Thriving arts communities need for-profit support

Almost exactly four years ago now, we at Golden Artist Colors embarked on a collaborative process to develop a new Vision Statement for our business. What emerged through this process was a collective vision that was much greater and much more audacious than anything we could have imagined for ourselves. Our vision wasn’t to beat any other manufacturer or supplier in our industry, but to ask our peer companies to join forces and, together, help us create more abundance in the arts for every one of us to grow. The art materials industry is an enormously powerful, committed, and connected community of the arts. It is important to share some thoughts of what I think this can mean for all of us to raise the value of the arts and, in doing so, clearly benefit the future and well-being of our industry—not only ours but across the private sector. 

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.

Nation's United Arts Funds Raise $85.5 million for the Arts in 2016

Monday, December 18, 2017

Throughout the summer of 2017, the Americans for the Arts Private Sector Initiatives department solicited responses to the FY2016 United Arts Fund Campaign Survey. In FY 2016, the 37 participating UAFs reported aggregate campaign revenue of $85.5 million during their campaigns that ended during 2016. These findings suggest that the united arts fundraising sector is continuing its recovery from the Great Recession. 

Americans for the Arts Welcomes New and Re-Elected Advisory Council Members

Friday, December 15, 2017

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Americans for the Arts today announced 26 new and re-elected advisory council members for each of their four networks: Arts Education, Emerging Leaders, Private Sector, and Public Art Network. These individuals will advise Americans for the Arts’ staff on developing programs and services that will build a deeper connection to the field and the network membership. 

Arts Education Helps Train Tomorrow’s Workforce: A strong arts education helps prep kids for the future

To build the workforce of tomorrow, let’s invest in arts education for our youth today. Studies show that early arts engagement for students from low socio-economic backgrounds significantly increases their likelihood of college attendance and graduation. Increased graduation rates lead to increased employability, and studies also show these students demonstrate increased volunteerism and political participation. Exposing young people from all backgrounds to the arts is an investment not only in their future, but in a collective future with an employed and engaged next generation.

Feeling Threatened by Creativity? Here’s the Antidote

After reading the article “Most People are Secretly Threatened by Creativity,” I was depleted and infuriated. Creativity is the backbone of most of my identity as well as nearly 100% of the people I have come to know in varying communities including arts administration, marketing, event and hospitality management, and performing arts—even my engineering-focused friends at my alma mater were open-minded, creative vessels. So, what is with this idea that creativity is threatening?

Tips for Arts Organizations Engaging Tech Communities

In a conversation on “How Tech Companies Think About the Arts” at the 2017 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Francisco, artists and arts organization had an opportunity to connect with philanthropic representatives from Silicon Valley companies to learn and exchange ideas on how to better engage one another. The key question: How can arts organizations partner with tech companies on a more personal, individualized level—turning employees into active community arts participants?

Increased Corporate Contributions to the Arts Are No Certainty

Arts organizations are already in the right position to maneuver for a bigger part of the philanthropic pie, but they face a number of challenges—not least the fact that competition for philanthropic funds is likely to intensify. As the arts enter a heightened competitive funding environment against any number of other social issues, will artists be forced to stifle their creativity to attract funding from businesses that are increasingly nervous about entering the firing line of an unconventional administration?

Businesses Are Looking Towards the Arts for Employee Engagement and Creativity, According to New Survey by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts

Only 28 percent of companies attempted to measure the business or societal impact of arts contributions

Friday, June 30, 2017

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As employee engagement becomes a priority for companies, many of them are turning to the arts in an effort to fuel attraction and retention, according to Business Contributions to the Arts: 2017 Edition, published by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts. Nearly 70 percent of companies surveyed responded that they offered board service opportunities at arts organizations for their employees, while 65 percent offered volunteer activities and 63 percent provided free or discounted tickets to arts events. However, measuring the business or societal impact of arts contributions continues to challenge most companies and their partners, as only 28 percent of businesses reported making an effort to measure these impacts.

Author(s): Parkinson, Alex; Kahn, Graciela; Peck, Emily, and Cohen, Randy
Date of Publication: 2017

Americans for the Arts partnered with The Conference Board to conduct this survey which examines trends in business support and employee engagement for the arts. The survey draws on 125 responses from companies of all sizes that participate in corporate philanthropy, employee engagement, volunteer programs, or sponsorships.

Reflections on the 2017 Americans for the Arts Annual Convention: Framing is Everything—Social Impact Opportunities in the Arts

Framing is the narrative one creates about ideas, pictures, symbols—the impressions formed about oneself, others, and the environment they inhabit. Non-profit and for-profit are simply tax delineators, but an entire world of framing has developed within those terms, where some organizations see themselves as charities rather than economic and social value producers. In truth, arts organizations do not come to society requesting a “hand out,” but offer a “hand full”—building more socially equitable, sustainable, and economically prosperous communities. With this “hand full” mentality, arts organizations are value producers, like businesses.

Survey of Trends in Business Support for the Arts to be Released June 26

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Business Contributions to the Arts: 2017 Edition, published by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts, looks at trends in support for the arts from small, midsize, and large US businesses. 

Americans for the Arts to Present Six Awards for Exceptional Arts Leadership

Honorees to be Recognized on June 17 in San Francisco

Thursday, May 25, 2017

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Americans for the Arts announced the recipients of the 2017 Americans for the Arts Annual Leadership Awards. These awards recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations committed to enriching their communities through the arts.

Driving Workforce Engagement Through the Arts

ABC/NY’s spring panel and networking reception brought together cross-sector experts to discuss how the arts and intentionally-designed spaces can build competitive advantage and address core retention, engagement, and creativity challenges in the workplace.

Are You as Connected as You Could Be? Introducing our Member Briefing Series

On February 8, Americans for the Arts launched our Arts Mobilization Center, which serves as a hub for all of our position papers. The Mobilization Center is available to the public and is intended to be a tool to help you advocate for the arts. Then, to help our members be the most effective advocates they can be, we launched a regular member briefing series on March 23. These are 30 minute calls available exclusively to members around a specific issue statement, topic area, or program update. During each call, Americans for the Arts senior staff members and I provide background on a given topic, then we take your questions live!

Leveraging the Power of the Arts: Collaboration Between the Arts and Business is Transforming Palm Beach County

A few weeks ago, Bureau of Economic Analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce released the results of a comprehensive cultural industry impact study. Florida, with 3.3 percent growth, is in the top five states for the fastest-growing arts and culture job markets in the nation. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County has made it a priority to harness this economic power and put it to work to build more robust cultural facility infrastructure, promote arts districts, and cultivate an ever-stronger community of artists.

The Art of Science

Too often, the realms of art and business are separated from one another—dismissed as being two entirely different worlds that don’t belong on the same plane. There are those, however, who see the importance of building bridges between these two realms, and see how these bridges can better the two sides, if they are partnered together in the right way. Roche Tissue Diagnostics (known locally as Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.) in Oro Valley, AZ is one such company that seeks to join the worlds of art and business.

Art is a fundamental commodity of humanity. The arts and business are intricately linked and I firmly believe that one does not exist without the other. As an artist, arts entrepreneur, curator, and arts administrator who grew up and remains immersed in the economic and community development and small business world, I clearly see this truth which has played out in many ways in my lifetime.

Artists + Mini-Golf + Baseball = Successful Arts/Business Partnership

In Nashville, baseball season just opened at First Tennessee Park, home of the Nashville Sounds. But baseball won’t be the only attraction at the park. The stadium is also home to a one-of-a-kind mini golf course that was designed entirely by artists. “Going to a gallery or museum can be intimidating especially for those that haven’t grown up with access to great art. This project was a great way to provide that access for people to experience outside of those parameters in their daily life.”

Allied Arts Wins $100,000 in National Brackets for Good Competition

Monday, April 17, 2017

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Allied Arts, a United Arts Fund in Oklahoma City, has won a national philanthropic tournament, Brackets for Good. The only Oklahoma-based nonprofit to compete, Allied Arts out-fundraised 63 nonprofit organizations nationwide during the five-week competition and raised $248,232 in the sixth and final round of head-to-head competition and received a $100,000 grand prize from the title sponsor, AT&T. 

Skill-Based Volunteers Serving the Arts

Louisville Arts Link features a continuous feed of every imaginable local arts event. Previously only available in a physical format, the Arts Card allows users to support Fund for the Arts directly and receive special offers like discounts and first opportunity to purchase tickets for events. There are endless possibilities for the future of the app and with the help of our skill-based volunteers and committed partners like Humana Inc., we’ll be able to achieve those goals. 

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