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Planning a Meeting? Don’t forget the Art!

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Planning a Meeting? Don’t forget the Art!

Expectations are changing in the world of corporate meetings. Nearly two-thirds of the meeting planners polled in Successful Meetings’ 2016 Trends Survey said the ‘need to create a compelling meeting experience for attendees’ is now key to creating effective meetings in 2016.

 

According to Mark Cooper, CEO of the International Association of Conference Centers, “a compelling media experience” might mean a teambuilding exercise or other experiential learning experience, or an opportunity to volunteer in the host community. In light of this trend, many hotels and conference centers throughout the United States are curating art experiences for meeting attendees—often in partnership with local artists or museums—that provide exposure to the city’s unique culture.

 

For example, according to an article on SuccessfulMeetings.com, the Westin Cleveland Downtown’s art collection now features pieces curated by local artists that evokes the Cuyahoga River and incorporates tree branches reclaimed from the construction of the Cleveland Innerbelt Bridge. “Our art collection enhances our guests’ overall experience by showcasing exceptional pieces that provide an intimate look and immediate understanding of the community they’re visiting,” says Karen Troyer, director of sales and marketing for Westin Cleveland.

 

Here are five other great examples:

 

  • Event planners Shackman and Associates New York organizes events for meeting attendees that challenge them to tap into their own creativity at local art studios.
  • The Hilton Anatole in Dallas offers a curated “art dine-around,” which pairs the hotel’s art pieces with food and beverage items from their country of origin, as well as an art scavenger hunt.
  • The Conrad Indianapolis offers guided tours of its art collection and often invites the artist to present his or her work to the group. At a recent Young Presidents’ Organization meeting, the hotel’s culinary team created a menu inspired by the art in the group’s meeting spaces.
  • Cleveland’s The Metropolitan at The 9 features an art studio and rotating gallery as part of its new Artist in Residency program.
  • Destination marketing company Alaska Destination Specialists Inc. recruits native Alaskan artists to offer working craft tables or booths to showcase sewing, beading, and carving skills.

 

“Absolutely, return on investment is critical,” says Carlson Wagonlit Travel Meetings & Events VP Cindy Fisher, “but so is ensuring that it’s an impactful event experience for those attendees.”

 

Have you incorporated the arts into your corporate meetings or attended a meeting that featured an art experience? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at partnership@artsusa.org.

 

Photo credit: The Westin Hotel in Cleveland by LAND studio. Photo by Ricky Rhodes.

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Van Gogh to Chicago with Airbnb

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Van Gogh to Chicago with Airbnb

The Art Institute of Chicago has created a 3D replica of Vincent van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles painting in an apartment building in Chicago and is inviting the public to stay overnight for $10 through Airbnb.

 

According to an article in The Guradian, "The surreal Airbnb listing was created as part of a new exhibition, Van Gogh’s Bedrooms, which brings together the three paintings of the same name that the artist created while living in 'The Yellow House' in Arles, Provence." The exhibit will also feature drawings, illustrated letters, and books from the artist's collection.

 

Reservations are booking up quickly, and the Art Institute is announcing available dates on its social media pages as part of its marketing efforts.

 

Airbnb also develops its own artful sleepover events, including a night on Ellis Island and a VIP package for the Greatful Dead's Fare Thee Well tour.

 

Photo: Airbnb.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson & David Byrne Discuss Arts' Impact on Creativity, Tourism & More

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Did you know that, "the more accomplished a scientist is, the more likely they are to have an artistic hobby?" In fact, according to an article on Priceonomics.com, "Members of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society -- elite societies of scientists, membership in which is based on professional accomplishments and discoveries -- are 1.7 and 1.9 times more likely to have an artistic or crafty hobby than the average scientist is. And Nobel prize winning scientists are 2.85 times more likely than the average scientist to have an artistic or crafty hobby."

 

December 6, 2015's episode of StarTalk with astrophyisicist Neil deGrasse Tyson features a conversation with musician David Byrne about the importance of funding arts education. The two discuss the impact of arts education on other disciplines, and how the arts build civilizations and boosts tourism...

 

 

Excerpted Neil deGrasse Tyson transcript: For anyone to say, let us cut art for anything else... suppose they did that in Renissance Europe. What would Europe be without the support and interest in a thriving culture of art? As we readily spend money to visit these cities and go to their museums, to turn around and say, "now I'm going to cut the art budget here?" That makes no sense to me. And it may be that science and art, which we know go together....it may be that art and science thought of in that way might be the only things we create that last beyond ourselves. Everything else comes and goes: the leaders, the politics, the economies. So am I biased? I don't know. But what I do know is that if there is a country without art, it's not a country I want to live in. If there's a country without science, you're living in a cave. We measure the success of a civilization by how well they treat their creative people.

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JetBlue’s Book Vending Machine Program Takes Off in D.C.

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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JetBlue’s Book Vending Machine Program Takes Off in D.C.

As we get ready for Arts in Education Week next week, here's a great story about how Jet Blue is encouraging students in underserved communities to engage with literature.

 

In 2011, JetBlue launched Soar with Reading, a cause-marketing program designed to “encourage kids’ imaginations to take flight through reading and get books into the hands of kids that need them most.” This year, the company launched a pilot program designed to provide children in underserved communities with access to books through book vending machines. The program is established in areas that where kids may have access to libraries, but lack the ability to build a home library of their own.


In July 2015, Soar with Reading stocked three vending machines throughout Southeast D.C. with free books for kids. According to the Soar with Reading website, the community will also have the opportunity to opt-in to a SMS campaign where JetBlue will provide age-appropriate reading tips, updates on vending machine book selections and information about “special-guest readers” appearing at the machines. Parents can sign up for text message alerts when the machines are restocked.


“A child can select their age and a topic and then get a book for free. They can come back as often as they like throughout the summer, and in addition to helping families start a library, we hope it shows retailers that there’s demand for access to age appropriate reading material in the community,” said Icema Gibbs, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for JetBlue Airways to Tayla Burney of the The Kojo Nnamdi Show.


The company chose D.C. to launch the project based on recent research showing that “in the shadow of our nation’s capital, in 2015, there is access to only one-age appropriate book for every 830 children.” JetBlue recently asked the public to vote for the next city to receive book vending machines. Next up...Detroit!


Learn more about the project.

 

Photo fromJetBlue Airlines.

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All Aboard Amtrak's New Writer-in-Residency Program

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Amtrak has taken a new interest in the literary artists that so frequently ride its rails. Our nation’s railroad service is now testing a new kind of artist-in-residency program—long roundtrip rides will provide a writing residency on select trains.

 

The idea was dreamt on Twitter by Amtrak fans and customers:

 

(Image courtesy of The Wire.)

 

Amtrak has since taken its residency program for a test run, offering select writers from the Twittersphere a free trip from New York to Chicago, with other trips in the works. The idea is that the train ride will provide a unique environment for creative thought. The goal will be to engage with writers several times per month, though specifics aren’t fully worked out.

 

The company has confirmed plans to keep the writer-in-residency program if not free, then low-cost. The program is still in its infancy, so the application process is yet to be defined. So far, residencies have been set up by Amtrak primarily through social media.

 

Amtrak is proud to pursue this endeavor, which supports writers of all backgrounds. As the company states, it’s about building a mutually beneficial relationship with these artists.

 

Writers are already chomping at the bit for their chance to board Amtrak and get to work the great American novel. Until a formal application process is released, we suggest following and communicating directly with Amtrak on Facebook and Twitter: @Amtrak.

 

UPDATE: Writers can now reigster for the Amtrak residency program at blog.Amtrak.com.

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Turn Your Stay into a Work of Art

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Turn Your Stay into a Work of Art

Known for its extraordinary architecture and elegance, the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee is much more than a place to rest your weary head. Since April 2009, the Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program has put the hotel on the map as a hospitality hotspot for those with a palate for the “palette.”

 

The Artist–in-Residence program transforms the hotel lobby and common spaces into a working art studio and gallery, open to hotel guests and visitors. The business center on the ground level has been renovated to accommodate both a workroom for artists as well as a space where art can be displayed. The community is encouraged to visit the hotel to witness the evolution of each piece first hand.

 

The Pfister’s Artist-in-Residence program is a member of the international Alliance of Artists Communities, an organization with more than 250 members that serves a diverse field of artist communities and residencies, supporting living artists in the creation of new work. Currently, the Pfister hosts artist Stephanie Barenz, a painter and architecture enthusiast from Milwaukee. Barenz was one of six finalists included in a 4-week public voting period. She was ultimately chosen by a selection committee consisting of leaders in the local art community as the fifth artist in the Pfister program. Her work focuses on travel and how journeys can transform perceptions of home, or other places visited.

 

“Each year, we are repeatedly impressed by the quality of artists who apply to our program,” said Joe Kurth, general manager of The Pfister Hotel. “We’re thrilled to be attracting such amazingly talented artists like Stephanie. Her proposal to bring a unique perspective by incorporating the memories and habits of the traveling public into her visual expressions will be an outstanding addition to the work of previous Pfister artists.”

 

“The Pfister is the perfect stage for my work, which deals with how travel affects one’s relationship to place,” comments Barenz. “The hotel carries thousands of stories from over a hundred years…Over the course of the year, I plan to create a body of work that will include 20 to 30 paintings. Images of these paintings will be turned into a book and I plan to collaborate with the Pfister Narrator, the hotel’s writer-in-residence. I am so looking forward to moving into the studio, starting my project, and getting to know more of the Milwaukee community through my platform at The Pfister.”

 

Building upon Charles Pfister’s vision of the “Grand Hotel of the West,” the Pfister hosts an expansive collection of Victorian art. In tandem with the contemporary works from the artist-in-residence, the artistic ambiance has made the Pfister Hotel a first-choice destination for memorable events such as galas and weddings.

 

“For decades, The Pfister has hosted the much acclaimed Victorian Art Collection, the largest of its kind in any hotel in the world,” comments Kurth. “We want to expand on our reputation as a destination hotel for art connoisseurs by offering our guests and the public a glimpse into the world of art as it is being created—in real time, by amazingly talented artists.”

 

For more information on the artistic initiatives at the Pfister Hotel, visit www.thepfisterhotel.com.

 

Inspired to start an art collection or residency program in your business? The pARTnership Movement can connect you with Americans for the Arts member organizations to advise you on pARTnerships that might work for you!

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Corporate Diversity Training Takes the Stage

Posted by Emily Peck
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Bloomberg Businessweek recently featured an article on the Mirage Hotel & Casino's new diversity training program. Instead of cajoling employees to participate in the optional diversity training program, the company had employees singing, dancing and putting on a show.

 

 

MGM Resorts "Inspiring Our World" from MultiVu Video on Vimeo.

 

 

Read an excerpt from the article:

 

"Roxanne Ramirez usually manages the card and gaming tables at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, but today she’s dancing for her paycheck. “I have no idea what I’m doing up there,” she says backstage at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, where she’s just finished singing and making jazz hands in front of 7,000 co-workers. Ramirez is one of 70 MGM Resorts International (MGM) employees who wrote, produced, and are now starring in their own production, Inspiring Our World: A Musical Journey, which explores MGM’s commitment to diversity and sustainability. It just may be the only corporate training program that involves sequined leotards.

 

The show, led by motivational speaker Ondra Berry, features all the corniness of a typical company event: group handshakes, mission statements, and claims that the employees work for “the greatest company in the world.” But instead of using PowerPoint slides, MGM has decided to set its spiel to music. It’s a one-shot attempt to get all of its 62,000 Las Vegas-based employees through its corporate diversity program, a voluntary two-day course that attracted only a fraction of MGM’s workers in the past. “We just couldn’t get our message out there fast enough, and we needed a way to reach everyone,” says Patty Coaley, director of diversity education at the company. Jim Murren, MGM’s chief executive officer, agrees. “People think ‘diversity’ just applies to stuff that happened in the 1960s, but we really wanted to broaden the scope to apply to everyone,” he says.

 

More than 120 employees auditioned to be a part of the show, which had 10 performances over three days in mid-December. Coaley and two other organizers didn’t ask for specific talents—they just had people arrive and do whatever they felt they did best. Ramirez sang Etta James’s At Last during her audition, while Joel Heidtman, a butler in the luxury suites in the Monte Carlo, juggled. “It was just like America’s Got Talent,” he says. “Everyone did something different.”"


Read the entire article at www.businessWeek.com.

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We Mean Business in Chattanooga

Posted by Dan Bowers
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We Mean Business in Chattanooga

I would characterize our relationship with our local business community as “maturing” and “promising.”

 

As a united arts fund agency, Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga has received significant support from our businesses over our 43-year history. Thanks to an influx of significant new businesses and a fresh look at our cultural resources, our future relationships with corporations are even more promising.

 

Despite our nation’s economic challenges, Chattanooga is experiencing a renaissance thanks to the impact of major new industries locating in our community, most notably Volkswagen (Did I mention that the Passat is a GREAT car?).

Fortunately for our arts community, when Volkswagen announced their decision to build their new Passat production plant they chose to do so at our fantastic Hunter Museum of American Art.

 

In their announcement, Volkswagen noted that in making their decision “the intangibles became tangible.” We, of course, have been touting to everyone that they were referring to the arts and the role they play in making Chattanooga a great place to live and work.

In addition to our Volkswagen boost, during the past two years, Allied Arts has facilitated a community cultural planning process that we named Imagine Chattanooga 20/20 (IC 20/20). Through this process we have deepened our connection with the community and have increased the perceived value for the arts.

 

Key to this effort was engaging two extremely well respected individuals to serve as chairs of IC 20/20. Ruth Holmberg has been a long-time advocate for the arts. As the former owner and publisher of the Chattanooga Times (and with direct connections to the New York Times), Ruth is a 90-year-old dynamo that has been amazing in her influence to move Chattanooga forward for decades.

 

Her co-chair, Tom White is a senior vice president with Unum, a leading local corporate citizen and the most significant business contributor to the arts in Chattanooga. Their leadership attracted other community leaders to participate in our cultural planning process and I can honestly and proudly claim that our steering committee was truly comprised of a who’s-who in Chattanooga.

 

Thanks to the guidance of our consultant, Dr. Thomas Wolf of WolfBrown, throughout Imagine Chattanooga 20/20, we kept our focus on not what the community could do for the arts, but rather what the arts can do for the community. We were able to engage significant community leaders in meaningful discussions about arts and economic development.

 

It also helped that the President of the local newspaper, The Chattanooga Times Free Press, was on the steering committee. Not only has Imagine Chattanooga 20/20 received great coverage, the newspaper developed the website for our cultural plan.

As a result of this new relationship with the paper, they are developing a comprehensive community event calendar—print, online, and mobile versions—through a partnership with Allied Arts, our local NBC-TV affiliate, the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), and River City (our downtown development agency).

 

Speaking of the CVB, we have had great interactions with them about cultural tourism and have recently convened meetings with them and our local arts organizations. Together we are working to utilize the arts to attract arts-focused conventions, use the arts to attract and serve non-arts focused conventions and train the hospitality community about our cultural resources.

 

The icing on the cake that has reaffirmed all of our new relationships with the business community is the new findings from Arts and Economic Prosperity IV. Already we have received great feedback from our local report which shows the arts making a $106 million impact on our local economy.

 

As you can see—we mean business when we say that the arts mean business in Chattanooga.

 

*This post was originally featured on ARTSblog

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Miami's Marriage of Arts and Tourism

Posted by Laura Bruney
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Miami's Marriage of Arts and Tourism

Cultural Tourism is exploding here in a Miami—in a good way according to Bruce Turkel, CEO of TURKEL, a travel and tourism marketing firm in Miami.

 

“It makes sense that when you have people coming from all around the world there are so many advantages,” says Turkel referring to the increase of cultural tourism here in Miami. “When they come originally, they come specifically for our core offerings which are weather, water, and dolphins. But after a while, they start looking for additional things and then those things are created.”

 

On Thursday, April 5, Mr. Turkel electrified a group of 120 attendees all representing either the tourism and hospitality industry or the arts at the Annual Breakfast with the Arts & Hospitality Industry, a program of the Arts & Business Council of Miami. The topic: Partnerships between the arts and tourism.

 

“When you have people from other locales in the community, they start to want to contribute these things [cultural offerings] and all of a sudden, we can take a place in the world economy,” says Turkel.

 

The conversation is a fairly fresh one here in Miami. We’ve seen overwhelming successes of art shows like Basel Miami and its satellite fairs. The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (GMCVB) signature programs spawned by George Neary including Miami Museum Month, Miami Music Month, Miami Attractions Month, and Miami Spa Month have all had a tremendous impact on reinforcing the bond between tourism and the arts. 

 

“The newest Frank Gehry-designed performing arts center? It’s in Miami. The hottest festivals and events? They’re in Miami, too. The most important art, marine, and electronica music festivals? They’re all in Miami. Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami? Again, I’m pretty sure you’ve got it,” says Turkel. Turkel noted that it seems simple now, but it took a lot of work for his company and the GMCVB to convince the power structure throughout our county to narrow our marketing focus from every community and every tourist asset to just five letters: M-I-A-M-I.

 

“We aren’t from Pinecrest, Miami Shores, Aventura, and all the other cities individually, says George Neary, “We all are from MIAMI.”

 

Mr. Neary recognizes that the development and success of neighborhoods like Wynwood and the Design District are proof that people don’t want to just stay in their smaller cities anyone. Now, they want to explore and excavate all the precious gems of arts and culture that have been growing in our own backyards with the help of enthusiasts like the Goldman family and the Rubell family.

 

According to Turkel Talks, Bruce’s blog, the cultural community plays a big role in our record setting visitors this year.

 

Jenni Person, director of Miami arts group Next@19th, has partnered with The Betsy Hotel on South Beach for poetry readings, performances, and events.

 

“Working with The Betsy helps generate visibility for our work and extends our reach to their substantial audience interested in the arts. The promotional value is priceless.

 

Through our partnership they champion and support Next@19th which sends a message to potential audience and funders about the company we keep. What does the hotel get in return? Patrons who eat and drink in their restaurant and lounge are potential new clients. All of our audiences see the hotel brand in promotional material for our programs. There is great synergy between the two audiences and partners. It is a win-win for us all.”

 

But the list goes on of cultural tourism partnerships that are creating a draw for tourism bringing us even more arts and cultural opportunities.

 

“George Cozonis of the W Hotel works very closely with the folks at Art Basel to put on special events, the Betsy Hotel is also very involved [in the arts], as well as the Sonesta, Mutiny, and Ritz Carlton in Coconut Grove” says Turkel.

 

While the ocean-drive-beach-bound tourist is not extinct, the new approach encourages locals, vacationers, and visitors to experience Miami in a way that didn’t recognize before. This new approach allows all of us to experience our vast international marketing by exploring the arts, food and entertainment. All of which are foundations across many cultures.

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Disney Set Citizenship Targets

Posted by Emily Peck
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Disney Set Citizenship Targets

Disney's 2012 Citizenship Targets recognize the importance of creativity for the future workforce.

 

"Worldwide, creativity skills are declining in youth while economic shifts are placing emphasis on creativity and innovation. Creativity is a competitive advantage for companies, including Disney. Employers need these skills in our next generation of employees. Additionally, creativity is vital to solve the problems that exist today, and ones unimagined. Disney continues to seek a world where kids and families can create the futures they imagine."

 

Meg Crofton, President, Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts Operations and a 2011 BCA 10 winner said, "Whether music, dance, painting or poetry, the arts do two things that have always been close to our hearts at Disney – they capture the imagination and tell us a story. As a company whose roots are in storytelling, we consider the arts essential to both our business and our community. That’s why Walt himself initiated the Disney tradition of supporting the arts … and why we are eager and proud to carry on that tradition.”

 

Read Disney's 2012 Citizenship Targets.

 

Learn more about the importance of the arts and creativity for the future workforce in our report Ready to Innovate writtern in partnership with The Conference Board and the American Association of School Administrators.

 

*Photo from 2011 BCA 10 winner Walt Disney World Resorts:

Mickey Mouse joins a young patient at the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children, to experience the soothing, interactive lobby designed and created by Disney Imagineers.

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