Arts & Humanities Council Addresses Joint Meeting

Posted Date: 
April 12, 2012

Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County (right) and Mara Walker, CFO Americans for the Arts address the Economic Development and Small Business Committees.
Small Business Committee Vice-Chair Judy Stephenson, OfficePro, and Economic Development Committee Co-Chair Dr. Stewart Edelstein, Universities at Shady Grove, called to order a joint meeting between the Small Business and Economic Development Committees with Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County and Mara Walker, CFO Americans for the Arts to discuss how businesses can achieve their goals with the arts.
Walker began the discussion with addressing the goals and the mission of Americans for the Arts including advocacy and business development. She also discussed a new campaign called the Partnership movement with the message that arts help businesses reach their bottom line. The new movement had a broad coalition of businesses like Sunoco, USA Today, and Delta Dental.
Suzan Jenkins discussed how businesses can support the arts philanthropically, through community service, release time, and various other ways. Jenkins also discussed using the arts for strategic thinking and alternative business models.
Walker discussed pragmatic reasons why businesses invest in the arts. One company supports the arts to help keep and attract employees to the area where they are located. The arts can also help you engage more stakeholders by increasing name recognition as well as recruitment and retention. Additionally, it can help companies change their brand and make them more attractive to new customers. Walker also made the case that the arts can also help you get your message across in engaging ways.
Jenkins mentioned that creativity is among the top applied skills sought by employers. She also illustrated the linkage between creativity and leadership. She discussed how CEOs value creativity to solve problems and how the arts challenge employees to do their best. The arts also create an environment that blends backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures. Additionally, arts are a good way to show appreciation towards employees.
Finally, Walker and Jenkins discussed the general economic development attributes of the arts and took questions from the committee. The committee members also shared their experiences of how their businesses have contributed to and benefited from the arts.
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