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Legend of Leadership

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly honored Chuck Surack, founder and owner of BCA 10 honoree Sweetwater Sound, as its 2017 Legend of Leadership.

 

 

Chuck Surack is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, community volunteer, pilot, musician, husband and father who has spent his career not only serving as a leader in his profession but also as a servant leader for non-profits and the community.

 

Surack has served on the boards of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra, WBNI/WBOI Public Radio, Unity Performing Arts Foundation, the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Tower Bank, the National Association of Music Merchants and other organizations. He is currently a board member for Easter Seals ARC of Northeast Indiana, the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo (where he was previously Board President), the Boy Scouts of America Advisory Board, Lutheran Hospital, Lutheran Health Network, and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Office of Development. 

 

Surack and his wife contribute to more than 500 nonprofit organizations annually; they also established the Chuck and Lisa Surack Endowed Scholarship for Music Technology at the University of Saint Francis.

 

“I’ve been a musician for as long as I can remember. From my success in business as a music technology retailer, to the joy I experience playing with my band every week, it’s difficult to count up all the blessings that music has brought to my life. For my wife Lisa and me, supporting the arts is a way of paying forward all those blessings, and a great pleasure.”

–Chuck Surack, Founder and President, Sweetwater Sound, Inc

 

Sweetwater Sound, Inc. is committed to serving the arts in order to give back to the community from which it derives its support. While much of the music industry is centered in Nashville and Los Angeles, the company established its headquarters in Fort Wayne, IN, where the cost of living and the quality of life in the city would be attractive to potential employees. Since it was established in 1979, the company has supported local arts organizations through donations; sponsorships; and in-kind products and services, including free musical instruments and equipment, free recording time, both in-studio and at performances.

 

Sweetwater is the fourth largest retailer of music instruments and music technology in the United States. The vast majority of Sweetwater employees are musicians, which means that its operating culture is immersed with music and musicmaking. More than half of Sweetwater’s employees are recruited from out of state and the high quality of the Fort Wayne arts community is one of the incentives provided to candidates.

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Research and Theatre: A Life’s Devotion

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Research and Theatre: A Life’s Devotion

When Merrill Shugoll was selling candy at the Kennedy Center in her youth, would she have thought that she would become a research leader for arts organizations? As President of Shugoll Research in Bethesda, MD, Merrill and her team provide market research services to corporate and nonprofit clients including theatre companies, all over the country. In this interview from Broadwayworld.com, hear from the company’s CEO Mark Shugoll and President Merrill Shugoll – a husband and wife duo with a mutual love for research, theatre, and arts.

 

In the interview, Mark and Merrill talk about the importance of business and community leaders joining Boards of arts and theatre organizations.  They also share how their business came to adopt the arts as its corporate and philanthropic cause, and came to identify the arts sector as having the same [research] needs as the private sector.

 

Merrill also shares how theatre can open up one’s mind to other groups of people and that just one show, South Pacific, helped expose her to prejudice.

 

 

 

Not only is Shugoll Research a recipient of BCA 10 award but Mark Shugoll is also a lively and proud member of Americans for the Arts BCA Executive Board.

 

In January 2017, Shugoll Research was named by Chief Executive magazine a winner of its First Annual (2017) Corporate Citizenship Award for Culture and Arts. Shugoll Research was honored for its commitment to supporting arts organizations and helping to build future audiences for the arts among young people with its 20-year old initiative ArtSpeak!, which brings theater artists into public schools. These artists excite and educate young people about the arts by performing, participating in talk-backs, and talking about their careers. Coverage of the awards will appear in the March/April issue of Chief Executive magazine.

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Blick Art Materials CEO Discusses the Impact of the Arts at the BCA 10 Gala

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On October 5, 2016, Robert Buchsbaum, CEO of Blick Art Materials, the nation’s premier art supply source, accepted Americans for the Arts' 2016 BCA Leadership Award at the BCA 10 gala at the Central Park Boathouse in NYC.

 

During his speech, he recognized the arts for injecting courage, confidence, and creativity into leaders. He also acknowledged that leading an art supply company, he understands how imperative it is for the arts to survive and flourish, especially for youth.

 

Watch Robert Buchsbaum’s acceptance speech below, and learn about how you can nominate a business that partners with the arts for the 2017 BCA 10. If you are a business leader or community leader who wants to share or learn more about partnerships that benefit both the business and arts community, please contact us.  We want to hear from you.

 

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Aetna Inc.’s Glowing Remarks at the 2016 BCA Gala: A Healthy Outlook on the Arts from a Health Care Leader

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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On October 5, 2016, Aetna Inc., leading health care company, received the 2016 BCA Hall of Fame award.  Aetna’s Vice President of Community Relations and Urban Marketing, Floyd Green, accepted the award on the company’s behalf at the BCA 10 gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City.

 

Floyd’s dynamic speech (video below) attributed the arts to so many necessaries of how we “live, work, and play”.  Touching on areas connected to mindfulness and creativity, Floyd acknowledged the artistic weave that arises in work, development, and production to spark innovation. 

 

As a 2011 BCA 10 honoree, it was very fitting that Floyd welcomed the other honorees in the room to the “family”. Watch Floyd Green’s acceptance speech below, and learn about how you can nominate a business that partners with the arts for the 2017 BCA 10. If you are a business leader or community leader who wants to share or learn more about partnerships that benefit both the business and arts community, please contact us.  We want to hear from you.

 

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Badger Meter’s CEO Shares Expressive and Crucial Remarks at the BCA 10

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Badger Meter’s CEO Shares Expressive and Crucial Remarks at the BCA 10

On October 5, 2016, Badger Meter, manufacturer of flow measurement and control technology products received a BCA 10 award.  Badger Meter’s Chairman, President, and CEO, Richard Meeusen, accepted the award on the company’s behalf at the BCA 10 gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City.

 

During his exciting speech, he talked about how the arts and creativity have positively affected a majority of his staff, no matter what department they represent.  He acknowledged the arts as a large part of the inspiration needed to run businesses successfully and stimulate critical thinking among his staff.

 

Nominations are now open for the 2017 BCA 10.  If you are a business leader or community leader who wants to share or learn more about partnerships that benefit both the business and arts community, please contact us.  We want to hear from you.

 

Watch Richard Meeusen’s speech:

 

 

photo: Rana Faure

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U.S. Bank and others Honored at the Arts Breakfast of Champions

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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U.S. Bank and others Honored at the Arts Breakfast of Champions

More than 340 guests joined the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) and RACC’s Business Committee for the Arts at the Portland Art Museum on February 24, 2016 for the organization’s annual Arts Breakfast of Champions.

 

“We wanted to celebrate not only the generosity of businesses who support the arts but also the vital role arts and artists play in making Portland a wonderful place to do business, visit, give voice to our diversity, educate our young people and live in a thriving creative environment,” said Eloise Damrosch, RACC’s Executive Director, about the event.

 

This year’s breakfast honored several businesses in the Portland, Oregon region, including some who had previously been recognized by Americans for the Arts as BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honorees, such as:

 

  

U.S. Bank (2015 BCA 10 honoree)

 

 

 Portland General Electric (2010 BCA 10 honoree)

 

Boeing Company (2007 and 2006 BCA 10 honoree)

 

 Wells Fargo & Company (2005 BCA 10 honoree)

 

“Support for the arts has many benefits for artists and audiences, such as providing exposure to cultural diversity, promoting self-expression, initiating creative problem solving, building economic prosperity, and enhancing quality of life,” U.S. Bank’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Davis said upon being named a BCA 10 recipient in 2015. “The numerous partnerships between businesses and arts organizations serve to foster civic pride and create sustainable cultural institutions, making our communities better places for everyone to live, work, and play.” Watch a video of Richard Davis’s acceptance speech at the BCA 10 here.

 

 

The Arts Breakfast of Champions also saluted US Representative from Oregon Suzanne Bonamici, who helped to start the Congressional STEAM Caucus and most recently was able to amend the new Every Student Succeeds Act (replacing No Child Left Behind) to add the arts as a part of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

 

 

The Arts Breakfast of Champions was established in 1995 by Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts (NWBCA) as an annual celebration of corporate philanthropy. RACC has established a new Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) that is continuing the breakfast event to recognize top corporate donors to the arts, and to provide motivating examples of how businesses are using the arts to inspire employees, stimulate innovation and foster creative collaboration.

 

Congratulations to all of the honorees!

 

Photo: Andie Petkus Photography

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Celebrating STEAM at NASDAQ

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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On February 4, 2016, We Connect The Dots–a STEAM education program–joined with Microsoft to ring the opening bell of the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City.

 

The ceremony celebrated the success of We Connect the Dots, its partnership with Microsoft, and their collective work to close the opportunity divide in technology, education and STEAM education. We Connect the Dots was founded by former Microsoft employee Laurie Carey.

 

The event signaled to business leaders worldwide the value of arts education in creating tomorrow's leaders in the business world and beyond.

 

"In addition to being one of the most innovative technology companies in the world, Microsoft is dedicated to addressing the opportunity divide that too many young people face. Working with nonprofits like We Connect the Dots, Microsoft is working to close the gap between those that have access to the skills and training they need to be successful, and those who do not." --Michael Sokoll, CFA, Senior Managing Director on the Market Intelligence Desk

 

o ring the opening bell of the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City. - See more at: http://www.americansforthearts.org/news-room/art-in-the-news/steam-program-rings-nasdaq-opening-bell?utm_source=MagnetMail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=poherron@artsusa.org&utm_content=creativity%5Fconnection%5F2%5F4%5F16&utm_campaign=Creativity%20Connection%3A%20February%202016#sthash.HQJtWDz5.dpuf
We Connect The Dots – a STEAM education program

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Telephone Repairman Finds True Calling in Shoe Design

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Where do you find inspiration? In December, AARP posted a video interview with shoe designer Chris Donovan. After working as a telephone repairman for 25 years, Donovan quit his job to follow his dream: designing women’s shoes.

 

 

Donovan "derives his inspiration from Theology, current events and his life experiences as a technician also living and working in a fishing port," his website claims. He has even created shoes featuring sutures for seams and hip replacements for heels.

 

After retiring from the telephone business, Donovan spent two years in Italy at Polimoda Fashion Institute. "The teacher comes over and she's like 'that's awful. What are you doing?' She goes 'What were you?' and I go 'I was a technician, I was like a phone repair guy kind of guy.' And she goes, 'So you're crude. Do crude.' And it started clicking. All of a sudden my designs started changing, my ideas started changing, and all of a sudden they fell in love with my stuff," he explains.

 

Regardless of the industry, employers can encourage innovation in employees by challenging them to draw inspiration from the world around them and engage in activities that foster creativity. Many businesses, like 2015 BCA 10 honorees Corning Incorporated and GE's FirstBuild, are now implementing artists-in-residence programs to help employees think differently about their day to day work. Other businesses offer wall space for employees to doodle ideas whenever inspiration strikes. Some, like Griffin Technology, feature their own employee art gallery. Hallmark features Hallmarket, a showcase of over 100 employees’ personal artwork such as sculptures, jewelry, paintings, and textiles, all of which are created outside of the employees’ work at Hallmark.

 

Where do you find inspiration at work? Tell us on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at partnership@artsusa.org.

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Microsoft & Apple Unite Through Song

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Microsoft & Apple Unite Through Song

"From now on... if we haven't got exactly what the customer wants, we'll send him where he can get it. No high pressuring and forcing a customer to take something he doesn't really want. We'll be known as the helpful store..the friendly store...the store with a heart...the store that places public service ahead of profits. And, consequently, we'll make more profits than ever before." --Mr. Macy, Miracle on 34th Street.

 

Throughout 2015, we featured the results of many research studies and case studies in our newsletter and on this site that show the increasingly powerful impact of the arts on a business's bottom line and recruitment efforts. Now, as the year comes to a close, we bring you a great example of how Microsoft, a 2013 BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America recipient, broke through the cluttered holiday marketing-sphere through song this year to send a message to customers and employees that the holiday season means more than just sales.

 

According to the company's YouTube page, "to celebrate the holidays, Microsoft employees, who were selected from across the country, gathered together, meeting each other for the first time, at the new Microsoft 5th Ave Store to spread some holiday wishes. Joined by a local NYC children's youth choir, they share a message of peace and harmony with their neighbor down the street." Microsoft's caroling session took place in front of Apple's iconic flagship store.

 

Microsoft videotaped its employees, and posted the video on YouTube, where it received over 207,900 views and media coverage, including an article which stated, "Yes, Apple and Microsoft are rivals, but at the end of the day, it's the people that matter. It's a message that gets lost this time of year during the holiday sales...Whatever the true intent, whether it's the kindest form of trolling imaginable or truly a message of cheer for a respected rival, you have to tip your hat to Microsoft on this one."

 

 

Apple, in turn, has been running a television commercial featuring Stevie Wonder using Apple products to record a Christmas song with R&B singer Andra Day and his children. The YouTube video featuring the commercial has received over 3,203,767 views.

 

 

Read more stories about how the arts have helped businesses cut through the clutter to convey strategic messages, and read an essay on the topic.

 

Photo: Microsoft YouTube video.

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The Related Group Chairman Speaks About The Power of The Arts

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The Related Group Chairman Speaks About The Power of The Arts

On October 6, 2015, Jorge Pérez, founder, Chairman, and CEO of The Related Group, a leading development company in South Florida, accepted Americans for the Arts' 2015 BCA Leadership Award at the BCA 10 gala at the Central Park Boathouse in NYC.

 

During his inspring speech, he claimed that the arts can change kids’ lives, revitalize neighborhoods, and provide every one of us with deeper ways to experience the world.

 

Are you a business leader engaging with the arts or interested in learning more about how the arts can help your business? We want to hear from you!

 

Watch Jorge Pérez's acceptance speech below, and check out a video of his interview with Bloomberg about his art collections in his home and work.

 

 

Transcript: Thank you very much for those generous words. First I want to congratulate all of the extraordinary businesses being recognized tonight.  It is truly an honor to be here among the best companies in America for support of the arts. I believe that the arts change lives. I am certain of this because of my own life. Each day is more wondrous and rewarding because I experience it through the arts. I am able to experience the world through the eyes of a sculptor, the images of a painter, the words of a playwright and the rhythm of musicians. This is why I support the arts. So that generations of Americans can have these same advantages. If you’re lucky, you can leave some kind of legacy during your time on this planet. I am very proud of the buildings my company has built and the museum that bears my name, but I say with all humility that I hope that my legacy is more than this. My aspiration is to create traditions that introduce people to living with the arts and that open new ways for children and adults to achieve… to dream about their destiny. At the risk of sounding mystical, there’s an energy within each one of us that if found and cultivated, helps us to achieve great things. Some people understand this through spirituality, and others by discovering the power of love and relationships with their family and friends. Artists tap into the power of creativity, and if we are open to it, this force of the imagination can be contagious. It can change kids’ lives. It can revitalize neighborhoods, it can provide every one of us with deeper ways to experience the world. That is why I support the arts and why we as business leaders, parents, and citizens must continue to advocate for the arts. For better lives, for more vibrant communities, for a stronger nation, and for a more compassionate world. And that is why I am so proud to be here with all of you, and especially with my family and friends, to be recognized for doing something that is undeniably the right thing to do. Americans for the Arts and the Business Committee for the Arts, I thank you so much for this wonderful honor.

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