San Antonio Business Journal /Sharon L. Benedict and Doug Roper
How would you like to reduce stress at the office, increase creativity and productivity, enhance employee morale, broaden appreciation of diversity, and encourage open dialogue? Art in the workplace promotes all these fundamental needs — and even more — for any successful business.
Most people connect with art because it touches a memory, or it conjures up an image of a time or place beyond our everyday reach. Art gives us a brief vacation from the stress and pressures we face daily. For a moment in time you can daydream a little. In a blink of an eye you are then refreshed in some special way and are re-energized for the rest of the work day.
In 1967, David Rockefeller established the Business Committee for the Arts Inc. (BCA) — a national nonprofit organization that brings business and the arts together, and found the following regarding the value of the arts in corporate America:
- The arts are essential to the quality of life in a community. The arts, along with educational institutions, health and human services and housing, help make a community livable and an attractive place to live, visit and work.
- The arts are a critical component in K-12 education. The arts increase SAT scores, improve academic performance and problem-solving skills, help redirect at-risk students, and are essential to the development of a skilled and creative workforce.
- The arts are good for business. The arts offer opportunities to build customer and client relationships, enhance employee and community relations, and attract and retain employees. The arts also enhance economic vitality by purchasing goods and services and generating sales for other businesses.
- The arts affirm and celebrate who we are. Beyond their intrinsic value, the arts stimulate creative thinking and foster an appreciation and understanding of various cultures.
To assess their views, the BCA and International Association of Professional Art Advisors (IAPAA) conducted a research survey across industries that established a positive relationship between job productivity, stress, morale, creativity, and art in the workplace. Employees (82 percent) said art was important in the work environment, and 73 percent said their view of the company would change if the art were removed.
The many memorial monuments across our nation attest to the desire and need to reflect on and honor the people and events throughout history. Whether in a corporate office or a public park, art touches hearts and lives in many significant and surprising ways.
Art in the workplace
Successful companies are not isolated from the society where they do business. Art provides a forum for communication, expanded thinking, dialogue, and creativity. To that end, public and corporate art are essential components for creating a vibrant community.
The question now is how can companies help our nation’s communities promote the creation of vibrant communities? Here are some factors to consider:
- How can your company support your city’s cultural and revitalization plans with art in the workplace and public areas?
- What kind of art do you want to display in your company and community?
- What theme do you want to portray that would support your values, vision, and goals on behalf of your employees and clients?
- What media does your company want to focus on — painting, bronze sculpture, photography, fiber art, mixed media?
- What type of care oversight do you have (placement rotation, maintenance, security, damage restoration, insurance)?
- How much are you willing to spend from your budget — quantity vs. quality?
- Do you need to hire a professional to design and layout your company art collection?
Although art in the workplace is a common sight today, sometimes the quality is sacrificed for quantity. Company employees responsible for the choices are, at times, unaware of their creative options for choosing media other than paintings or a small decorative sculpture on a table. Often the decision to place art in the workplace is purely a decorative one, and not an integral part of the design and construction process of the facility. That is why companies would benefit from hiring professional art consultants and established artists to design their art collection and layout to match the company’s strategic mission.
There is something extraordinary that happens between artists, their art, and the people who love and support their gift. I encourage you to experience transformation of your corporate culture by inviting art and the artist into your workplace. When done with thoughtful and expert strategic planning, your employees will thank you by their productivity, creativity, and job satisfaction; and your clients and public will thank you by their loyal patronage.