Art Loan Program Connects Local Businesses with Local Artists

Cambridge Arts Council’s Art Loan program has enabled local artists to place their work in participating businesses throughout Cambridge. A mutually beneficial relationship is formed by connecting local businesses with artwork that has roots in Cambridge.

Building on the Cambridge Arts Challenge, a pilot program that took place in Spring 2015, Cambridge Arts applied for and received a multi-year grant from Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Adams Art Program to develop mechanisms to engage cultural economic development along with the arts.

The resulting initiative, Creative Marketplace, is comprised of a suite of three programs that boost the visibility of the arts and drive local economic activity.

The three programs are:

  • Exhibitions, a corporate exhibitions program that builds partnerships and provides exhibition opportunities between local artists and Cambridge-based corporate and business environments.
  • Cambridge Arts Challenge, an audience development initiative that connects the local corporate community and employees in the City with the vibrant arts and culture sector, resulting in increased knowledge and patronage of the arts.
  • Community Supported Art (CSArt), a proven initiative modeled on the community supported agriculture delivery system that provides professional development, economic support, and audience development for local individual artists.

Participating in Cambridge Arts’ Creative Marketplace Exhibitions program has enabled Workbar, a relatively new company that serves as a network of coworking and meeting spaces with a connected community, to create a comfortable and inspiring environment.

“When people come to a place like Workbar, they want to be in a place that’s comfortable, conducive, and inspiring to their work,” says Devin Cole, Head of Community at Workbar in Central Square.

The Exhibitions program connects local artists with local businesses by facilitating year-long loans of art— original paintings, quilts, photos and fine prints—to the enterprises. The art enlivens their locales and distinguishes them from their peers. Below are some examples of community supported artwork.

“We want to have each of our locations to reflect the local community that we’re part of,” Cole says. “This is an arts district and we want to support and be part of that. This is something that makes Central Square so special and Central Square being special enables us to be a successful business here.”

Some of the Cambridge businesses participating in the Corporate Exhibitions program include Boston Properties, Harding House, and Clark, Hunt, Ahern, & Embry Attorneys at Law. The businesses are able to see a difference in their workplace with the addition of impressive local artwork.

“The Cambridge Arts Council does a really great job. … The art is really well curated and placed deliberately according to the colors and shape of the room,” Cole says. “Our members really notice it whenever we do a change over.”

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Published by

Jamie Martin

Public Information Office co-op.