizations and schools, is that the majority of philanthropic dollars that are directed to the arts are going to the largest arts organizations – symphonies, museums, and theaters – leaving a smaller pool for funding schools and community organizations who employ the arts in neighborhood development strategies. Philanthropy can and should view the arts as a way to accomplish its wider mission. Broadening and expanding the vision about how we categorize the arts and putting them front and center on the necessary and core list, not the optional list, is an important first step.

 

Philanthropic dollars directed to the arts can leverage economic and neighborhood development. Some in the private sector have already come to this conclusion and reaped great return on that investment. Arts revitalize communities and strengthens the economy, improves safety, and creates vibrant neighborhoods.

 

And if trends in philanthropy, akin to trends in politics, are influenced by public opinion, a survey conducted by the Boston Foundation revealed that 78% of respondents said they wanted to live in communities in which corporations and local businesses actively support arts and cultural organizations.*

 

So, let’s think of the little engine that could–and get on the STEAM engine.

 

(This post, originally published on HuffingtonPost.org, is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage.)

 

*This article was posted on ARTSblog.

Related
Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

More News

2018 BCA 10 Honorees in Forbes Magazine
Nov 02, 2018 0 Comments
This year's BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honorees were in the September 30 issues of Forbes Magazine.   Read more about this year's honorees: Churchill Downs Fifth Third Bank Fosun International...
Go to full post
What's so important about creativity?
Oct 30, 2018 0 Comments
We might work in the arts field, but our day-to-day work looks like any other business. We stare at Excel charts, spend hours on conference calls, write reports, and try to find the bottom of our never-ending email inboxes. Like...
Go to full post
Business Contributions to the Arts Survey 2018
Oct 10, 2018 0 Comments
Business Contributions to the Arts: 2018 Edition is the second edition published by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts of the annual study. Conducted in the summer of 2018, the survey garnered 132 responses from...
Go to full post
David Rockefeller pARTnership Award: Square + Cheyenne River Youth Project
Oct 01, 2018 0 Comments
Square and Cheyenne River Youth Project will receive the David Rockefeller pARTnership Award at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA 10.   "Our hope with the project, “Lakota...
Go to full post
BCA Leadership Award: Chandrika Tandon
Sep 27, 2018 0 Comments
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99;...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: UMB Financial Corporation (Kansas City, MO)
Sep 24, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor UMB at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “It is an honor to be recognized among this group of distinguished and innovative...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: West Bend Mutual Insurance Company (West Bend, WI)
Sep 20, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor West Bend Mutual Insurance at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “The arts can have a profound impact on people of all...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati, OH)
Sep 17, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor Fifth Third Bank at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA 10.   “Fifth Third Bank is committed to building thriving and vibrant...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Phillips 66 (Houston, TX)
Sep 13, 2018 0 Comments
“As a company committed to improving lives, Phillips 66 is proud to support the arts. Our communities are enriched by the arts, precisely because art touches and changes lives in ways that are positive and profound. It’s one...
Go to full post
Quaver Music Supports Arts Education
Sep 11, 2018 0 Comments
September 9-15 is National Arts in Education Week!   Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: The Standard (Portland, OR)
Sep 10, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor The Standard at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “Fostering an appreciation for the arts helps build a foundation for...
Go to full post
BCA Spotlight: VF Corporation (Greesnboro, NC)
Sep 06, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor VF Corporation at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “VF has a proud history of supporting the arts in the communities...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Fosun International Shanghai CN (New York Office)
Sep 03, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor Fosun at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “Fosun has been a champion of the arts for many years, both domestically in...
Go to full post
BCA 10 Spotlight: Zions Bank (Salt Lake City, UT)
Aug 30, 2018 0 Comments
Americans for the Arts is excited to honor Zions Bank at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA10.   “There are many similarities between the arts and business.  Both push...
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.