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Arts and Tech in Philadelphia

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Arts and Tech in Philadelphia

2017 Philly Tech Week (PTW), a week-long celebration of technology and innovation happening throughout the Philadelphia Region, presented by Comcast and organized by Technical.ly, kicks off on April 28. Organized into seven tracks (Creative, Access, Dev, Civic, Business, Media and Sciences), some tracks have conference sessions to delve deeper into the content areas. The Creative Track “where art and technology collide,” encompasses projects ranging from video games, digital art, community initiatives, and more.

 

In an effort to involve more artists and creatives in the Creative Track and the overall event, PTW has launched a microgrant competition for artists to apply for funds to develop a creative display to showcase at the PTW Signature Closing Event. A few immersive, interactive or innovative creations will be selected and more information about the microgrant opportunity can be found here.

 

2016 PTW grants went to mission-minded community groups.

 

Photo: Aidan Un

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Solving Problems and Challenging the Status Quo with pARTnerships

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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When entering a new year, many individuals and businesses alike desire a fresh start.  In personal lives, the changes may appear in a new diet or workout routine while at work it may be goal setting or performance evaluations.  Keeping with the idea of crafting new habits and letting go of outdated approaches, there’s a space for the arts to help advance goals by solving some of yesterday’s problems and challenging the “modus operindi”.

 

These three highlights below are a quick reminder of the possibilities of art and business partnerships that are successful and purposeful.

 

In the work environment, consider that working solely for productivity can become lackluster.

A company or industry that is technology-heavy or project-focused, may find that team performance needs a boost. Altering a method, adding Arts into STEM to become STEAM, can improve the process for businesses grounded in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math. One thing that Denis Lacasse, leader in web, software, and gaming fields, and his team instituted was bringing together employees of different disciplines and backgrounds. When these new teams, comprised of artists, game designers, and engineers, worked together their productivity and zeal increased due to their common connection of being passionate gamers focused on an end goal.

 

Consider that people want to live and work in a vibrant community.

In one Philadelphia neighborhood, there was a general understanding that the area was not safe at night, even with street lights. Although near a bustling bar and cheesesteak restaurant scene, the late-night hours of the neighborhood were either extremely desolate or filled with prostitution, underage drinking and dumping trash. Lighting designer Drew Billiau and mural artist David Guinn were able to pilot glowing street-art-styled murals on a few homes which began a neighborhood transformation all its own. Although there was reluctance from some neighbors in the beginning, the success of the initial glowing murals cultivated enough support to add more on the street for increased safety.

 

Consider that internal culture and external messaging often get old and stale. 

When seeking a way to renew a message (either internally to employees or externally to the public), remember to integrate the arts as a business asset.  By using Arts-Based Initiatives, “businesses can generate value from existing relationships with the arts, as well as an opportunity to establish new relationships, by exploiting the knowledge and skills within the sector for their own competitive advantage.” Investment firm, Scottish Windows, did just that by developing an Arts@Work program that injected arts into company culture and employees reported increased productivity and business benefits.  ABI's are suited for enhancing company messaging and company culture to overall posivitely affect business objectives and strategies. 

 

More information on bringing the arts into a business approach can be found in the pARTnership Movement essays

 

If you know of a business successfully pARTnering with the arts, please nominate them for the 2017 BCA: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts. Nomiations close January 13, 2017.

 

Photo credit: Fast Company

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Zipcar-Philadelphia Transports Mobile Murals

Posted by Chris Zheng
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Everyone wants a car that turns heads when it drives by, so why not drive an actual work of art? For the third year in a row, Zipcar has partnered with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program to celebrate the arts, raise money, and promote the services it offers by wrapping a car in a beautiful mural for Zipcar members to drive.

 

Each year during its Mural Arts Month, the car share and car service company selects an artist to cover one of their cars in an intricate mural. This year, outdoor abstract artist MOMO worked with the Arts Education Department at Mural Arts to create the work “Practical Geometry” on a VW Golf. For every hour the car is reserved, Zipcar will donate one dollar to the Mural Arts Program.

 

Zipcar-Philadelphia Marketing Manager Kristina Matthews captures the company’s commitment to the arts: “Whenever we discuss Zipcar-Philadelphia with our counterparts, the art that lives and breathes in the city is one of the first topics that is raised. Everybody knows Philadelphia for the beautiful murals that surround the city, and we are thrilled to say that we partner with Mural Arts.”

 

This partnership demonstrates Zipcar’s commitment to enriching the communities in which it operates and supporting the vibrant culture of public art. With beautiful murals now zipping through the city, it is truly a mobile masterpiece. 

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Programs by Design

Posted by Kate Reese
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Programs by Design

Here at the pARTnership Movement, we talk a lot about how experience in the arts fosters creativity, problem solving skills, and strategic thinking. In Philadelphia, an industrial designer-turned-executive is living this truth, as covered in a recent article on Philly.com.

 

Karin Copeland says her attention to product design fostered her aptitude for program design in her current role as Executive Director at the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC). When she first started the job, she noticed a handful of improvement areas and set to work sculpting programs the same way one might sculpt clay.

 

When she arrived at the organization, its reputation hinged largely on an annual luncheon that gathers more than 1400 each year. While the event drew crowds, Copeland saw an opportunity for expansion and “wanted ABC to be recognized as a source of valuable programs of mutual benefit to the business and arts communities.”

 

Since then, Copeland has tripled participation in existing programs such as Business on Board, which educates professionals about good nonprofit arts board behavior like fundraising. The Kennet Symphony orchestra is one example of success – it’s gained two engaged board members through participation in the program.

 

Among the new programs Copeland’s vision has brought to fruition is a speaker series that routinely sells out; notable professionals such as Malcolm Gladwell and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg rank among past speakers.

 

ABC has also launched a program called Designing Leadership, which partners with IBM and The Wharton School of Business to provide executive development for arts, culture, and creatives sectors.

 

Through these new strategic initiatives, the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia has expanded reach and demonstrated the ultimate value arts can have for business community. At the helm, Karin Copeland is perfect example of how exposure to the arts enables entrepreneurs to envision change, take a leap and bring lofty ideas to fruition.

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