Arts and business news from around the country.


Using the Arts as a Model for Inclusion

Posted by Danielle Iwata
Using the Arts as a Model for Inclusion

Businesses should look towards models in the arts as inspiration for creating successful inclusive programs. In Quartz's article "Supporting Minority Women in the Workplace Means Tailoring Development Programs to their Needs," it examines the ways one arts organization has risen to the task. Women of Color in the Art’s Leadership Through Mentorship program demonstrate ways that companies could “sustain progress by creating a supportive workplace where women of color can pass what they’ve learned to other employees rising through the ranks.”


There are certainly challenges that are specific to the experiences of women of color in the workplace—arts organization or not. So when a group like Women of Color in the Arts creates a program that successfully supports women, businesses can learn from these models.


For all the talk about running arts organizations like businesses, it’s high time that businesses took a page from the arts playbook. Not only can the arts cultivate empathy and diversity, and provide employee engagement, but they build innovate models for businesses to adapt.


Particularly as the workforce becomes younger and more diverse and expects inclusive programming, the arts can provide some creative inspiration. 


Photo: Kristen Jackson and Alisha Patterson, LTM Program Manager, speak at an event; WOCA/Cynthia Souza


Arts Deliver Prime Cities for Amazon Headquarters

Posted by Danielle Iwata
Arts Deliver Prime Cities for Amazon Headquarters


The arts can play a remarkable role in the vibrancy of a community and in the strength of the economy. It’s no surprise, then, that Amazon thinks the same thing.


In their search for a new headquarters that spanned 238 cities, all of the finalists have strong cultural sectors. As noted in Sebastian Smee’s Washington Post article, many future employees will be relocating their families to the chosen city. What better way to entice them than a strong arts and culture scene? Each of the 24 finalists boasts art museums, sculpture centers, or close proximity to metropolitan centers that are abundant in cultural institutions.


Smee breaks it down:

-          Toronto: The Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum

-          Dallas: The Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center; Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum of American Art, The Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, and the Kimball Art Center

-          Austin: Blanton Museum of Art

-          Nashville: Parthenon and the Frist Center for Visual Arts

-          Northern Virginia: all of the museums and institutions in DC

-          Montgomery County: likewise, DC

-          Newark: Newark Museum, Liberty Science Center, the offerings of NYC

-          Columbus: The Wexner Center for the Arts and the Columbus Museum of Art

-          Pittsburgh: Carnegie Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Musem

-          Indianapolis: Newfields (Indianapolis Museum of Art)

-          Atlanta: the High Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art

-          Denver: Denver Art Musem, Denver Museum of Nature & Science

-          Raleigh: North Carolina Museum of Art and Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art

-          Miami: Art Basel and the Perez Art Museum Miami

-          Chicago: The Art Institute and MCA Chicago

-          Boston: Museum of Fine Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and ICA Boston

-          Los Angeles: The Getty, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

-          Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art and ICA Philadelphia


Amazon’s search is proof enough that the cities in which companies want to invest are also cities with thriving arts scenes. Imagine the possibilities if more businesses partnered with the arts.


Valuable and Unique Essays on Business and Arts pARTnerships

Posted by Jessica Gaines



All across the country, today’s most innovative businesses are using the arts to help them meet some of their most difficult and vital objectives. Americans for the Arts is proud to announce the complete pARTnership Movement essay series. These eight essays, with case studies that profile successful business-arts relationships, illustrate one of the 8 reasons businesses partner with the arts and are available here on The pARTnership Movement website. Click on a thumbnail above to download each essay.


Recruit and Retain Talent

Make your community – and your company – more attractive to current and future employees by partnering with arts organizations to create a vibrant cultural scene.


Put Your Company in the Spotlight

Build your market share, enhance your brand, and reach new customers by partnering with the arts to put your business in the spotlight.


Advance Corporate Objectives & Strategies

Use the arts to communicate important messages to customers, employees, and other stakeholders.


Foster Critical Thinking

Help employees stimulate the critical thinking needed to advance business goals by partnering with the arts.


Engage Your Employees

Use arts partnerships to inspire and engage employees so that they are able to achieve their full potential.


Embrace Diversity & Team Building

Facilitate the creation of a strong corporate culture that fosters creativity while providing opportunities for employees to strengthen interdepartmental relationships, exchange ideas and broaden their networks.


Say Thanks

Inspire your employees by providing access to arts experiences that show your appreciation for their contributions.


Contribute to the Economy & Quality of Life

The arts create jobs, spur urban renewal, attract new businesses, generate tourism revenue, and foster an environment that appeals to a skilled and educated workforce. By partnering with arts organizations, you can strengthen the health and vitality of our neighborhoods, cities, states, and nation.



For more information or to share your arts and business partnerships with Americans for the Arts pARTnership Movement, contact BCA Coordinator Jessica Gaines at  


Top Five Arts and Biz Picks for 2016!

Posted by Jessica Gaines

At Americans for the Arts, the Private Sector Initiatives team works to strengthen partnerships between the arts and businesses communities. Hear from the team about its favorite arts and biz partnerships from 2016.


Jessica Gaines, Business Committee for the Arts Coordinator

Jessica’s pick: Midday Dance Parties


"A trend that we covered here on the pARTnership Movement was Midday Dance Breaks or Lunchtime Dance Parties. Not only is a midday movement session needed, it’s a great way for companies to recruit and retain their talent. In fact, my teammate Emma and I were able to attend a dance break sponsored by Perrier and Flavorpill where we received this fun light-up swag that we now use to celebrate team wins or successes."


Video courtesy of Jessica Gaines.


Emma Osore, Program Coordinator, Arts & Business Council of New York

Emma’s pick: Con Edison’s mentorship and participation in the DIAL summer program

Photo courtesy of ABC/NY.


"Not only does Con Edison financially subsidize the DIAL (Diversity in Arts Leadership) intern stipends and provide in-kind event space, their employees have volunteered their personal time to fill two-thirds of the business mentor roles. This business mentor commitment strengthens the capacity of the young leader but also strengthens Con Edison’s business goals and engages their employees in a meaningful way."


Emily Peck, Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives

Emily’s pick: Kohler’s Arts/Industry program


"We featured this program in our pARTnership Movement essay on fostering critical thinking through the arts. We also got to hear about the program and how it benefits the artists involved and the company when Ruth Kohler joined us at our Sun Valley policy convening. Artists and Kohler associates work side by side on the factory floor."



Jordan Shue, Private Sector Initiatives Program Manager

Jordan’s pick: Austin Energy's collaboration with Forklift Danceworks


PowerUP- 3 min excerpt from Forklift Danceworks on Vimeo.


"Allen Small, Austin Energy Distribution Director, and Allison Orr, Forklift Danceworks Artistic Director, both participated in the BCA 10 webinar and it was clear that it was a true partnership in every sense of the word. Every time I need some inspiration I watch the videos of PowerUP performance!"


From the BCA 10 program book: In 2013, Austin Energy supported the Forklift Danceworks production of PowerUP—a free performance featuring more than 60 linemen, electrical technicians, and Austin Energy employees. The collaborative work showcased the work of numerous Austin artists such as award-winning choreographers Allison Orr and Krissie Marty and Peter Bay, conductor for the Austin Symphony. The production was presented to 6,000 people and thousands more through a nationally broadcast documentary.


Amy Webb, Director, Arts & Business Council of New York

Amy’s pick: SPRZ NY partnership between Uniqlo and MoMA


"SPRZ NY (Surprise New York) is a project designed around the concept of 'a place where clothes and art meet.' It features a special collection of modern art-inspired fashion products intended to surprise, including a collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art. We've featured the partnership in the past (here) but it always a stand-out to me."


If you know of other dynamic businesses partnering with the arts, consider nominating it for the 2017 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts.





Spotlight on Phoenix, AZ (Part 1): Corporate Volunteerism Award goes to 2016 BCA 10 Winner CopperPoint Insurance Companies

Posted by Jessica Gaines
Spotlight on Phoenix, AZ (Part 1): Corporate Volunteerism Award goes to 2016 BCA 10 Winner CopperPoint Insurance Companies

CopperPoint Insurance Companies are known throughout Arizona for far more than providing workers compensation insurance. The company has also built name recognition and an amiable reputation in areas outside of their industry by supporting nonprofits that focus on areas from arts and culture to civic organizations.


This past October, CopperPoint Insurance Companies was a winner of the 2016 BCA 10 Award for their dedicated service, commitment, and partnership with the arts. Their relationships to the arts community in forms of sponsorship, Board service, or volunteer hours has positively affected Ballet Arizona, Arizona Opera, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Arizona Citizens for the Arts, and Phoenix Symphony to name a few. President and CEO, Marc Schmittlein, shares “CopperPoint Insurance Companies understands that a vibrant arts sector attracts and sustains businesses and workers, which promotes economic development and cultural enrichment. Support of cultural, arts, and educational organizations creates a well-balanced life experience for our employees, our customers, and our businesses.”


In the same month, CopperPoint also received the Corporate Volunteerism award for companies under 1,000 employees from the Phoenix Business Journal. With each employee eligible for 12 hours of paid volunteer time per year during work hours, CopperPoint’s Community Engagement Coordinator Jill Maruca states, “85 percent of our employees participate in volunteerism and/or donating money, which is really high for a company.”


By encouraging employees to help out in the community, they are connecting with their staff and retaining talent like Betty Booth, employee of 16 years, who is the first recipient of the Don Smith Volunteer of the Year Award, named after the former CEO who founded the company’s volunteering efforts.


CopperPoint’s generosity doesn’t stop with the work it does in the community.  To celebrate their recognition, the company hosted a large employee-wide lunch, pictured above.


Photo: Courtesy CopperPoint Insurance Companies


From Data Center to Design-Centered

Posted by Chris Zheng
From Data Center to Design-Centered

The term ‘technological infrastructure’ typically brings to mind rows of cables, wires, and circuitry, arranged in a precise and deliberate order. It probably does not conjure images of creativity and imagination.

Granted, complex networks of machinery are exactly what one would find upon entering one of Google’s data centers, massive buildings which house the servers and fiber-optic cables necessary to power the world’s largest search engine. Though operations and protocol inside the buildings are rigid, Google has still found an outlet for creativity and a unique opportunity to partner with artists on the outside of its facilities through its Data Center Murals Project.


Vice President of Google Data Centers, Joe Kava, explains the artistic inspiration for the project: “because these buildings [data centers] typically aren’t much to look at, people usually don’t, and rarely learn about the incredible structures and people who make so much of modern life possible. To begin to change that, we created the Data Center Mural Project: a partnership with artists to bring a bit of the magic from the inside of our data centers to the outside.”


Through this initiative, Google supports artists who transform blank, boring data center facades into massive, multistory canvases. In Oklahoma, Google hired digital artist Jenny Odell to create a mural for the data center which serves much of the West and Midwest regions of the United States. Odell chose to create enormous, circular collages made up of imagery collected from Google Maps which emphasize modern infrastructure. In Belgium, street artist Oil-B painted his interpretation of ‘the cloud’ on the side of the data center responsible for operations in all of Western Europe. Each abstract cloud is composed of elements specific to the community, data center, and its employees.


While these are the only two murals at this time, Google hopes to expand the project, and is already in the process of installing murals on data centers located in Ireland and Iowa. Through its continual support of the arts, Google continues to reinvent and beautify the technology that drives modern life. 


Recruitment & Retention’s Secret Weapon

Posted by Stacy Lasner
Recruitment & Retention’s Secret Weapon


What keeps CEOs up at night? According to new research by The Conference Board, failure to attract and retain talent is at the top of the list, and innovation isn’t far behind. In December 2015, voluntary quits rose to nearly 3.1 million, the highest level since December 2006. For HR practitioners charged with battling these challenges, it’s time to raise the curtain on businesses’ secret weapon: the arts.


Build it and they will come.

Des Moines had an image problem. Creative millennials were leaving the city after graduation for more vibrant communities. To solve the problem, the city’s businesses banded together to fund The Des Moines Social Club, which now hosts over 700 events a year, manages four resident theater companies, and helps sustain many arts organizations in the city. The transformation is evident. In 2014, Fortune named Des Moines the #1 City with an Up-and-Coming Downtown and Forbes named Des Moines the #1 Best City for Young Professionals. The robust arts scene has helped creative employees see Des Moines as more than just cornfields.


Remember, inspired employees bring creativity to work.

Just as creative employees want live in a vibrant community, they crave a culturally rich work environment. An engaging company culture is a crucial asset for businesses competing for top talent. Facebook, for example, not only offers employees opportunities to take art classes but, like many companies of all sizes, it employs an artist-in-residence to help inspire creativity and present new ways for employees to think about their work. Other businesses like The Standard insurance company host employee art shows to engage employees, empowering them to exercise their creative skills and pursue their artistic passions.


Embrace diversity and open-mindedness.

According to a 2015 survey from Human Capital Media Advisory Group, the research arm of Talent Management magazine, "Almost three-quarters of human resources practitioners see diversity and inclusion as a strategic enabler for their companies' business strategy." Celebrating diversity communicates to employees and future employees that your business embraces an open exchange of ideas. Utility company PECO, for example, hosts multicultural events in Philadelphia, not only contributing to the city’s appeal, but also promoting its commitment to diversity in a visible way. Other businesses express their commitment to diversity by displaying corporate art collections in their lobbies.


     Take your employee communications cue from “AutoZone the Opera.”

Employee communication is key to retaining talented employees. Regardless of the industry, arts-training not only helps staff communicate better with one another, but artful messaging is more likely to hold employees’ attention. At AutoZone’s 2013 and 2014 national conferences, the company partnered with Opera Memphis to produce “AutoZone: The Opera.” The performances reminded employees about the company’s values and customer service procedures in a fun, memorable way.


Supporting the arts is not a new concept for America’s businesses, but in order to solve today's pressing human capital issues, HR practitioners need to tap into their own creativity and put the arts to work.


The pARTnership Movement is an initiative from Americans for the Arts to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Want to learn more?


Find additional ways that the arts can help your business thrive in 2016.


Read The pARTnership Movement essay on recruiting and retaining talent.


Read success stories showcasing how Americans businesses are using the arts to recruit and retain talent.


Find other examples of businesses using the arts to recruit and retain talent.


Sign up for our monthly arts and business newletter to receive more relevant research and examples of how the arts can help businesses recruit and retain talent.


Is your business using the arts to recruit and retain talent? Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at


Feedback Tips From the Metropolitan Opera

Posted by Stacy Lasner
Feedback Tips From the Metropolitan Opera

Whether your business is going through an organizational change or focusing on employee performance, setting clear expectations and creating a feedback plan for managers can have a real impact on employee retention. According to The National, six percent of Fortune 500 companies have already replaced traditional annual review performance rankings, primarily due to the need for more constant feedback, and the number is growing.


A Forbes article also makes the case that feedback is particularly important for millenial employees. "Many millennials have received adult feedback throughout their earlier years; they’ve often had close involvement from parents in their education and close support and encouragement from teachers and mentors at school. The contrast can be jarring when they arrive at their first professional position and suddenly have nobody who’s interested in telling them how they’re doing."


Executive coach Barry Goldberg recently had the opportunity to listen in on Arkansas' auditions for the New York Metropolitan Opera and noted some key takeways in Arkansas Business that managers can use when offering feedback to employees. For example:

  • “Here is what I wrote down…” Share specifics about what worked and what didn't. Be direct and fearless.
  • “What I think you should do is…” Offer clear recommendations. Show by example, if possible.
  • “I want to encourage you to…” Provide solid feedback about what is working.
  • “Please let me know how it is going…” Offer encouragement and create accountability.


To learn more about Goldberg's feedback observations, read his article here.


Has your arts training helped you be a better manager? Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at


Promote Your Arts Partnerships with The pARTnership Movement Ads

Posted by Stacy Lasner
Promote Your Arts Partnerships with The pARTnership Movement Ads

Have the arts made your work environment more creative and dynamic? Have they helped you to recruit and retain talent, engage employees, or foster critical thinking? Use The pARTnership Movement ads to spotlight your business's support of the arts internally and externally, and attract the attention of future clients and employees.


The pARTnership Movement ads can help businesses:

  • Recruit creative talent by sending a message to future employees that the business supports a creative culture.
  • Communicate to current employees about the company’s support for the arts and/or the value the business places on creativity and innovation.
  • Reach new customers by appealing to people who appreciate the arts.
  • Enhance their brand by encouraging people to think of the company as an asset to the community’s culture.


Here are some ways that businesses can use the ads:

  • Place the ads with your logo in local business journals, newspapers, or magazines.
  • Feature ads on a company website (e.g. career page, community engagement pages, etc.) or intranet site.
  • Include the ads on social media. (Sharing the ads on LinkedIn is a great way to recruit creative employees!)
  • Display the ads in newsletters, annual reports, and presentations for shareholders.
  • Brand internal and community arts events with the ads. Include them in event signage, invitations, program books, etc.


Do you represent an arts organization? Learn more about using The pARTnership Movement ads in our new tool-kit.


For more ways that supporting the arts helps businesses, check out The pARTnership Movement’s 8 reasons to partner with the arts.



Sign up for BCA Noteworthy, our monthly business and arts partnerships newsletter, to find case studies, research, and other resources to help you build and promote your arts partnerships, and hear from other business leaders engaging with the arts.


Spotlighting Your Arts Engagement on Social Media

Posted by Stacy Lasner
Spotlighting Your Arts Engagement on Social Media

A new survey of HR professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that social media has become an essential part of U.S. hiring. Of the 410 HR professionals who took part in the survey, 84 percent said they currently use social media for recruitment and 9 percent said they were planning on using it in the future.


According to the survey, "research has shown that although many people are open to new job opportunities, most are 'passive' job seekers and are not actively looking for new employement, and they may pursue an opportunity only if contacted regarding a new job." SHRM also discovered that, "a high percentage of HR professionals are also struggling to find qualified candidates for their vacancies, and the use of social media may help ease that difficulty." 


How can the arts help? 77 percent of the HR professionals surveyed claim that social media helps employers recruit by increasing employer brand and recognition, and 56 percent of respondents create an interest in jobs by posting useful information, photos, or video. If your company is fostering a fun and creative environment by engaging with the arts, this is a great way let future employees know!


  • Post a recruitment video that showcases your creative culture (like this one from Shopify) or a video of your employees performing at a work function.
  • Create a clever series of sharable recruitment ads like these, or use The pARTnership Movement ads on your social media feed.
  • Promote arts events in your community to attract new employees to the area. For example, 2015 BCA 10 honoree The Trust Company of Kansas underwrote a website dedicated to promoting local arts events in Wichita.


Learn more about how the arts helps businesses recruit and retain talent.


How do the arts help your business recruit and retain talent? Tell us on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at


Photo credit.


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