This past summer I sat in a room at the Americans for Arts Annual Convention on a beautiful afternoon and listened to folks from Memphis talk about how art and business have created a partnership that works (you can find a longer blog post about it here).
The conversation wasn’t what I expected to hear.
I expected to hear the tired old platitudes about the ROI arts can provide; pie graphs, bar graphs, numbers galore. Bottom line revenue creation. Profit points. Cost projections. Economic development. Blah, blah, blah...
But as I stiffened my spine to sit through another pile of accounting buzzwords, the corporate guy got up and said, “When we’re trying to hire quality people, the town’s cultural footprint is important in attracting the right kind of people.” In short, “I don’t really care about the arts themselves or the money the arts can make; I only use them as a tool to make sure we get quality employees.”
There was a palpable, audible, unified grumble that cascaded across the room. However, I leaned forward in my chair, newly in love with this guy who cut through the bull and told it like it is.Read More