Americans for the Arts recognizes that engaging business professionals and employees through the arts is key to fostering a desirable work environment, increasing efficiency and morale, and building the competitive advantage of a business. Employees can be engaged through the arts in a number of ways, and Americans for the Arts serves as a resource, guide, and hub for all the information you need to start, sustain, or transform a successful arts-based volunteer or employee engagement program.

In the past few years, Americans for the Arts has shifted its definition of Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) from a purely skills-based volunteering placement program to a broader suite of programs that engage employees through the arts. We encourage any and all arts groups wishing to start such a program to join the BVA Network and take advantage of the knowledge sharing, resources, and expertise of Americans for the Arts staff. The BVA Network includes employee engagement programs such as virtual volunteering, corporate arts challenges, skills-based volunteering, arts-based training programs, consultant events, mentoring, hackathon events, team-based volunteering, and more. Learn more about the BVA Network on our FAQ page.

Want to start an employee engagement program in your community? Visit our BVA Tools & Resources page for more information.

Business Volunteers for the Arts® Program
The longest-standing way Americans for the Arts has supported and promoted employee engagement is through Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA), a national skills-based consulting program operated by a network of organizations across the country under the leadership and coordination of Americans for the Arts. It pairs nonprofit arts groups with specially trained business executives who volunteer their time and skills to assist with distinct management projects. The program provides unique leadership development opportunities for these volunteers–allowing them to apply and expand their professional skills and gain new perspectives by working outside their field.

Want to start a BVA program in your community? Visit our BVA Tools & Resources page for more information.

Employee Engagement Programs
Employee engagement programs are designed to build the morale of employees in a company through creative and arts-based activities. Americans for the Arts provides start-up materials and ongoing support and consultation for organizations that wish to start any of the programs in the BVA Toolbox.

Want to start an employee engagement program in your community? Visit our BVA Tools & Resources page for more information.

Other Resources
Want to start a program or join the BVA Network?

  • Learn more about joining the BVA Network or starting a volunteer or employee engagement program on our FAQ, or contact the Private Sector Initiatives Coordinator at privatesector@artsusa.org.
  • For more information, tools, and resources on running a successful BVA program, visit the BVA Tools & Resources.

Who’s in the network? See if there is a BVA program in your area by downloading the BVA Manager List.

Want to keep in touch? Email privatesector@artsusa.org to request to join the BVA Network listserv, where you can share ideas and ask for the help of your peers who are also engaging employees through the arts.

What does the network look like? Find out from our Business Volunteers for the Arts® National Report for Fiscal Year 2013 Fact Sheet.

Have a volunteer or employee engagement program in place but need the business connection? You can learn more about best practices for developing relationships with businesses on our pARTnership Movement site, which aims to teach arts leaders how to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage.