Business investment in the arts strengthens the economy and the community


Faced with closures and very limited in-person visitor options, museums and other cultural institutions have experienced significant challenges over the past year.

Raju Patel, left, and Christoph Heinrich

According to a recent study by Americans for the Arts in July 2021, nonprofit arts and culture organizations across the country lost approximately $17.97 billion. Closer to home, the Colorado Business Economic Impact Study for the Arts found that the local arts and culture scene lost a decade of growth during the pandemic in 2020.

The study, released in November 2021, also revealed something surprising after a year with challenges unprecedented in recent memory: Arts giving rose more than 5% in 2020 from the previous year.

Partnerships between cultural institutions and the business sector are an important part of the ecosystem here in Colorado and can help provide greater public access to art and support world-class experiences in our own community.

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An example of a successful collaboration between a company and a non-profit organization is the Art conservation projecta unique program through which Bank of America provides grants to nonprofit museums around the world to preserve works of art of historical or cultural significance that are at risk of deteriorating.

This year, the Denver Art Museum was among a select group of 23 curatorial project recipients. As a nonprofit educational resource that sparks creative thought and expression through transformative experiences with art, the museum’s collections not only reflect our city and region, but also provide our community with invaluable ways to learn more about world cultures.

The art curatorial project’s selections represent different art movements, media and time periods – and, most importantly, cultures. Through this collaboration, the Denver Art Museum is restoring one of its most culturally significant collections, the Acoma Pueblo Textiles, to preserve artistic traditions and support the Acoma Pueblo Community.

In collaboration with Acoma Pueblo tribal leaders, the museum will hold 12 mantas, or shawls, made by Acoma Pueblo artists between 1850 and 1935. Each piece, woven from natural or dyed cotton and wool, features embroidered borders in geometric patterns that reflect Acoma Pueblo traditions. Conservation is ongoing on site at the museum until May 2022.

We are proud that the longstanding partnership between Bank of America and the Denver Art Museum extends far beyond this important curatorial effort:

  • During the summer of 2021, when in-person activities were limited, we partnered to bring the 10th century sculpture “Bodhisattva of Compassion Seated in Royal Ease” to art lovers virtually thanks to the bank’s brand new art program, masterpiece momenta unique digital offering that celebrates great works of art in the collections of 25 partners across the United States.
  • We also recently announced that “Modern Women/Modern Vision: Works from the Bank of America Collection” will be part of the Denver Art Museum’s spring lineup. Inauguration at the museum on May 1 of this traveling exhibition, on loan through the bank Art in our communities program, celebrates the contributions of women to the development and evolution of photography in the 20and century.
  • In addition, From Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France created on November 14, 2021 at the museum. Sponsored by Bank of America, the exhibit features more than 100 paintings made between 1855 and 1913 as part of the first comprehensive examination of France’s stylistic impact on American painting of the time.

We believe in the power of art to enrich societies. The arts not only help build communities and support economic opportunity, but also help us recognize and address pressing societal issues by creating greater cultural understanding.

Especially amid the challenges presented over the past year, continued cross-industry collaboration and support for nonprofit arts institutions is essential to ensure that future generations can access, appreciate and learn from great works of art. We encourage businesses to consider deepening their investments in our local arts institutions.

Raju Patel, of Denver, is president of Bank of America Denver. Christoph Heinrich lives in Jefferson Country and is chief operating officer of the Denver Art Museum.

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