Commentary: The creativity and commerce conundrum

John Eger, The Partnership Movement website, 5/30/13

Business in America knows well that we have entered the Age of Innovation. Business knows too, that creativity leads to innovation and that, understandably, we need to find a way to nurture creativity and attract the creative worker. As Randy Cohen of Americans for the Arts has argued -- and The Conference Board and studies by IBM have found - "the arts build the 21st Century workforce." What is still not yet clear is whether the role of the arts and art integration is perceived by the business sector as the most legitimate method to foster creativity. Yes, business says, the arts are nice but are they really necessary? Business isn't stupid or's just that they don't always see the connections. Or maybe they do but don't have the time to hear all the rhetoric about how important the arts are. Or maybe, because of the quarter-to-quarter pressures, are not yet willing to invest in programs that will deliver a more sophisticated workforce with the new thinking skills in the decade that follows. Maybe it's all too long range. More to the point, maybe artists and educators are not yet talking the talk. They are not saying what business needs to hear to get them fully engaged in the struggle to put arts back into the formula. At the annual conference of American for the Arts last year, all the talk was about creativity but it was a halfhearted attempt just to appease the philanthropic community. It also narrowly centered on the so-called creative industries, which ignores the fact that most businesses define it more broadly. Let's not simply talk about the arts. Let's talk about creativity. And let's be specific too. The creative economy has become much larger, and it is a missed opportunity not to recognize the vital role of the arts and importantly, arts integration and the vital connections between art and culture, creativity and commerce to the future of the country.


Profile: The US-born banker who is marrying business and the arts in the UK

Nick Clark, The Independent [UK], 6/19/13

"Most people don't associate those in business with knowing anything about the arts," John Studzinski declares at a party in London's Young Vic theatre. "People think the arts and business are very different. They are not." The US-born banker is living proof that the two industries can sit comfortably together, and he believes that each sector can positively influence the other. "Great businessmen have an arts side as well," he says. The party is celebrating the 10th year of a partnership between the Genesis Foundation, which Studzinski set up in 2001, and the Young Vic to support the professional development of young theatre directors in the UK. Genesis has [also] supported young British ballet dancers heading to train at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, young choral singers at The Sixteen and artists at the Royal College of Art. Studzinski arrived in the UK with Morgan Stanley in the early 1980s, joined HSBC in 2003, and [in 2006] moved to the Blackstone Group, where he is a senior managing director. He is the proud owner of dual British and American passports, and his love for Britain and its heritage comes through strongly. Yet, he finds himself dismayed at the current policies adopted by the Government towards the arts and its failure to grasp quite how important they are to the Britain. "This Government is so worried about short-term rear-view mirror politics that they don't understand the arts are one of the most long-term sustainable investments you can make in this country," he says, adding those who pay taxes expect a cultural dividend. "That's not about freebies; it's about feeling proud to be British."


In Canada, sparking business support of the arts, one community at a time

Laura Adlers, The Partnership Movement website, 5/24/13

Although many decision-makers in the corporate world recognize the value of the arts, they are inundated with cookie-cutter proposals primarily focused on the needs of the arts organization. Businesses expect a solid return on investment for their company, whether this means engaging their clients and employees at an event, reaching new audiences, or raising the profile of their company by being aligned with an innovative arts organization or project. Logo recognition and tickets to events are a given. Businesses are looking for the imaginative, clever new idea which will bring them recognition as a supporter of the arts. In Canada, our answer to these challenges is artsVest™, which combines in-depth training in sponsorship development with a matching incentive grant and a toolkit for securing and sustaining successful new partnerships. The program is open to municipalities and provinces across Canada which have demonstrated solid cultural investment plans and the engagement of every level of government, arts councils, business associations, and private funders. Our goal is ultimately to leave each artsVest community after the program is completed with the tools to build strong partnerships between the arts and business sectors which will be sustainable well into the future. The artsVest program was first piloted in Ontario in 2002 [and in 2011] we expanded nationally, thanks to a $1.6 million federal grant, matched by provinces and cities. It is estimated that, from 2011-2013, artsVest will result in an influx of approximately $6 million to the cultural economy [and] create new partnerships between 750 local businesses and 280 arts groups.


Commentary: The potential of partnerships between the arts and hospitals

Tegan Kehoe,, 6/12/13

Imagine a hospital with musicians on call, able to come to your bedside to play for you. Arts and crafts workshops tailored to the needs of patients with a specific type of illness. Healing gardens with visual arts classes. Weekly lunchtime poetry readings. While it's not [what] most people associate with healthcare, this model is gaining in popularity. For decades, some organizations have incorporated the arts into healthcare, and now, as more and more of them are forging partnerships across a variety of organizations, the practice has a broader reach than ever. All of the examples above are real, and they are from one program at UF&Shands, the teaching hospital at the University of Florida. Learning about programs like this, I had a hunch that partnerships between arts organizations and health organizations will be the next big thing for both groups. But some of the best, and even the fastest-growing, programs have been around for decades. The commonality between most of these very robust programs, old and new, is they are not one partnership. Programs for the arts in healthcare appear to thrive when they are created and supported by a network of groups, each contributing their own specialty. The funding climate for this type of partnership appears to be growing friendlier as art therapy becomes more mainstream. There are several grant programs with a specific interest in bringing the arts into healthcare. Arts organizations looking to get involved would do well to research the landscape in their area, to see whether there is an existing network they can join, and to learn what needs are not yet being met. There are a number of great resources put together by established organizations:

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