Making the Case for Arts and Business Partnerships

Posted by Valerie Beaman, Feb 29, 2012 1 comment

Valerie Beaman

Valerie Beaman

There are many reasons that partnering with the arts advances business goals from recruiting and retaining a workforce, to rewarding employees, to building communities, and more.

The pARTnership Movement has identified eight strong reasons for businesses to partner with the arts. While some of these reasons will resonate better than others, depending on the industry, size and needs of the business, one reason that continues to gain traction is the role of the arts in fostering critical thinking.

Building and inspiring a creative and innovative workforce remains incredibly important as the country works to increase creativity and innovation.

Did you know that creativity is among the top applied skills sought by employers? More often than not business leaders say creativity is of high importance when hiring. The arts are about critical thinking, solving and reframing problems and facts in ways that reveal insights and opportunities.

Music, creative writing, drawing, and dance provide skills sought by employers of the third millennium. In fact, 72% of companies that give to the arts recognize that it stimulates creative thinking, problem solving, and team building.

Through our work, we know that the arts play an important role in fostering critical thinking.

The demand for inclusion of arts and humanities in MBA programs, science and technology programs, and medical programs is increasing as educators understand that training in the arts can lead to increased performance in a specialized field.

In 2008, The Conference Board, Americans for the Arts and the American Association of School Administrators collaborated on Ready to Innovate: Are Educators and Executives Aligned on the Creative Readiness of the U.S. Workforce?, which was developed as part of The Conference Board’s Workforce Readiness Initiative. The report found that educators and employers both felt they have a responsibility for instilling creativity in the U.S. workforce.

"La Convaleciente" (1930-32) by Maria Gutierrez-Cueto y Blanchard

For example, medical instructors help their students develop critical observational skills with trips to the local museum. Clinical diagnosis involves the observation, description, and interpretation of visual information, skills that can be strengthened through the arts. Through close inspection of portraits and other paintings, students not only improve their skills in observation, but also develop increased awareness of emotional and character expression in the human face.

In a fascinating article by Adam Palin in The Financial Times entitled Art for art’s sake?, he discusses the role of University art collections as educators and not investments. Some of the reasons described include using the collections to open the student’s minds to the non-literal, to demonstrate that there’s more than one way to express thoughts and solve problems, to provide a more creative atmosphere and also, the need for humanities to balance the single focus of some disciplines.

Certainly, universities are not alone in this. Many corporate art collections fill similar functions. Just look at Epic Systems’ offices. The art collection and strong design of the Verona, WI campus is clearly meant to inspire creativity and innovation in their employees. Raymond James and other companies also understand the value of corporate art collections in inspiring employees.

Are there businesses in your community who are incorporating the arts either in employee arts programming or corporate arts collections?

Is your arts organization involved in bringing arts-based programs to businesses or working with schools and colleges to weave in the arts?

Please share your stories in the comments or on The pARTnership Movement website to help reinforce the message that when arts and business partner, everyone profits!

1 responses for Making the Case for Arts and Business Partnerships


Mr. Greg Fiedler says
February 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm

At Greater Flint Arts Council in Flint , Michigan we partner with local businesses in many ways. Our goals are 1)to create a more vibrant community, 2) to create more paying opportunities for Michigan artists and 3) to boost business and improve the local economy. Several example projects include the commissioning of close to 150 public works of art in local businesses and public spaces, a monthly ARTWALK which includes arts organizations, churches and a variety of local businesses and our latest program called JAZZWALK, a partnership with eight downtown eating/drinking establishments to offer live jazz together on the same night every month. For more information about JAZZWALK, please paste this link in your browser:

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