Here, Once Again, the Best Ten Businesses Supporting the Arts in America!
From exhilarating live performances to extensive corporate art collections to engaging community outreach programs, businesses around the United States enrich the lives of their employees and people in their communities by partnering with the arts. But each year, ten companies go above and beyond—the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America. Businesses of all types and sizes will come together for the BCA 10 black tie gala Oct. 5 at the Central Park Boathouse in New York to be recognized by Americans for the Arts for their outstanding commitment to the arts. Following is a snapshot of how these terrific companies blend business and the arts into their practices.
Austin Energy, Austin, TX
Austin Energy supports the arts and culture of Austin by providing $9 million annually to the city’s Economic Development Department, as well as several annual corporate sponsorships. Employees regularly participate in the city arts contest and those who participate in the arts are celebrated in utility publications. Recently, Austin Energy partnered with Forklift Danceworks, two award-winning choreographers, and the Austin Symphony to produce “PowerUP,” a free performance featuring more than 60 linemen, electrical technicians, and Austin Energy employees for an electrifying live performance.
Badger Meter, Milwaukee, WI
Badger Meter improves its community by supporting the arts. Employees frequently contribute generous amounts of time and financial support to arts causes such as local theaters, symphonies, and museums. Furthermore, the company’s CEO has served on the United Performing Arts Fund since 2004 and has been a recognized champion of arts education. Last year, Badger Meter employees wrote and participated in a concert featuring the orchestration of pouring water and percussion using glass bottles and bronze water meter bodies.
CopperPoint Insurance Companies, Phoenix, AZ
Since 2002, CopperPoint Insurance has sponsored Phoenix’s artistic community. CopperPoint is currently the exclusive sponsor for Ballet Arizona’s Nutcracker production, the presenting sponsor for Arizona Opera, and a major sponsor of Act One, a nonprofit that provides field trips for Title I schools to arts organizations. Four employees perform at schools and company events as rock band The CopperPoints.
Dealer.com, Burlington, VT
To find Dealer.com’s commitment to the arts, just start in their offices, where eight rotating art walls feature different local artists every three months. Since 2013, the walls have displayed 50 artists and facilitated more than $166,000 in sales directly to artists. In the community, Dealer.com supports major arts causes like arts education with the organization King Street Center Kids and is the lead sponsor of Burlington’s Discover Jazz Festival, SEABA’s Art Hop, and BCA Festival of Fools.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has been a strong supporter of the arts, dedicating $75,000 of its budget solely to the arts through its “Beer and Benevolence” department. Dogfish consistently commissions local artists to create beer labels and has worked with various musicians such as Pearl Jam and the estate of Miles Davis to create collaborative beers. Dogfish’s pub has hosted live local and national bands every Friday and Saturday night since 1995.
Dunlap Codding, Oklahoma City, OK
Dunlap Codding has hosted and facilitated more than 150 arts programs and has donated $100,000 to arts organizations since 2013. Aside from the construction of a large outdoor gathering place that is available for arts groups free of charge, Dunlap also sponsors film festivals and concerts. Company offices feature a rotating collection of art by local artists, and employees are regularly provided tickets to community arts events. Access to master painting, weaving, and pottery classes are even available for employees during the work day.
Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ
Johnson & Johnson is an established champion of the arts. For more than 30 years, its Corporate Art Program has engaged employees with a corporate art collection of 3,000 works. In New Brunswick, the company supports key cultural institutions such as theaters and cultural centers. Notably, Johnson & Johnson serves on the steering committee which created the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military, and has partnered with institutions for veterans’ health.
M Powered Strategies Inc., Washington, DC
M Powered Strategies prioritizes the arts in engaging employees and the community. The firm has been a corporate sponsor for DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company since 2008, and is the theater’s first and only “Accessibility Sponsor,” providing more than $140,000 for hearing-impaired device maintenance and American Sign Language interpreted performances. M Powered Strategies also proudly offers full-time staff frequent tickets to Shakespeare Theatre Company performances, and has recently announced plans to send its consultants to improv classes to develop facilitation techniques.
Northern Trust, Chicago, IL
Since 1990, Northern Trust has donated more than $55 million to 1,500 arts organizations and has extensive partnerships with museums, orchestras, theaters, and many more. Northern Trust is the lead sponsor for EXPO Chicago as well as the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.” The corporation also has sponsored exhibitions, arts scholarships, and contributed to major capital campaigns to build new theaters, studios, and performance spaces.
Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH
Proctor & Gamble has commissioned major pieces of public artwork, invested a quarter-million dollars annually into arts programs, and, in the last ten years alone, donated $20.9 million to ArtsWave, the Cincinnati region’s local arts agency. Employees regularly provide pro bono support to arts organizations, and P&G executives serve on a variety of arts organizations’ boards. CincySings, an annual fundraiser started by P&G and ArtsWave, engages thousands of employees from P&G and other businesses to express their creativity and talent.
In addition to the BCA 10, the Business Committee for the Arts presents a Hall of Fame Award to a business that has a long-standing commitment to the arts and a Leadership Award to an individual who has helped direct their company’s connection with the arts.
BCA Hall of Fame Award: Aetna Inc., Hartford, CT
Aetna promotes healthy, happy communities through a long tradition of arts support, promoting volunteerism, forming partnerships, and funding initiatives that improve the quality of life for its customers and employees. Aetna is the sole funder of the Hartford Stage New Voices, and in 2011, it donated $1.275 million to support the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project. The company hosts employee art shows and talent shows, and has an employee jazz band which has performed at previous BCA 10 gala events. Furthermore, Aetna is a champion of arts education, participating in an extensive network of programs to give children access to the arts.
BCA Leadership Award: Robert Buchsbaum, CEO, Blick Art Materials, Highland Park, IL
Robert Buchsbaum has served as the chief executive officer of Blick Art Materials since 1996, successfully restructuring the company and helping Blick become the nation’s premier art supply source. With his forward-thinking, innovative spirit and an exceptional understanding of the necessity of the arts, Buchsbaum led initiatives over the past 15 years to make annual contributions of at least $475,000 to programs that support the arts and arts education.