The Art of Business

     A wonderful conversation with Gregory B. Ladewski yesterday afternoon resulted in a stunning book on my desk this morning.  It's called Tee Markers: Flame & Flower, Glass & Steel.   The high gloss table top format both tells and shows the story of the collaboration between the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Club at Harbor Shores and the Benton Harbor Arts District in creation of unique tee markers for each of the 18 holes.  Water Street Glassworks in particular through board president Anne Odden with Master glass blower Jerry Catania and celebrated metal artist Josh Andres.  The extraordinary photography was done by David Knight.

     As the introductory text states: "Each marker is a work of art in its own right celebrating one of Jack Nicklaus' record eighteen major titles, and each is dedicated to a native plant or tree...Harbor Shores' mixed media markers integrate golfing history, varied habitats, and one-of-a-kind, museum quality sculptures, unified through the theme of local plant life."

     The book is exquisite and well worth the $40 price tag, but that's not my point.  If you're not aware of how dramatically important the arts is to community and economic development, do your own quick search.  The evidence is simply overwhelming.  The entrepreneurs who began to renovate old empty buildings in downtown Benton Harbor were the catalysts that, whether you want to say directly or indirectly lead to the development of Harbor Shores.  That's not to take anything away from those leaders and businesses outside of that specific district, but artists see things that aren't visible to MBA's, and create them. (I have an apologies to MBA's post coming soon).
    Yesterday a reader from France (thank you) posted a comment on Killing Creativity that led me to watch a Sir Ken Robinson video about education paradigms I hadn't seen before.  That will be a different discussion post soon, but Sir Ken talked about the arts in the development of divergent thinking; a requirement in our organizations, our students, and ourselves today.   As someone whose original major in college at Grand Valley State University was improvisational theater and communication, I completely agree.  Today though, the video below was produced by WNIT about Water Street Glassworks.

     Just so you're clear on my paradigm: Business needs art and artists beyond what's purchased for lobbies, grounds and office walls. Cutting funding for the arts because budgets are tight everywhere leads to the kind of individual leadership and thinking that has no community vision and caused the global economic collapse. The only place there is one correct answer to the question is in textbooks. Supporting the arts develops creativity, innovation, and divergent thinking to solve problems, see beyond the surface of the moment, and build a better future. Of course, as Dennis Miller used to say:  That's just my opinion.  I could be wrong.  Now to get back to my excel spread sheets...

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