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Corporate Art and Culture: Fostering Creativity and Innovation

Corporate art from's Commercial Ready Program
Let it all come together: taking a deeper look at the role of corporate art and innovation. Eileen Begley, "Flower, Becoming" (2023)
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How can you inspire team members to think outside the box? How can your business directly impact company culture while stoking the flames of innovation and creativity? Thoughtful corporate art has long been used as a foundation for branding and communicating company values, but incredibly, its worth runs much deeper than that. Just as many artists create to explore conceptually and communicate with deeper meaning, clever companies understand that investing in art inspires a similar cultural exchange in the workplace.

From breaking the ice and introducing an intriguing conversation starter to creating an energizing environment that galvanizes the team, making the decision to invest in corporate art is a top way to invest in your employees – and your business.

Sparking the Imagination: How Corporate Art Awakens Creative Thinking

While many businesses understandably focus on eliminating distractions and streamlining their environment, a purely minimalistic aesthetic can actually detract from the overall workplace experience – and hamper performance. Nothing is as uninspiring as a drab, soulless office. So why do so many companies continue to regurgitate the same tired look?

Vivid, energizing curations are proven to inspire, motivate, and, ultimately, increase productivity. But what’s more is that thoughtful corporate art choices can also help people think outside the box, which leads to unique solutions and a greater sense of purpose among workers.

There are, of course, multiple ways for businesses to resolve their own needs – every company has a distinct ethos and special place in the larger landscape. It simply depends on understanding what your larger intention for the work is.

You might, for example, want to establish a lively environment that elevates the spirit and invigorates workers. Look for bright colors, bold brushstrokes that spark feelings of movement, and energizing abstracts that capture the eye and inspire curiosity. Or, you may prefer to focus on relaying messages of positivity and connectivity, in which case you may turn towards work that highlights themes of diversity, interconnectedness, or inclusion. Regardless of your specific aim, the ultimate goal is rather simple: to stimulate and engage the brain.

Corporate Art
An energizing abstract can really enliven a space, bringing a breath of fresh air and engaging employees on a totally different level. Edward Bock, “Circus Center Panel” (2013)

Starting Conversations: Corporate Art’s Role in Facilitating Thoughtful Exchanges

Time and time again, clients relay that they are stunned by how their new curations encourage employees to pause, observe, and connect with colleagues. One of art’s greatest contributions is its ability to spark conversations: we question, we comment, and we ask others what they think. And this sort of connection in the workplace is truly invaluable for business owners and employees alike. In fact, this study suggests that leveraging arts-based corporate strategies increased employee creativity and growth by 59%.

Openness and good communication are foundational to productive and positive experiences – they build trust and a sense of community. And the reality is, if employees feel like they are part of a larger web and that their thoughts and opinions matter, they’ll be more likely to contribute and collaborate. It may sound counterintuitive, but the reality is that you may ultimately uncover better solutions by installing corporate art and enlivening the environment than by forcing another dead-end meeting.

Tap Into the Subconscious: The Role of Color in Corporate Art

We’ve discussed this concept previously, but it bears repeating: colors do have a remarkable impact on the brain, and the choices you make can affect both moods and energy levels. In fact, this University of Texas study found that color elicits specific and predictable responses in the brain, which implies that our productivity levels and creative output might also be impacted:

  • White was found to be the worst choice, as white walls feel sterile and cold – thus stifling creativity.
  • Yellow and orange were correlated with positive feelings like optimism and excitement and have been shown to inspire inventive thinking and creativity. Looking to help people feel inspired, motivated, and innovative? These sunny hues might be the way to go. 
  • Red has bonafide physiological effects on the body and brain: in fact, it’s been shown to increase heart rates and elevate blood pressure. If you’re hoping to give employees an additional edge with a little pick-me-up, red is an excellent choice.
  • Blue, on the other hand, might be best for complicated, intricate tasks that require deep concentration. Shown to have a calming effect while increasing attentiveness, it strikes a delicate balance between soothing the nervous system while stimulating the brain: a headspace that’s likely ideal for most workers. 
  • Green is another naturally calming color that has been shown to ease anxiety and foster a more welcoming space. And what better way to access your most sophisticated thinking than by starting in a relaxing, nourishing environment? 
Corporate ARt
The most creative thoughts come from a place of centered calm. Give employees a leg up by selecting shades of green to ground the office. Karen Fieldstad, “Green Trees” (2016).

Thinking Outside the Box: How Corporate Art Inspires and Unites Different Types of Thinkers

It may be difficult for certain businesses to fully understand how corporate art can make a genuine difference, but the initial idea is quite simple: it’s about getting back to basics, getting messy, and allowing ourselves to explore bold frontiers in new spaces. At Nokia Bell Labs, there’s a focus on fusing the arts and technology – two worlds that, for too long, were considered totally separate. The pARTnership Movement explains:

“Nokia Bell Labs acknowledges that engineers and scientists are often trained to be reductionist in their thinking, which can limit their perspective of the world. The artistic community embraces diversity of thought, diversity of perspectives, and diversity of skills, which contributes to an ever-changing sense of culture and community. With purposeful fusion of the creative mind and the scientific mind, it provides vast benefits to both and ultimately to humanity.” Indeed, it seems that a thoughtful amalgamation of art and technology leads to thinking bigger and, of course, more thoughtfully designed products – making Nokia an undisputed industry leader.

Meanwhile, at the Boston-based law firm Lando & Anastasi, company heads also have a unique spin on the value of bringing corporate art into the fold:

“Art is a great way to break the ice, because art itself is conversation. As a firm specializing in patent and intellectual property law, Lando & Anastasi’s clients are creative thinkers working on the cutting edge of biotech, software and technology fields. “[As attorneys] we support the creative process most often in technology…[so] it suits us to work with artists as creative thinkers and creators. If the purpose of art in the office is to somehow make you feel good, take you momentarily away to appreciate the world around us, we have succeeded.” It turns out that helping employees feel good is a way to do good – and you’ll achieve better results in the long run.

Corporate Art fro
When it comes to investing in corporate art for employees, the sky truly is the limit. Sarah Heitmeyer, “Sky Water” (2021)

Rounding up the “Whys”: the Deeper Value of Corporate Art

When you look at the bigger picture, budgeting for a thoughtful corporate art curation might be the smarter move in the long run. If your hope is to motivate your workforce, enhance creativity, and spark innovation, art is the foundation for long-term employee satisfaction and, ultimately, productivity.

Industry leaders and forward thinkers understand that beautiful art possesses the ability to:

  • Lessen stress. No more drab walls! It’s been shown that workers with lower stress levels often have access to art and more pleasant environments.
  • Brand and unify. Interestingly, the concept of branding has internal implications as well: it’s a crucial way to connect with customers, but it also gives the company a strong identity that can rally employees and give them something to get behind.
  • Engage staff. Much like the brief discussion about branding above, corporate art possesses the power to create a sense of pride and ownership among employees. And when employees feel more connected to the company, they get passionate – and more involved.
  • Inspire. It cannot be overstated: art’s role in creating a visually appealing office has a direct effect on employee satisfaction – and their ability to think creatively. 
  • Increase productivity. Your office is not a gulag – putting time, care, and attention into your corporate art selections shows employees that you care. Better yet? Peaceful, soothing environments are shown to promote productivity. 

So what are you waiting for? Give the people what they want: you’ll soon see that it’s a major win-win. 

How has corporate art influenced your workplace atmosphere and creativity? Share your insights or what you envision could make a difference in the comments below.

About the author

Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly attended Syracuse University and majored in French Literature, which inspired her to start her first blog, FauxFrench. She has worked as an illustration agent at Morgan Gaynin Inc., a premiere boutique agency in New York, as well as written for commercial and marketing assignments, conducted historical and academic research, journalism, and education

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