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Employee Art Program

What is it?

An employee incentive program that brings people together - your staff with each other and your company with people outside your walls.

Your staff submit photographs or other artworks to be professionally printed and displayed in your offices for up to one year. You get beautiful artwork for the offices - artwork that is meaningful to your staff. Wrap up the year long program with a public exhibition to show off your commitment to a happy and stimulated workforce. After exhibition, employees keep their own artworks or donate them to community organizations.

Benefits

  • More beautiful workspace
  • Workplace and employee satisfaction
  • Team building through shared interests
  • Personal enrichment for your employees
  • Community awareness of your company & culture
  • A meaningful contribution & equity for employees beyond their day to day professional expertise

WHAT KIND OF ARTWORKS ARE ACCEPTED?

PHOTOGRAPHY
HAND DRAWN ART & printmaking
PAINTING
DIGITAL ART
EVEN PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY

art program as Employee incentive

Company retreats, employee outings and team bonding events fall toward the bottom of the scale when considered as a recruiting and retention motivator. Incentives that are personally meaningful to the individual employee rank higher. The employee art program is designed to promote team building and employee bonding (what you as the employer really want) which are really just byproducts of employees participating for their own personal enjoyment (what your staff wants). I would rank the value of running an employee art program somewhere between paid maternity leave and free coffee on this valued benefits survey that Harvard Business Review conducted in 2015. And more of your staff will participate than you might expect.

WHY AM I DOING THIS... AND WHY SHOULD YOU?

How is this employee art program Unique?

Workplace art programs that focus solely on exhibition of artworks from employees will only involve people in your company who are already accomplished artists. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that strategy. There is however; a missed opportunity to engage the larger majority of your staff who practice their photography or art as a hobby but are not confident that their work is ready for a public showing.

This program is not just about printing some pictures to put on the wall. Art connects and communicates in ways that language cannot. Engaging in the process is where we learn about ourselves and each other because we are trying, learning, failing and improving. That is where the team building takes place - experienced artists amongst your staff can share their skills with those who are just learning a visual craft and everyone will learn more about each other during the program. This process happens in the creative community.

The Creative community

Anyone who participates will be invited to the creative community, and have access for one full year. This community is called the *Visual Literacy Project. I host this community on Mighty Networks. Mighty Networks is a software platform completely independent from any social media. People do not need to have a Facebook or Google account to join and participate. It is completely ad free and everyone's info is private. All employees who submit artwork are welcome to benefit from this community regardless of whether their artwork is selected for display in your offices or not.

There are two participation channels in this community:

  • PRIVATE GROUP: This is where your employees interact with each other to submit, share and discuss their art. I do one one one interactions with your staff to discuss their submissions, work on their composition or technique, prepare the works for printing & display, give critiques, and host virtual town hall meetings with guest artists and anyone in your company who wants to attend. At least one representative from your human resources or management team should also be a part of this group.
  • PUBLIC COMMUNITY: The public community is a place for all participants to collaborate, critique, discuss, share, and get inspired. Guest artists contribute in the public community on a more regular basis so participants are encouraged to be active in the public community to receive guidance from guest artists who have styles and artistic disciplines that differ from my own personal focus on photography.

*Why is the community called "Visual Literacy Project"? Visual Literacy Project is the name for the public face of the program across social media. Your staff can participate on social channels for free with our guest artists if you choose not to continue the paid program.

GUEST ARTISTS

Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Unsplash

The guest artists who contribute to the community are my own personal network of visual artists. Organized events with guest artists include:

  • Meet the Artist
  • Critiques of submissions
  • Lecture style presentation
  • How-to talks demonstrating their technique

My hope is that this employee art program will be just one leg of your company's strategy for art in your workspaces. Chances are; you have commissioned or purchased work from local artists to decorate your offices. We should reach out and invite those artists to participate in your employee art program. Yes, I am happy to make those phone calls, send those emails and coordinate with your own local guest artists. This community is the perfect place for the creatives on your staff to meet them and be inspired by them.

Submission of artworks

Isn't this a back office topic - why am I highlighting the photo uploading tool? I like talking to people, hearing their stories and learning how and why they create the art that they do. The creative community helps to draw that out so each of your staff who participate share the creative experience with their colleagues as well.

However; some of your employees will want to participate without ever joining the creative community and without talking to anybody. That's okay too, and that's why I have set up this tool and have created instructions for participants to upload their images and participate without having to talk with me at all.

I use a service called Smugmug to host and share images. This makes it super easy for people to submit their images including hi-res and tiff copies for final print proofs. Smugmug is completely private and secure. People who I invite, such as your social media or marketing teams, will be able to access the photos to download and use for community outreach and social media campaigns; which you most definitely should do!

Ready to learn more?

Download the full program info with all the details, and I'd love to talk with you personally. Even if you're just thinking about starting an employee art program but not sure what direction you want to take it, I'll bounce ideas around with you. I'm not going to push you towards this program if it's not a fit for your goals. Schedule a call with me using my Calendly scheduler.

a bit about me

I have always preferred to do the work myself and this program is no different. You won't be working with my employees or subcontractors. You'll be working with me directly, and I see no reason to add more people or overhead that would complicate things and add extra expense. If you want to work with a large organization who will plug you into their prescribed system then this is probably not the program for you. If you want a partner who truly cares about delivering a valuable experience to your organization and your staff for years to come, then let's talk and see if we're a good fit for each other. I think of myself as a partner with my clients promoting your interests rather than a contractor who is just delivering a service.

Who am I as an operator: Since 2013 I have managed software development for clients including Whole Foods, Capital One, IBM, Fox, National Geographic, and Amazon. In the years prior to software consulting; I worked for myself in new home construction wearing all the hats that come along with that, and then I spent many years in a small company doing new program & business development, vendor relations, hiring, and launching entirely new divisions. When I left that company I was director of photography and trainer for new sales/biz dev. If you are a small, mid-size, or a Fortune 100 company I have been in your environment before.

Who am I as a photographer: Since 2009 I have worked in various types of photography doing studio, commercial, travel, architecture, and publishing editorial and lifestyle stories and photos. In 2015 I began specializing in printing, exhibiting and selling photos. In 2017 I started leading international photography workshops.

After doing client photography for six years, and managing software development for five years, I now use my range of skills for something that is personally meaningful to people, brings them joy and helps individuals and companies to grow.

Kevin Wenning, Kevin@employeeartprogram.com

Travel, Photography and Family Time are my happy places

Other photos on this page by David Marcu, GoaShape, Jelleke Vanooteghem, Jonathan Meyer, Kai Oberhäuser, Miguel Bruna, Norbert Levajsics, Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

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