Found an Arts Model in Tucson!

A few highlights from my trip, by Lisa Scails | February 9, 2020

Each year, a representative from American’s for the Arts (AFTA) -Private Sector Council is our host for the winter meeting. This year in Tucson, AZ it was my colleague, Kate Marquez, Executive Director of SAACA – The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance. Kate and her team have certainly established SAACA as a critical resource for arts and creativity in Tucson, a population of more than half a million people. While there are plenty arts organizations to point to, SAACA is the only organization that serves to “strengthen the bonds between people, place and purpose, through collaborative, arts-driven experiences.”

SAACA is leading the way for art and business collaborations of all sizes and has created over 200,000 arts-driven experiences from innovative community festivals and cultural celebrations to creative sector development and accessible arts enrichment programs, according to their website. As serious facilitators of public art and Placemaking opportunities throughout Tucson, SAACA is now expanding to Phoenix. SAACA implements programs to engage employees in the workplace as well as managing music programs and has tapped into the culinary arts system very effectively. Visit their website for lots more information.

SAACA’S work spans across sectors.
• Arts & Healthcare
• Arts Education
• Arts & Cultural Resource, and
• Advocacy

SAACA recently expanded their bricks and mortar and moved to a new location – called CATALYST, located at the Tucson Mall, and it is SAACA’s largest community investment to date.
CATALYST is a first-of-its-kind innovative space where culture, collaboration and community intersect. Combining over 14,000 square feet of flexible learning, performance, gathering and maker spaces which highlight over 30 disciplines, CATALYST is a space for all ages and forms of creativity to flourish.

pARTnership Movement
Americans for the Arts’ program and online platform designed to reach arts and business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can provide a competitive edge. The resources, communications, and field education are also aimed at building the capacity of local arts agencies on how they can create pARTnership with business. The program includes a website with news stories, research, resources, and opportunities for in-person workshops for business and arts groups, as well as a series of ads and op-eds/articles in business journals and national media outlets.

Case Studies & Tools

8 Reasons to Partner with the Arts:
The pARTnership Movement mantra. The 8 Reasons form the foundation for field education programming. The 8 reasons are divided into three categories to speak to specific audiences within business. The first reason stands apart as it applies to all areas. They are as follows:
Cultivate Diversity & Empathy: Partnering with the arts allows your employees, company and community to gain a better understanding of diverse cultures and ideas and helps build an inclusive workforce.

• Amplify Skills
• Drive Innovation
• Show Gratitude

• Set your Business Apart
• Enliven the Workplace

• Enrich Community Life
• Advance Civic and Social Priorities

If you’d like more information about the pARTnership Movement or need help navigating their website for resources and materials, let me know. Otherwise, questions and feedback is always welcome!


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