Winner from First FinancialI’m inspired today by the IT group of First Financial Bank, one of 2015’s 270 business partners conducting ArtsWave campaigns. Their entry into an organization-wide sculpture competition took top prize, thanks to its ingenious incorporation of a list of required everyday materials transformed into something magical. Ladybug buttons, shredded paper grass, pipecleaner flowers and a popsicle stick birdhouse all were combined in a beautiful tabletop diorama.

What’s particularly fun about this activity is how the group came together to solve a problem in an innovative way. They had to be open-minded with their materials in order to transform them, and through that innovation, they could tell a winning new story.

In this respect, the work of artists and arts organizations is a lot like the work of entrepreneurs and start-ups. Something must be risked and transformed in order to create something new and compelling. There must be an open-mindedness to change and possibility.  At ArtsWave, we believe that the arts can contribute to creating both the creative workforce and the vibrant economy needed for a city to  be a fruitful environment for start-ups.

In fact, there is so much synergy between thriving start-ups and thriving arts that it’s worth noting: cities that are successful in attracting entrepreneurs and innovators are also leveraging the energy and creative “base” provided by their arts and cultural sectors. One example is Miami, where the Arts and Business Council is having an exhibitor’s booth for the first time at the eMerge Americas tech conference next month.  And next week, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance will host “TechniCulture” as part of Philly Tech Week, showcasing collaborations between cutting-edge tech and cultural institutions of varying sizes.

Here at home, ArtsWave is pleased to be among the advisory partners of Cintrifuse, an organization dedicated to fostering the type of environment and resources that help start-ups thrive, as it plans a fresh event this summer to connect entrepreneurial thinkers of all types.  Part festival, part conference, NewCo. Cincinnati
 will include arts organizations among its showcase of our community’s start-up businesses. Applications for host locations are still being accepted, so contact me if you would like more information about connecting your cultural venue to #StartUpCincy.