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

Posted by Mr. Mark Golden, May 20, 2016 0 comments

A workshop that staff signed up for with artist Anthony Bowers.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. Over the years we’ve initiated a wide range of projects for our entire staff to participate in, including: Paint Day, during which we close the shop for a day and welcome 14 instructors to lead painting classes with our employees; in-house gallery and exhibitions; staff art projects; community art events; art talks; free paint; visits with artists; and events that invite the children of our staff to participate in arts and crafts sessions held here at the factory.

We also operate the Sam & Adele Golden Gallery at our headquarters in New Berlin, where we present artworks that focus on the explorations and investigations by artists of the painting media of the 20th and 21st centuries. We have close to 17 artists on staff that regularly practice their art on their time off, and this past winter we showcased the work of many of these artists in the gallery. The staff exhibition–They paint too: exhibition of works by employee-owners of GOLDEN–was a wonderful way to share their artwork with the community, as well as allow fellow colleagues to experience the other creative side of their co-workers.

‘Tondo’ creativity painting exercise that staff participated in.Still, with all of this connectivity we continue to struggle with how the arts contribute to our individual success in our work. One of the best solutions came from an artist with whom I had the chance to share our continued frustration. He asked to go down on the shop floor and speak to the staff in Operations about the value of what they do. He then suggested that for every color of paint they produce that day, they give him a sample of the color and he would then create a landscape painting of the facility from different viewpoints. He also offered to hold art classes just for the Operations folks. We had to offer two classes for staff as each one filled to capacity. At the end the artist donated close to a dozen paintings to the staff. They hang proudly at our entrance for staff to remind us of this connection every day.

By allowing artists to participate in the process of how we connect the arts to our communities, we’re likely to come up with much better answers to these questions that clearly resonate more profoundly with our fellow staff and owners.

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