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"3 Reasons Your Business Should Support the Arts" from NV Energy's Community Relations Manager

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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This year, NV Energy was named Nevada's first BCA 10 honoree for its support of the arts. In an op-ed in the Reno Gazette-Journal, the company's Community Relations Manager, Karen Ross, spotlights three reasons that businesses should support the arts.

 

  1. A thriving arts community helps recruit talent.
  2. The arts contribute to the economy and quality of life.
  3. Arts drive tourism.

 

A thriving arts community helps recruit talent.

"Employees want to live and work in a vibrant community. Arts businesses and the creative people they employ stimulate innovation, strengthen America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, and play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy," says Ross.

 

Learn more about how the arts can help a community recruit talent.

 

The arts contribute to the economy and quality of life.

Americans for the Arts' Arts & Economic Prosperity study discusses the important financial impact of arts and cultural organizations and their audiences.

 

Learn more about how the arts contribute to the economy and quality of life.

 

Arts drive tourism.

Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that the percentage of international travelers including museum visits on their trip has grown steadily since 2003 (18 to 28 percent). The share attending concerts and theater performances has grown from 14 to 18 percent since 2003.

 

Learn more about how the arts impacts tourism.

 

"Support for the arts contributes to communities that thrive and grow," Ross says. "Although the return on investment for a business may at first seem intangible, the long-term results speak for themselves in terms of economic diversification, tourism and educational performance."

 

Read the full op-ed here.

 

Photo: Sculpture at the annual Artown festival in Reno, which is supported by NV Energy.

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Put Your Company in the Spotlight

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Launching today, the second essay in The pARTnership Movement essay series, Put Your Company in the Spotlight, explores how engaging with the arts can help a business build market share, enhance its brand, and reach new customers.

 

Featuring research and successful case studies from some of America’s top companies, including Portland General Electric Company (PGE) and Payless ShoeSource, this essay offers insight into why 79% of businesses agree that the arts increases name recognition, and 74% of businesses say the arts offer networking opportunities to developing businesses (2010 BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts).

 

By hosting Art Jams, a two-day art-making event at a PGE powerhouse, PGE was able to create a favorable brand image and ensure that the company is viewed as an asset to the community. The arts gave PGE a way to create a personal, emotional connection though electricity, something invisible, intangible, and ethereal.

 

Partnering with the arts “generated a tremendous amount of goodwill toward PGE,” says Jane Reid, chair of the Estacada Arts Commission who worked with PGE on their Art Jams event. “The Art Jams have renewed awareness of PGE’s founding and sustaining role in our community.”

 

For Payless, a partnership with American Ballet Theatre on a new line of ballet shoes gave the brand credibility and helped the company connect with potential new customers.

 

Arts partnerships offer companies effective and cost-efficient methods of achieving critical business goals. Check out the first essay in The pARTnership Movement essay series, Recruit and Retain Talent, to learn how, by partnering with the arts, businesses can attract and retain the talented, motivated people they need in order to gain a competitive edge and outperform the competition.

 

Do you know of a company that partnered with the arts to enhance its brand and reach new customers? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at pARTnership@artsusa.org.

 

Read more about how top businesses are partnering with the arts to put their company in the spotlight.

 

Learn more about The pARTnership Movement essay series.

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NV Energy Shares Its Arts & Business Story Statewide

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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NV Energy Shares Its Arts & Business Story Statewide

2015 BCA 10 honoree NV Energy employees have traveled across Nevada to share the story of their successful arts and business partnerships and celebrate their BCA 10 recognition. NV Energy has been supportive of the arts for nearly 30 years through the NV Energy Foundation, and in the past 10 years alone, the foundation has committed $3.4 million towards arts and culture initiatives in rural and urban Nevada.

 

In collaboration with the Nevada Arts Council, the agency who nominated NV Energy for the award, the announcements began in Reno, Nevada on June 30, 2015, hosted by Arts for All Nevada at the Lake Mansion. The strategy was to invite local media and representatives of arts organizations supported by NV Energy and the NV Energy Foundation from throughout the state to learn of this prestigious and first-time award for a business in Nevada.

 

Subsequent events were hosted in Elko, Nevada on July 6 at the Northeastern Nevada Museum and in Las Vegas on July 15 at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The host locations represented the diversity of communities in Nevada from the western frontier to Nevada’s most urban centers. Nevada Arts Council Board Members were present at each event to provide the background and context of the award.

 

“The Nevada Arts Council submitted this nomination because the Nevada Arts Council and NV Energy and the NV Energy Foundation are committed to ensuring that Nevada remains rich in arts,” said Susan Boskoff, executive director of the Nevada Arts Council. “We mutually believe that the arts are absolutely essential to the wellbeing of our state - creating vibrant communities, diversifying local economies and providing our children a complete education.”

 

“At NV Energy we believe the arts are essential to the quality of life for all Nevadans wherever they live,” said Paul Caudill, NV Energy president and CEO. Caudill is also chairman of the NV Energy Foundation. “The arts build vibrant communities - whether large or small, urban, or rural. Not only are the arts good for communities, they are good for business and are critical to economic diversification, tourism and educational reform strategies. While this award is an honor, the recognition is really a reflection on the thriving arts organizations working so hard every day to create art opportunities for all of us to enjoy.”

 

Learn more about NV Energy’s arts contributions.

 

Do you know of a business that deserves to be recognized for the contributions to the arts? Nominations for the 2016 BCA 10 awards open in November 2015. Learn more about the BCA 10.

 

Photo features NV Energy's Mary Simmons, Vice President, Business Development and Community Strategy, being interviewed by a local news station in Reno. Courtesy of NV Energy.
 

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PECO Puts Its Energy into the Arts and Culture

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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When businesses partner with the arts, they partner with the whole city. As Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility company, PECO, based in Philadelphia, has a long-standing commitment to arts and culture. In fact, the company invests more than $1 million in the performing and visual arts in the Greater Philadelphia region each year. For this tremendous dedication to the arts, PECO was recognized as a BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree in 2014.

 

“At PECO, we celebrate the arts, and the major role they play in human development and economic impact in the Greater Philadelphia area,” said Craig Adams, president and CEO.” Every day, we put our energy into organizations and programs that make the arts more accessible to a wider audience.”

 

Through PECO-sponsored programs, people of all ages and backgrounds have an opportunity to enjoy and experience the arts throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. PECO is a longtime sponsor of arts events such as Philadelphia’s Free First Sundays at The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and various free summer concert series in the suburban six-county area. They also support many renowned arts organizations, including Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Orchestra, Mann Center for Performing Arts and People’s Light and Theater Company.

 

In 2015, the company is proud to sponsor exhibitions like “Horace Pippin” The Way I See It” at the Brandywine River Museum. This exhibit showcases the work of one of the most prolific American artists of the 20th century. PECO also helped bring hundreds of Mongolian artifacts to Philadelphia by sponsoring “Genghis Khan: Bring the Legend to Life” at The Franklin Institute.

 

PECO also celebrates arts and diversity year round through the PECO Multicultural Series at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. With festivals devoted to Hispanic, Southeast Asian, African-American culture and more, the PECO Multicultural Series reflects the great diversity of the customers and communities PECO serves.

 

Thanks to PECO's support, an exhibit of the acclaimed American Hands photo project by Sally Wiener Grotta will be on display at the Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, through June 15. Learn more.

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Eastern Salt Company's Shelagh Mahoney Joins BCA Executive Board

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the appointment of Shelagh Mahoney, CEO and owner of Eastern Salt Company, Inc., Eastern Minerals Inc., and Atlantic Salt, Inc., to its Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) Executive Board.

 

The BCA, a division of Americans for the Arts, works to ensure that the arts flourish in America by encouraging, inspiring, and stimulating businesses to support the arts in the workplace, in education, and in the community. The BCA Executive Board is comprised of business leaders who provide leadership and expertise on key BCA initiatives including messaging, advocacy, and strategic alliances.

 

Mahoney’s company Atlantic Salt, Inc. was selected as a BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree in 2013 for their sponsorship of the annual LUMEN festival on Staten Island, which features video and performance art by emerging artists and more established artists at the forefront of their media.

 

Read the full press release here.

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Ameren Employees Raise Over $109,000 for the Arts in St. Louis

Posted by Samantha Sharon
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Employees of Ameren Corporation – a holding company for several power and energy companies in the St. Louis region – have raised an impressive sum of $109,000 for the Arts and Education (A&E) Council of St. Louis this year. Since 1986, Ameren has led an A&E Workplace Giving Campaign to support its region’s only United Arts Fund, whose mission is to build appreciation, participation and support for arts and arts education throughout the St. Louis community. With the success of this year’s campaign, Ameren’s total contributions to the A&E Council now total $2.7 million dollars, an amount that has allowed the council to bring priceless arts opportunities to St. Louis over the years. 

 

Since 1986, Ameren executives have striven to emphasize to their employees the benefits of living in a community with a thriving arts scene. As President and CEO of Ameren Warner L. Baxter told St. Louis Today, “The Arts and Education Council’s contribution to our region cannot be overstated, and that is why thousands of Ameren’s co-workers throughout our company support the A&E annual campaign on behalf of the arts so generously.”

 

Aside from the Workplace Giving Campaign, Ameren acts as a corporate partner to A&E, supporting and funding its various efforts throughout the year, including its signature annual event, the St. Louis Arts Awards.

 

Through its generous support of the A&E Council, Ameren has not only made an investment in the cultural sector of St. Louis, but has also made a significant impact on the city’s economy by helping to make it a more desirable and vibrant place to live, work and raise families. With this year’s outstanding donation of $109,000 to the A&E Council, Ameren hopes to inspire other companies to follow its lead and to realize how business and arts partnerships can foster the economic development, cultural growth and community engagement of any region.

 

For more information on Ameren's approach to sustainability, visit Ameren.com.

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Breakfast of Champions: Con Edison Welcomes ABC/NY Multicultural Interns

Posted by Samantha Sharon
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Breakfast of Champions: Con Edison Welcomes ABC/NY Multicultural Interns

The Arts and Business Council of New York’s annual Multicultural Arts Management Internship program kicked off Monday, June 2 with a welcome breakfast at the offices of Con Edison, the lead sponsor of the program. The internship program, which was initiated in 1985, aims to build the next generation of diverse arts leaders by exposing interns from diverse backgrounds to both the arts and business worlds of New York City. 

 

Each student in the program is paired with a different arts organization where they will work daily for 10 weeks on projects involving marketing, public relations, fundraising and community outreach. This year’s slate of host organizations includes the Bronx Museum of Art, Free Arts NYC and the Louis Armstrong House Museum, among many other notable arts nonprofits throughout the city.

 

Another crucial component of the program involves matching a member of the business community to each intern as a mentor. The majority of this year’s mentors come from Con Edison, while the remaining work at Time Warner and The JUDD Foundation. The job of the mentors is to teach their interns valuable business skills as well as how to balance a career in business while remaining actively engaged with the arts. 

 

The welcome brunch brought together all 11 interns, along with their business mentors and their hosts from the various arts organizations at which they were placed. Hilary Ayala, Director of Grassroots Programs at Con Edison, gave opening remarks to welcome the interns, describing her experience as a business mentor in this program and explaining why Con Edison supports this endeavor year after year.  Ayala noted that Con Edison has a long tradition of social responsibility and community support and that the company views the arts as a crucial way to give back and engage with the world around them. “Not all of us who participate in the arts are on the stage,” she said, emphasizing Con Edison’s behind-the-scenes yet significant role in supporting the arts as well as hinting at the important responsibility businesses have to engage with the arts.

As the breakfast came to an end, the group of 11 interns stood together to take a photograph that would mark the beginning of their summer journey through the art and business worlds of New York City. Each intern donned a huge smile on his or her face, seemingly aware of the golden opportunity that lay before them this summer and eager to get started.

 

Learn more about ABC/NY’s Multicultural Arts Management Internship program at AmericansForTheArts.org/ABC-NY. Applications for the summer of 2015 will open online in the fall.

 

The Multicultural Arts Management Internship Program is sponsored by Con Edison. Additional support is provided by the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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Energy Companies Help Fuel the Houston Arts Scene

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Energy Companies Help Fuel the Houston Arts Scene

(Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan visits Houston in April, presented by Society for the Performing Arts, whose 2013-14 season is underwritten by Reliant Energy. Photo courtesy of The Houston Chronicle.)

 

The following article from The Houston Chronicle takes a look at Houston-based energy companies Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and others who have helped to establish the city's biggest arts organizations and the major foundations that still support them. ExxonMobil and Chevron, for example, encourage employees to volunteer and donate as individuals by offering matching grants, while Shell sponsors the free admission and extended hours on Thursdays at the Museum of Fine Arts. Regardless of the partnership, it is clear that the vibrant arts scene in Houston is being "fueled" by a few friendly energy giants. Click the link below to read the full article.

 

Energy Companies Help Fuel the Arts Scene

 


"When I hear that there's a milestone or a chance to innovate, it opens my brain. And when I'm around these creative people, magic happens."

 

-Joni Baird, Houston Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs at Chevron

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Ameren Employees Raise Nearly $102,000 for the Arts in St. Louis in 2013

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Ameren Employees Raise Nearly $102,000 for the Arts in St. Louis in 2013

The Arts and Education Council, the St. Louis region’s United Arts Fund, recently announced that employees of Ameren Corporation have raised nearly $102,000 for the arts and arts education this year. This brings the total for Ameren’s annual A&E Workplace Giving Campaigns to $2.6 million since the corporation’s first A&E campaign in 1986.  Gifts to A&E help support arts and arts education organizations in the 16-county bi-state St. Louis region. 

 

“Each year we stress to our employees how important this campaign is to our community,” said Shawn Schukar, senior vice president of trading and marketing, A&E board member, and Ameren’s campaign chair. “This year was no different; Ameren continued to focus on supporting our communities with the participation from our employees."

 

“As a corporate leader, I recognize how support of the arts contributes to our success in recruiting and retaining a talented and innovative workforce,” said Thomas R. Voss, Ameren Chairman, president and CEO. “Ameren proudly participates in A&E’s annual fundraising efforts through Workplace Giving Campaigns, corporate giving and by supporting the organization’s signature fundraising event, the St. Louis Arts Awards.”

Ameren was recognized as “Corporate Support for the Arts” honoree at the 2010 St. Louis Arts Awards.  Voss and his wife, Carol, an A&E board member, served as co-chairs for the 2012 St. Louis Arts Awards.

 

“The business community’s support of the arts helps make St. Louis a more desirable place to live, work and raise families,” said Cynthia A. Prost, A&E president. “Because of the generosity of employees like Ameren’s who donate to A&E, we are able to fund outstanding arts education programming for children and adults of every demographic living in urban, rural and suburban communities. The St. Louis arts and cultural climate would not be as diverse, accessible or vibrant without the critical support of our friends at Ameren,” noted Prost. “Our region’s exceptional arts community is vital to our continued growth and economic development. In fact, the arts support 10,000 jobs here and generate more than $582 million for the local economy annually.”  

 

On Nov. 14, Ameren will be further honored at the National Philanthropic Day event of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, St. Louis Chapter, which selected Ameren for the organization’s 2013 “Outstanding Corporate Philanthropic Program” award.

 

For more information on The Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, visit KeepArtHappening.org. To find out more about Ameren's arts partnerships and other community building initiatives, visit Amaren.com.

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A Utility Player Comes Through

Posted by Tim Yergeau
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A Utility Player Comes Through

Mayor Pedro Segarra and the Northeast Utilities video team getting ready to film.

 

The arts and corporate communities have an interesting, long-standing relationship—especially here in Hartford. In fact, the Greater Hartford Arts Council owes its very existence to the corporate community.

 

Back in 1971, businesses got together and encouraged the creation of one fundraising and grantmaking entity to support the arts and cultural organizations in Hartford that were growing at an astonishing pace—and, understandably, had increased their need for donations and institutional support. Since then, a somewhat amusing relationship has formed between the arts and business: companies like strong arts organizations—they attract workers, give the neighborhood a rich, vibrant flavor and provide opportunities for positive stewardship.

 

The arts, too, rely on business for more than just philanthropy: the wealth of resources in the corporate world, from providing pro bono services and building connections with local leaders and everyday employees, businesses have much to offer the arts.

Yet we all seem to get hung up on the almighty dollar.

 

Trust me, it’s something we talk about every day. Probably multiple times a day. How much is this company willing to give? Who can we get to sponsor this event? How many employees do they have—and, how successful will the employee giving drive turn out to be?

 

The unfortunate reality of an unforgiving fundraising climate is that we sometimes miss the forest beyond the trees.

 

Businesses have a lot more to offer than financial support, so we need to make sure we take advantage of every resource. As marketing, fundraising, and community outreach professionals, we must always be looking for new opportunities to help the arts—even if there’s no dollar sign attached.

 

A lesson beyond the bottom line.

I learned (well, re-learned) this lesson the good way the other day. We’ve been having conversations with Northeast Utilities (NU) about their annual workplace giving campaign, and suddenly they struck upon an ingenious idea: wouldn’t it be great if the arts council had a compelling, well-produced video appeal to use for the 2012 United Arts Campaign? And, what if it featured Mayor Pedro Segarra, this year’s campaign chair? Is that something NU could offer?

 

The answer was yes to all of the above.

 

Obviously I loved the idea. The professional video and editing services at Northeast Utilities go way, way (way, way, way) beyond what I could afford to pay. So sure, they’re not cutting us a check. But, their pro bono, in-kind support will give us a valuable fundraising and community relations tool that we wouldn’t have been able to create on our own. Plus, it reminds the community of all of the good work our corporate partners do for nonprofits—a win-win for both of us.

 

Meaghan, one of our workplace giving associates, joined me at City Hall to meet the team from NU to film the Mayor’s address. While we don’t have the final cut yet, I can tell you from seeing the first edit that this is going to be a great video. What I can do is post a few of my (in)famous blurry cell phone picks for a ‘behind the scenes’ video set-up of the Mayor and the NU tech team in action (see above).

 

This was a great, eye-opening (or eye-re-opening) experience about what businesses can contribute beyond the bottom line.

 

I was talking to another staff member today—Laura, also from the workplace giving team—about Americans for the Arts’ pARTnership movement, an evolving campaign that aims to build better, mutually beneficial relationships between arts organizations and the business community.

 

This story would be right up their alley…

 

Special thanks to Laura, Jon and Mark from Northeast Utilities, and everyone in the Mayor’s office for making this project a reality.

 

(Editor’s Note: This post original appeared on the Greater Hartford Arts Council Blog on May 10, 2012 and was re-posted on ARTSblog.)

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