Ask Not What Your Company Can Do for the Arts …

With the possible defunding of federal arts organizations, businesses must encourage and support artistic endeavors both internally and publicly.

new study reveals that over half of surveyed companies think the arts promote creative thinking and problem-solving. Moreover, any human resources professional worth their salt knows that a successful workplace stems in part from a thriving culture — something the arts epitomize like nothing else.

But the arts might soon receive a serious funding blow. In his upcoming 2018 budget, President Donald Trump calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts.

This proposed defunding heightens the importance of corporate support for the arts. More than ever, companies that want to stimulate creative thinking and innovation and develop and engage employees need to demonstrate the business case. As such, here are three ways companies can bring the arts to employees and reap the benefits.  


Newstimes || By Hal Kurfehs  Published Sunday, September 10, 2017
Without “culture” life would be dull. Culture is human intellectual achievement and the creative elements in our lives. It includes fine art, the performing arts, expressive art, sculpture, travel, philosophy, literature and music. Anyone who eschews these wonderful gifts of life is destined for a pretty miserable existence.

If we, as the general public, value these life-enhancing pursuits, how do you think the artists themselves feel about their life-work? Any artist who I know is passionate about their work and contributions. They know that, except for a few, they will not make a pile of money from their art. But that does not seem to deter them because their creative output and its appreciation by others is psychic reward enough.

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 “In my own philanthropy and business endeavors, I have seen the critical role that the arts play in stimulating creativity and in developing vital communities….the arts have a crucial impact on our economy and are an important catalyst for learning, discovery, and achievement in our country.” – Paul G. Allen, Co-Founder, Microsoft

The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut's "Business Supports the Arts" awards breakfast, its premiere fundraising event, will celebrate the Cultural Alliance's 10th anniversary year by emphasizing the "critical role that the arts play in stimulating creativity and in developing vital communities" while  recognizing outstanding support of the arts by business leaders and extraordinary volunteers. The awards breakfast takes place on Thursday, October 20th, 7:30am to 9:00am, at Matrix Corporate Center, 39 Old Ridgebury Road in Danbury. Highly anticipated each year, "Business Supports the Arts" serves to increase visibility for arts and culture in Western Connecticut while gathering together many prominent leaders in our regional arts and business communities. This year's honorees, nominated by their peers, are Ridgefield's Doyle Coffin Architecture (BSA Award), Bethel Economic Development Office (Arts in the Community Award), Howard Lasser of Brookfield (Heart of the Arts Award), and receiving a newly established honor this year, the Art Impacts Life Award, Hancock Hall, located in Danbury.

The fundraiser brings in substantial support of the Cultural Alliance's mission: To market the region; to develop livable communities; and to provide opportunities and resources to the creative community it serves. As a Designated Regional Service Organization, the Cultural Alliance assists the Connecticut Office of the Arts to develop and sustain industry and cross sector relationships and provides support for specific Connecticut Office of the Arts programs and services.

Tickets to "Business Supports the Arts" may be purchased by going to Major sponsorship of the breakfast has been provided by Townsquare Media and People's United Bank. Sponsorship inquiries should be directed to Lisa Scails, Executive Director of Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The recipient of the top honor of the day, The BSA Award, Doyle Coffin Architecture is a second generation architectural firm located in Ridgefield, CT.  The firm maintains a commitment to excellence with regard to architectural planning, sustainable design, use of technology, and their local community, thus far providing more than $250,000 in support and services to helping non-profit, cultural organizations such as the Lounsbury House & Community Center; The Ridgefield Theatre Barn; The Ridgefield Guild of Artists; The Ridgefield Library, a cultural hub for the town; and the celebrated Prospector Theatre. For more than ten years, DCA has been involved in building projects, either providing pro-bono work or as members of a building committee providing expertise, with attention to historic aesthetic and context. While their generosity is focused on creative resources locally, the impact extends beyond town limits to the entire region.

“We are extremely honored to receive this recognition from the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut", says partner Peter T. Coffin, AIA.   "Doyle Coffin Architecture is founded on the ethos of creativity, exploration, knowledge and culture. We believe it is critical to show strong community support for art and cultural institutions as they represent the community’s broad commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, a fundamental element to the furthering of human intellectual growth.”


The Arts in the Community awardee, led by Director Janice Chrzescijanek, views art as a commonsense tool to make the town better.  Art, Chrzescijanek believes, can be a draw for business and lead to an enriched lifestyle for residents.  Under her direction, Bethel Economic Development Office has spent several years creating the momentum for a walking art tour in downtown Bethel that was put in place this summer and will run for the next year, drawing visitors and creating a new and artistic brand for Bethel.


A longtime Brookfield resident, former finance executive and political candidate, Howard Lasser, Heart of the Arts honoree, dedicated nearly two years to help the Brookfield Craft Center after they reopened in 2014.  Mr. Lasser serves as BCC’s Executive Director, volunteering well over 40 hours per week to run the day-to-day operations with this historic cultural institution.  “Howard’s commitment to the craft center is indicative of his understanding of how critically necessary the arts are to the health of a community, both its economic vitality and the quality of life offered its residence,” commented Mary Daniel, former chairman of the board of Brookfield Craft Center.


Recipient of the first Arts Impact Life Award, Hancock Hall is connected with Filosa health care services. Both are privately owned and operated skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers in the heart of Danbury, Connecticut. Under the direction of Jennifer Malone-Seixas, Hancock Hall brings art, culture and social enjoyment to those who live there. Hancock Hall is a partner with the Accessible Art Project presented by the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut. “The impact on the lives of those who live at Hancock Hall and the staff that work there has been tremendous,” says Kathy Hehl Curran, Director of Admissions.  “I feel like it’s like a 'Museum' came to Hancock Hall.  Many of our residents are quite elderly and less mobile and would never have the opportunity to go to the museum or gallery to view the various artists works.” 


Published in ArtsWestern News



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