ART@WORK: Inspiring the Workplace and Community Through the Arts

ArtAtWorkKansas City boasts one of the largest corporate challenges in the country for displays of physical endurance and teamwork, but the region also is home to another type of corporate challenge — one in which creativity and innovation deluge the workplace.

Entering its sixth year, Art@Work, an inventive program of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City created in partnership with DST Systems Inc., has been inspiring area companies and their employees to explore their artistic sides and share their literary, visual and performing arts talents with the entire community.

“Art@Work celebrates the creative professionals in the workplace, and it helps build communication networks within a company,” said Kelly Seward, director of business programs for the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.

“The program fosters teamwork and corporate pride, and it also encourages businesses people to think more like artists,” she said. “When you encourage people to create art, you encourage them to connect their thoughts in a different way. The arts are the best place to learn the thinking styles necessary for innovation.”

Many of the area’s top CEOs recognize the arts and creative employees have a tremendous impact not only on a company’s bottom line, but also in establishing a community in which businesses and employees want to locate because of the enhanced quality of life this type of environment offers.

“The arts offer a holistic approach to your work environment,” Seward said. “There’s a transforming power of the arts and a ripple effect in the community.”

Each summer, the Art@Work program culminates in an annual corporate arts festival where winning participants showcase their artistic abilities. This year, works from 27 area companies’ employees were on display at Union Station, Crosstown Station and the Gem Theater, representing singer/songwriters, musicians, authors, poets, filmmakers, theater performers, designers, architects, chefs, visual artists and dancers — all of whom have their corporate day jobs, too.

The works offered for public viewing during the festival and eligible for “People’s Choice” and “Best in Show” awards were chosen through in-house competitions in the visual, literary and performing arts at each of the 27 participating companies.

Since its inception in 2007, more than 1,300 employees and CEOs have engaged in this unique corporate arts challenge, and the number of participating companies has nearly tripled.

“Art@Work reminds us that artists play an important role in our community — they’re CEOs, accountants and security guards,” Seward said. “Some of the most creative minds in Kansas City can be found in the office.”l

CategoriesPerforming Visual
KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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