Front cover of Employee Engagement Workbook: Arts Incubators featuring various blue colors of squares
Employee Engagement Workbook: Arts Incubators

Author: Flowers, Beth

Publication Year: 2017

Media Type: Toolkit


This workbook series focuses on one of the many ways arts organizations can work with businesses—arts-based employee engagement. This broad concept can be defined as employee engagement training or a cultural experience, delivered through various arts disciplines (music, visual art, drama etc.).


To address the changing economy of both our nation and world, lots of private companies, colleges and universities, and municipalities across America are offering business incubation programs, designed to give young businesses the tools they need to survive and thrive. The programs often don’t successfully map to the creative industries. Since the arts and culture of a community enrich it just as much as economic growth, several organizations and local arts agencies have developed arts-specific incubator programs to help individual artists thrive and allow local businesses tap into creative worktraining programs. These arts incubator programs are generally found in major metropolitan areas where there is a high concentration of individual artists, however, some of the most popular and successful incubator programs can be found in unexpected places. In large metropolitan areas, arts incubators often mimic the business incubator model—a physical space that includes rentable studio space, gallery and/or performance spaces, administrative space, shared administrative services, professional development workshops, mentoring, and other programs. Smaller communities or medium-sized, service-specific groups focus their incubation efforts on the programmatic side of traditional incubation, which often includes standalone workshops about specific business topics like marketing, social media, legal issues, accounting practices, or about industry specific topics like audience development, licensing, selling online, gallery representation, working with agents, labels, and industry trends.

This workbook focuses on the AIR Institute of Berea College, formerly known as Arts Incubator of the Rockies. This workbook chronicles the path to this organization’s existence and its essential work being done today. You will also read about ways in which you can partner with AIR as a local affiliate or strike out on your own to create an arts incubator program in your own community. This workbook will highlight the benefits of joining AIR as a local affiliate, but this is only one of many paths toward helping individual artists and businesses in your community thrive. The AIR programs are designed to engage artists with local businesses, and provide a bounty of opportunities for employee engagement through the arts. AIR programs offer creativity and professional development training, as well as skills-specific volunteer and team volunteer opportunities for artists and business employees.

Arts & Intersections: Economic Development, Workforce Development

Categories: Creative Economies, Creative Industries, Creative Workforce, Local Arts Agencies, Partnerships, Private Sector, Professional Development


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Pages: 24

Resources: Document


Name: Americans for the Arts

Website URL: