CEO Reflections: Fifth Third Demonstrates How the Arts Heal
The Business Committee on the Arts, an organization started by David Rockefeller in 1966, celebrated the many ways that the arts bring people together on Tuesday, Oct. 2 in New York City. We at ArtsWave were proud that Cincinnati once again “made the list” with our own Top 10 Business Supporting the Arts in America: Fifth Third Bank.
Nominated by ArtsWave and Louisville’s Fund for the Arts, Fifth Third was presented with the BCA 10 award by Americans for the Arts President Bob Lynch. In the midst of stories of arts engagement and creative partnerships that characterized the remarks of each honoree, Fifth Third’s SVP and Chief Administrative Officer Teresa Tanner shared something particularly poignant and timely with the guests.
Teresa described how art is being used to foster healing after the horrific mass shooting in the bank’s lobby in September. In the days that followed, bank leaders decided to cover the lobby’s broken windows with huge canvas boards. To show solidarity with one another and build strength in numbers to move forward, employees were invited to dip their hands in paint and leave their handprints on the canvases. Hundreds of colorful handprints now adorn the space and remind Fifth Third employees that they are “Fifth Third Strong” and “Cincinnati Strong.” This simple activity became a profound and hopeful action, something that brought the company together after unspeakable loss.
Across the country, art therapy is increasingly and widely used to combat post-traumatic stress disorder. The arts can be a powerfully effective tool; in fact, military servicemembers and veterans rank creative arts therapies in the top 4 (out of 40) interventions and treatments, according to Americans for the Arts. Across the military continuum, the arts promote resilience during pre-deployment, deployment and the reintegration of military servicemembers, veterans, their families, and caregivers into communities. The arts can help heal the mental, physical, and moral injuries of war—and that same healing potential can hold true for trauma of other kinds.
Locally, with major support from ArtsWave, the Cincinnati Arts Association has been building an expansive Arts in Healing program. The program trains artists to use music, dance, creative writing, and visual arts to facilitate emotional and spiritual healing for area residents experiencing emotional and/or health crises. The program has been developed over the last three years inside Cincinnati Veterans Medical Center-Treatment and Recovery Center, where it conducts literally hundreds of hours of arts-based therapeutic activity. Arts in Healing also partners with TriHealth, UC Medical Center, and, more recently, Hospice of Cincinnati. Read more about this inspiring program here from its director, Joyce Bonomini.
ArtsWave nominated Fifth Third Bank for the BCA10 award months ago, in honor of its tremendous arts partnerships and arts support in our community. But last month we also got to recognize the bank’s leadership and courage in the face of a very dark hour, and be grateful for the many ways that the arts can lead us all to light.