By Andrea K. Hammer
To accelerate economic growth, a fundamental integration of the arts and business worlds is urgently needed. Instead of segregating each into right- and left-brain domains relegated to our work versus our leisure time, these two essential forces must finally be united into one viable whole.
Artists know how to look at the world — and problem solve — with fresh eyes. If businesses regularly invited photographers, crafters and writers to participate in brainstorming sessions and hold employee workshops, some new solutions and strategies might arise.
For example, an “artist-in-residence” program — featuring rotating artists — could provide businesses with unexplored alternatives for deeply entrenched and ineffective practices. In exchange, employees could share their administrative expertise — from bookkeeping to technology — with artists who often prefer to focus on the creative process. Through counseling about ingredients for a sound business, artists could find ways to ease their financial stress.
Inspiring Models and Team-Building Workshops for Organizations
Here are a couple of effective models for team building and problem solving:
Pilobolus, featuring the work of choreographers and dancer-athletes who loop themselves into interwoven body sculptures, reveals a structural understanding of effective weight sharing. Without the assistance if each dancer in maintaining balanced placement within the larger configuration, the unified entities created during each dance performance would simply collapse — an important point for business employees to observe visually.
Based on the company’s collaborative method, Pilobolus offers team-building workshops and interactive lecture demonstrations to train others in effective group creativity. These educational programs for schools, colleges and public arts organizations as well as leadership workshops for corporate executives, employees and business schools are designed to stimulate a group’s understanding of its own creative potential. The sessions help free desk-chained workers from habitual and traditional expectations as they learn group-partnering techniques.
Art Wolfe, a master photographer with an artistic eye, also provides inspiration for finding new angles. He consistently discovers riveting shots that others cannot see — even when they are looking at the same landscape. With an eye for compelling detail, this photographer magically creates art out of rocks in Madagascar or an older woman’s wizened face outside a yurt in Mongolia.
Wolfe also looks at remote corners of the globe to educate viewers about endangered wildlife and the need to preserve majestic landscapes, which rightfully restore proper scale. His talent for revealing the vast size of the world along with detailed observations offers instruction in sharpening one’s focus and developing more complete vision.
Based in Seattle, Art Wolfe also holds photography workshops, lectures and tours. These opportunities will help you find new ways of looking at the world–and return to your own with a fresh perspective.
Advantages of Hiring Artisans and Implementing a Creative Perspective
In an ideal world, many companies would benefit from the gifts of these master artisans. Here are some of the advantages of working with other local artists, particularly for companies hitting the wall:
- Artists are already experts, with tips to share, about living frugally. To write, paint or dance, we are accustomed to making sacrifices and living on meager salaries so we can immerse ourselves in our work. Invite an artist to give a workshop on ways to trim expenses and stay focused on fulfilling a passion.
- Ask a professional photographer to teach employees how to take effective but creative digital photographs. This skill may translate into new ways of seeing other organizational issues and reduce photography costs for promotional materials. At the very least, the session will refresh exhausted and stressed employees, which will pump some renewed energy and hope back into the organization.
- Like photographers hunting for an unconventional view, look at issues from a new angle. For example, swap job responsibilities for a day to gain a better understanding of each others’ pressures. Presidents will better grasp the unrelenting demands on administrative assistants and vice versa.
- Hold an employee-wide problem-solving session with several artists in attendance. Challenge participants to assume the role of CEO and offer solutions — rather than complaints — about imminent demands. At a minimum, the negative water-cooler gossip might diminish.
- Hire a writer to teach effective ways of communicating an organization’s mission along with basic grammar skills — a critical need sorely lacking in many businesses. Without crystal-clear and targeted messages, these sputtering boats will stall.
- Support artists interested in bartering–or exchanging their work for specified products and services from cameras to dentistry. Although many of us still prefer cash, this model — intended to inspire those in other fields — offers a way to stay in the game until a financial storm passes.
- Offer a creative solution rather than contribute to the frenzy of frustration and fear, which feeds on itself and takes on its own life. The negativity is contagious.
- Most of all, remain focused on the essentials of a contented life. We all need money to pay basic bills and live, but what else do we really need besides time with our loved ones and good health? If you’re an artist, you simply need to create.
By sharing our inherent talents as we navigate financial challenges in a rapidly changing world together, we can all hang onto our true worth in gold.
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