Over the last two weeks, ArtsWave has wrapped up the 2017 session of BOARDway Bound, our training program for prospective new arts board members. One of the most-remembered parts of the experience for each year’s class is Speed Dating, an innovation that takes place in our office and even requires our staff to work elsewhere for the afternoon.

Each of our 25 board candidates get “set up” with as many as 10 “dates”—arts organizations actively looking for qualified, interested volunteer leaders to move on to an observership with their board. There’s a minutely timed schedule for each Date so that the whole thing only takes two hours, and a loud horn signals that it’s time to find your next interview. There’s some anxiety over mapping your fastest route from one location to the next inside our office, kind of like Musical Chairs. Before they leave, both candidates and arts clients rank their conversations leaving us with a giant match-making puzzle. Somehow it works out. Over the last decade, ArtsWave’s BOARDway Bound has placed more than 300 business leaders on the boards of small and mid-sized arts organizations.

As a facilitator of the process, the thing I like most about Speed Dating is the total take-over of our space. To see arts colleagues settled in at our desks and conference tables. To see our board trainees, representing the region’s top businesses, clutching lists of questions and arts brochures as they rush from the alphabetically arranged BoyChoir in one room to WavePool at the opposite end of the floor.

One of the important parts of Speed Dating’s success is that it happens inside ArtsWave’s own walls. It’s an awesome chance to impress upon our guests the beliefs that ArtsWave most fervently upholds. Reinforcing our mission, values and strategy through our interior environment has been an iterative process over the last five years. It started when we added brand colors to key walls and our name and logo to our reception area. It continued with giant images of key benefits of the arts: people coming together to sing, dance, paint and play. Last year, we added a graphical illustration of our Blueprint for Collective Action for the Arts Sector, filling our conference room wall. Everyone meeting in our space is reminded of our strategy for driving community impact through the arts.

Our environmental design takes another giant step forward with the help of volunteers from Kolar Design, a company at the leading-edge of creating spaces that support desired outcomes. They are well known for their work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, for instance, proving through their art that attention to the physical environment can have positive benefits on health and healing.

Today, Kolar employees are transforming our highly trafficked kitchen area with a visual interpretation of the ArtsWave ARIA*, our recently refined values statement. The ARIA itself is made up of words that our staff has carefully chosen over time to reflect how we want to operate as a team and in our world. It reinforces the two things that inspire us: impact and innovation. What is exciting about the Kolar Design team’s project today is how they are bringing ARIA to life with a powerful, whimsical mural. They are even using the creative process in our space this afternoon as their own team-building activity. Company CEO Kelly Kolar explains the project like this:

"Kolar Design’s 'giveback 8' community engagement program is a part of our company DNA and this year we wanted to co-create together as a part of our own culture building at our annual meeting. ArtsWave’s mission of making waves through impact in our community was the perfect opportunity to share our aligned values of community and creativity!"

Thank you, Kolar Design, for these tremendous additions to ArtsWave’s expressive interior!

*The ArtsWave ARIA
Inspired by impact and innovation, we are:

Inclusive, and
Appreciative always.