Last week I got a double dose of the arts. It was refreshing, invigorating and empowering. The first was from a session at the NACHRI conference called “The Power of Art: Healing Families, Communicating Purpose,” led by Linda Hill and Jennilyn Utkov of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. The second was from the Colorado Business Community for the Arts (CBCA) Business for the Arts Awards Luncheon.
Imagine a hospital as an empty canvas. Then imagine the power of one volunteer with creative vision of pulling together art from workshops, children and professional artists. This one volunteer, Jennilyn, organized the hospital staff, schools, students, parents, donors, and businesses to capture the heart of the community through art.
Jennilyn spoke about many workshop art projects held at the hospital, but my favorite was about a group of children with Down syndrome who collected materials from a nearby field, put them into clay and molded them into a giant mural. For children’s art with schools, she shared a story of a shy child who gained confidence and blossomed at school because his art teacher encouraged him to enter a simple black and white picture he had drawn of two birds into the hospital drawing contest. His drawing was chosen, blown up and framed to hang in a hallway. During the “Juice & Cheese” children’s art reception, this boy dragged his family and teacher down the halls to find his masterpiece—life impacting and priceless. A professional artist created giant murals by rolling up old hospital brochures and blueprints to create a landscape with a heart placed in the middle. These artistic endeavors gave the hospital layers of stories to tell. And on the development side, the hospital saw a 40 percent increase in new donors because they tapped into a new donor base.
The CBCA awards luncheon was a great reminder of the amazing arts community and resources we have throughout our state, including The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Railroad Museum, University of Denver Lamont School of Music, The Colorado Ballet, and many, many more. In a time where art programs are being slashed across the nation in our schools, it is imperative that the business community continues to support and leverage the arts. CBCA calls businesses to recognize the link between cultural vitality and creative and innovative success. I’d like to congratulate the workspace, philanthropy and John Madden Jr. Leadership nominees and winners for advancing arts and culture in Colorado.
How is your place of business connected to the arts in your community? Maybe it is time to get more involved. It might be easier than you think. Take a walk through your local library. Visit a museum during lunch. Take a group to the symphony. Volunteer or collect art supplies for a school. On Facebook, “like” cultural facilities and programs supporting the arts to keep up with news and events.
GroundFloor Media has two events coming up to connect our team to the arts. The first is a “Cocktails & Canvas” event this Friday. The second is an employee, friends & family art exhibition that will be juried by the CBCA in April. We’ll post photos and share our learnings and inspiration in the coming weeks. If you are involved as an individual, team or business, we want to know. Share your stories with us below or on our Facebook page.