Business and the arts: valuable partners

Since its inception in 1985, the New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts has worked to ensure the arts take center stage, along with the other key elements needed to maintain a vibrant and thriving state. Why is this important? The arts are essential to the quality of life in that they, along with educational institutions, health and human services and housing, help make a community livable and an attractive place to live, visit and work. Educationally, the arts have been proven to increase SAT scores, improve academic performance and problem-solving skills and help redirect at-risk students. The arts have a positive impact on the workforce as the core element to creativity, teamwork and the celebration of diversity. The arts are good for businesses because they offer ways to build customer and client relationships, enhance employee and community relations, and attract and retain employees. The work of supporting the arts is continuous, and the NHBCA stands ready to help the state’s businesses do their part. We’ve been expanding the thinking about how businesses can support the arts beyond cash donations. Some of our time-tested suggestions include: • Provide pro bono service and products and professional skills (legal, real estate, accounting, marketing) to cultural groups • Hire professional artists to help with presentations and packaging for products • Offer your corporate facility to host meetings or events • Buy local art as gifts • Create an exhibition gallery in your cafeteria or host a performance in your lobby • Adapt conventional financial products to meet artisans’ needs • Integrate nonprofit facilities into commercial development • Support arts education and youth programs • Advocate for public and private funding for arts • Provide cash grants and encourage your employees to do the same • Applaud employees who volunteer with cultural organizations as board members The arts give a positive shape to our communities. They inspire creativity in citizens of all ages. They draw visitors to our region. They boost our economy through jobs. They shape our reactions to events and ideas. Business investment in the arts is crucial and will remain so. Our arts are the proof of us, our legacy. Even as we continue to strive to put an economic face on culture and provide practical reasons for supporting it, we know the arts are even more than a vehicle to make our own lives richer and better. The lasting story of what we did with our existence will be told primarily through enduring stories, images, music, design – the arts we support today. The more the arts flourish, the greater they reflect our economic and commercial achievement, proving once and for all that business and art are each a valuable partner to the other.