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Creating Community with Art

Clients frequently come to us with a goal of wanting to build community in the workplace. They want to show perspective team members that their company is a great place to work where people thrive, and that it cares about employee happiness. They also want current team members to be happy, work hard and stay. In other words, attracting top talent and then retaining it is a top priority. Creating gathering places where employees can connect and be social is a key to creating community in an organization. In fact, research has shown that employees who positively interact with each other are more engaged, more focused, more productive, and all around more successful at their positions.

At Art + Artisans our mission is to use art to create meaningful spaces that help people build community with each other and feel a connection to the places they spend time. But what does this actually look like? We’ve seen this process in action time and again. Here are some of our favorite ways to use art to help build those important social bonds that can lead to community in an organization.

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1. Bring together a cross-section of employees to sit on the art committee.

Working on a creative project that takes people out of their every day norm is a great way to allow co-workers to have fun while making a lasting contributing to the place they spend most of their time. In larger companies it can bring people together who might not otherwise get to know each other. And it helps employees feel invested in the process of selecting art and the final result. The bonus here is that they spread the thought process behind the pieces and their excitement about them to their co-workers and help increase overall employee engagement.

2. Work with a muralist or an artist

Someone who specializes in customized installation pieces is a way to weave in company culture or values into a space and spark some great conversation among team members. For example, one of our clients installed a monumental and dynamic 3D wire piece in one of their employee buildings. The building housed different departments that had all recently been brought together from offices throughout the city to under one roof. During the 3- week on site installation which took place during work hours, employees were able to see the double height white lobby wall completely transform into a bold colorscape complete with optical illusions. The vibrant piece represented the company’s openness to innovation and the energy inherent in its young digital teams. People were able to talk to the artist about his concept, understand the process behind it, and watch daily progress. Because the lobby was an established break-out space and free work area, many discussions were sparked, and connections made as people gathered to 'ooh and ah' as piece took its magical form.

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3. Have an art walk!

This is SO easy and SO fun, requires almost no effort on your part and is budget friendly. Leading an art walk to celebrate a new space allows the opportunity to guide interested people through the new art at the office, give them some information on the pieces and the artists who created them. For a recent client we picked late afternoon on a Monday. Everyone from executives, associates, and the administrative team joined in. They asked great questions and had a lot of fun mingling with their co-workers and having some fun at the end of a long Monday. The client was elated. “We had so many employees participate and they loved learning about the artists and the process behind the pieces in our collection. It was so well received and such an easy way to bring everyone together and help build community in our office!”

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4. Go Local!

People feel an automatic connection with what they know. By working with local artists or selecting artwork that in some way represents your city, you are helping to promote a shared experience that different people can connect with. It’s a great conversation starter for employees, a way to demonstrate your values to clients visiting your space, and a means to show your support for the community at large. Multiply this by 10 if the piece has particular WOW factor and is in a prime location!

The end game is to create a space where people feel engaged, want to spend time and have the opportunity to connect with one another. Flourishing social networks is a key factor to workplace success and more and more forward-thinking companies are using art as a means to help build them.