Full disclosure – I feel very passionate about the arts. All arts  – dance, theatre, music, fine art – all of it. So with my bias stated up front, I assert the arts are important to our community because the arts make everything better. We can also agree that the arts are good for the community on a purely aesthetic level, because the arts help define a community. But I will add one more truth –

The arts are good for business.

Whether it’s sponsoring an arts event or taking clients to the Missouri Theater, the arts are a way for your company to brand itself as a corporate champion of our community. According to Americans for the Arts, “celebrating the arts is a way for a company to build a powerful presence and engage with multiple stakeholders quickly and effectively. Businesses agree that the arts increase name recognition (79 percent) and offer networking opportunities to develop new business (74 percent).”

The arts also help recruit quality employees. Companies who support the arts help make their community more attractive to current and future employees. Happier employees make for a happier workplace and are a powerful selling tool when recruiting quality talent.

Another benefit of the arts is it can help keep your employees engaged. Programs that allow employees to bring their values to work are good investments. The arts are a wonderful catalyst that can help shift perceptions, embrace diversity, build team spirit, foster creative thinking and improve communication.

Develop a climate of volunteering. The arts can offer many valuable volunteer opportunities. Whether it is a one-off corporate volunteer project, pro bono consulting or board training and service, employees involved in rewarding community activity not only enhance their business and interpersonal skills, but build recognition and goodwill for a company’s image in the community. They also gain new perspectives by working outside their field in a creative industry. These skills and new perspectives often translate into increased confidence in their own work and pride in their company.

Encourage your employees to show their creative side. Employee art shows offer businesses of all sizes an opportunity to discover, recognize and celebrate the hidden creative talents of each and every employee. Create an art@work program that encourages employees to bring the visual, literary and performing art they create when not working into the workplace where it can be shared among colleagues and customers, in addition to enhancing the work environment. Employee art shows also help bring employees together from different areas of the company, foster communication and build team spirit.

Do you have some musicians in your employ? Create a corporate band challenge with other businesses. It will not only uncover hidden employee rock stars, but allow the entire company to share in team building and a sense of corporate pride in rooting for their band. Competing corporations not only receive visibility in the community, but also support the arts community.

When you make the arts a part of your company’s culture, you, your clients and employees will reap the rewards and make our community a better place in which to work and live. So don’t just sit there – dust off that old instrument and start practicing for your company’s band!

Teresa Fankhauser
Executive Director

Teresa Fankhauser, Executive Director, joined the Allied Arts Council in 2005. She works with local arts agencies, Missouri Western State University, the City of St. Joseph and the St. Joseph School District to foster the arts in St. Joseph. Her position includes working with local, state and national organizations and agencies to effect positive changes for the arts. She is past president of Robidoux Resident Theatre, Missouri Citizens for the Arts and the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies, and has served as a Missouri Arts Council panelist. She currently serves on the Downtown St. Joseph Community Improvement District and is a member of the Downtown Association. She has pursued professional development through the Americans for the Arts Conference, the Prairie Arts Management Institute, the Kennedy Centers Partners in Education Conference, the Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies conference and the International Festival and Events conference. Prior to joining the Allied Arts Council, she served as Managing Director of the Performing Arts Association of St. Joseph and was the co-owner/manager and Artistic Director of the Ice House Theatre. She has a B.S. in Education with a speech/theatre emphasis from Missouri Western State University.