Meet the Team

Jessica Stern

Jessica is thrilled to join Americans for the Arts as the Private Sector Initiatives Program Manager. Most recently, Jessica acted as the Membership and Resources Manager for the Nonprofit Association of Oregon (NAO), providing oversight of NAO’s statewide membership program while curating and reinventing its online platform of nonprofit management best practice resources.

Your Next Challenge: Engage Business Employees Through the Arts in Your Community!

Thanks for joining us this week to learn more about how arts groups around the country are engaging business employees through the arts, and what the impact is with individuals, companies, and entire communities. This week, we’ve heard from a number of arts leaders, as well business employees who’ve both led and participated in efforts to bring the arts to the workplace, stimulate innovation, and deepen the daily practice of creativity in our lives.

Here’s a recap of what we’ve seen this week, and some of the best and most inspiring quotes:

Rock for Art

Like several other communities that have been posting on the blog this week, we at the Regional Arts & Culture Council (Portland, Oregon) were looking for a fun way to celebrate creativity in business and cultivate employee engagement in the arts while raising more money for our 10th annual united arts fund campaign, known as Work for Art. Drawing from several great models including the CincySings event produced by ArtsWave, we decided to produce a Battle of the Bands on May 12 at the beautiful Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland.

And what a battle it was! By the end of the night, we had raised about $75,000.

They paint too, and other employee engagement stories from Golden Artist Colors

One would think that an artist paint company, especially one that is also employee owned, would have a full understanding of the value of the arts in our lives. Unfortunately, work within a manufacturing and distribution facility requires many sorts of skills and interests, and many don’t connect what they do for the creative arts at Golden Artist Colors. It is only by constant effort of sharing the creative process and developing opportunities for integrating with artists that we can begin to break down these barriers.

America’s Hidden Public Health Crisis—Loneliness—Directly Impacts the Bottom Line. Here’s How Creative Expression and Engagement in the Workplace Can Help.

Most of us has had times in our life when we’ve felt lonely and isolated—and it’s a lousy feeling. But a growing body of research suggests that not only does loneliness make you miserable—it can kill you.

Recent research indicates that health risks associated with loneliness and social isolation are comparable to the dangers of smoking and obesity, increasing the likelihood of premature death by up to 30%. With the alarming increase in the rate of loneliness and isolation in our society, America is facing one of today’s most urgent—yet largely hidden—public health issues.

Packaging Your Impact: How Con Edison Engage Its Employees through the ABC/NY’s Diversity in Arts Leadership Program

At first glance, the Arts and Business Council of New York’s (ABC/NY) Diversity in Arts Leadership (DIAL) internship program looks like your typical summer arts internship: undergraduates descend on the city and ABC/NY helps them get their foot in the door of one of NYCs coveted arts and culture sector organizations.

However, you might not guess that DIAL doubles as an arts-based platform to engage employees in the corporate sector. Huh? How?

Cincy Sings: A magical way to create employee engagement, company pride, & love for the arts in our city!

It has been three years since ArtsWave and I launched the city-wide company singing challenge CincySings in Cincinnati, and it is evident to our city that the unique choral competition has delivered on its mission to leverage the power of the arts to create employee engagement and excitement among the participating companies, and a renewed passion for the arts across the regional community. The sing-offs that lead up to CincySings have become a staple at some of the region’s largest businesses, including Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where it all began.

Managing Change and Maintaining Relevance: Business Volunteers for the Arts®

Engaging with the business community has always been the hallmark of the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia; we were established in 1981 and are an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. As an extension, our core programs revolve around engaging the employees of businesses, harnessing their skills and talents for the nonprofit arts sector.

Engaged…in What? Employee Engagement and Art-Based Training

Human creativity is the ultimate competitive advantage. And who better to learn from than artists who have dedicated themselves to creative expression? Yet bringing arts-learning into business, while a sexy idea, is not so simple. Businesses fear wasting time, resources, and lack of clearly beneficial results. Artists are concerned with protecting freedom to take risks and avoiding ‘dumbing down’ their work for business participants.

Prescription for Progress: Art + Health

Creating equitable places and healthy people: that’s the mission of Louisville, Kentucky-based, artist-innovation company IDEAS xLab (IDEAS). Together with its education and training nonprofit for artists, Creative Agents of Change Foundation, IDEAS has created a framework that helps corporations and communities re-frame challenges and discover new opportunities by leveraging the dynamic capacity of artists to innovate.

IDEAS was launched in 2012 as an exhibition series designed to connect contemporary artists in Central Appalachian and Southern States with international artist networks. Today, IDEAS has morphed into a new framework for social entrepreneurship centered around artists as strategic human resources on two parallel fronts, civic and corporate innovation. The ultimate goal is creating “shared value” programs between the two.

Whistle While You Work: Employee Engagement in the Arts

I work for Aetna, a healthcare company that builds healthy communities by promoting volunteerism, forming partnerships, and funding initiatives to improve the quality of life for its employees and customers. Here in Community Relations & Urban Marketing we strive to deepen our local market presence in the communities where we live, work, and play. Because of my love of singing, my interest naturally gravitates toward music and arts in the community. So I look for those opportunities where I can contribute my talents to support the company’s mission. What follows are several accounts of my personal experiences with music and the arts in the workplace, all guided and encouraged by the leadership at Aetna. As you’ll see, they were fun, memorable, and unforgettable.

Paper ROCKS-Glatfelter Paper and the YorVoice Music Showcase

Founded as a United Arts Fund for York County Pennsylvania in 1999, the Cultural Alliance of York County's annual campaign supports eight partner agencies that are essential to our cultural core and funds the Creative Impact Award grants that bring arts and culture to life in York County.

In an effort to promote camaraderie/fellowship in the workplace for our local corporate contributors and deepen their involvement in the Cultural Alliance annual campaign, the Cultural Alliance created YorVoice in 2015. The event brought 10 local musical acts that varied in style and genre together for a friendly singing competition. Based on the model of the Cincinnati-based ArtsWave United Arts Fund choral competition event; “CincySings,” the Cultural Alliance recruited teams from corporate contributors, as well as local performers who wanted to participate and showcase their talents to a larger audience. We had a panel of celebrity judges rank the teams to award a first place Champion and Runner Up. We also created a People’s Choice category, which awarded the People’s Choice trophy to the team with the most votes, $1 per vote.

#WorkCreative – Bringing Creativity into the Workplace

The idea of creativity in the workplace is getting a lot of play in the media these days. Books like Creative Confidence, from IDEO founders Tom & David Kelly, entice business people to retool their approach to problem solving. Industry leaders like Hitachi CEO Barbara Dyer are making bold statements like ““[c]reativity is rapidly shifting from a “nice to have” to a “must have” quality for all types of successful organizations.”

In the midst of this hey-day, lots of people are talking. But our partners at Southwest Airlines are doing. They’re finding new ways to embrace creativity in their business, and it doesn’t stop at corporate retreats. These guys are making creativity a way of life that they embrace and encourage in the day-to-day, and it shows through in their quirky corporate culture and innovative approach to airline service.

Welcome to the Employee Engagement and the Arts Blog Salon!

Employee engagement: a term Americans for the Arts has been throwing around a lot lately. But what does it mean, and how can you use it in your community? Simply put (according to Forbes), employee engagement is “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” According to Deloitte’s 2015 Human Capital Trends Report, this emotional commitment is one of the top challenges facing 87 percent of companies around the world today.

As arts administrators, we’re finely attuned the emotional connections and revelations the arts can usher forth. As we explore best practices in partnering with the business sector, it’s clear that there are direct ways to harness the emotional power of the arts with business employees to increase morale and communication within a company, as well stimulate innovation and embed a practice of daily creativity.

A New Trifecta for the Arts

Louisville’s passion for the arts is hardly a new phenomenon. We pride ourselves on our eclectic, world-class arts community that is ever evolving. Fund for the Arts recognizes that as the united arts fund field continues to evolve, we must stay ahead of the curve by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, driving new initiatives and sparking new collaborations while honoring our rich history of supporting a wide array of arts institutions. As we move forward, Fund for the Arts is focused on how the arts can be a catalyst for systemic change–a change that brings about a stronger, more inclusive and vibrant city.  

Author(s): Dalton, Aaron
Date of Publication: Mar 01, 2016

Arts partnerships offer companies effective and cost-efficient methods of achieving critical business goals. In fact, 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). The fourth essay in The pARTnership Movement essay series, Engage Your Employees, shares stories of how some of America’s top companies partner with the arts to build morale, creativity, and innovation in the workplace.

New Essay on Engaging Employees Through Art Partnerships

The pARTnership Movement Essay Series

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Arts partnerships offer companies effective and cost-efficient methods of achieving critical business goals. To explore and illustrate the different types of benefits that arts partnerships can bring to businesses, Americans for the Arts is producing a series of essays on pARTnershipMovement.org. Each essay includes case studies from some of America's most successful business and arts partnerships.

Biotech Bands Battle it out in Boston

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Category: 

On May 20, 2015, the third annual Battle of the Biotech Bands, hosted by the Arts & Business Council of Boston took place at Boston’s Royale Nightclub. Described as a fun, community-driven, networking event, Battle of the Biotech Bands features bands associated with Boston-based biotech companies. The bands compete to raise money for a charitable foundation of their choosing.

A Million and Change: the Value of 378 Business Volunteers for the Arts® Consultants. Imagine what we could do with even more.

Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) is a national skills-based management 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. Though the number of active BVAs has fallen slightly in the past year, those still operating them are running robust programs that seek to fill an active need in the communities in which they operate, both for the arts organizations receiving pro bono support and the businesses that encourage their employees to give their time and skills to the arts.

How coffee, crowd-funding, community radio and a cool arts presenter connect to make a difference for Seattle youth

Sarah Sidman Sarah Sidman

You probably already know that Starbucks sells coffee*.

And even if you don't know us, you can probably guess that ArtsFund has something to do with funding the arts.

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