Skip to main content

The Intersection of Business and the Arts

“The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.” - Daniel H. Pink, A Whole New Mind (2007)

Baltimore artist and banker Terry Thompson is one of those people who embodies the intersection of the arts and business, bringing creativity and discipline to both endeavors. Thompson is not only successful in the corporate world, but he is also a recognized visual artist with his own vocabulary of motifs, as well as an experienced event planner and DJ.  According to Thompson:

“I believe that my art practice helps me in the business world in so many ways, especially in thinking outside the box when it comes to approaching new ideas in the finance industry. There are a multitude of rules and regulations that govern the way the finance world operates, so it is helpful to be able to take a fresh, creative look at things – leveraging the way that I approach thinking about painting – being spontaneous, explorative, and investigative vistas. “

The key to developing innovative and creative thinking that can be brought into the business or innovation environment lies in experiencing the arts.   Learning to write, play music, paint, or dance all requires developing the skill to see the big picture of the overall piece as well as focus on the details in execution.  Spending time in the act of an arts discipline increases the ability to internalize and recognize patterns, nuances, and express unique ideas.  These skills lead to success when applied in other endeavors. 

According to Americans for the Arts in their Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 report, 86% of Americans “say art and culture is ‘important to their community’s quality of life and livability.’”  The report presents compelling data about the arts as a business sector, as well as the impact and importance of the arts to other business sectors (79% of Americans agree that the arts are good for local businesses and jobs).   Overall, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in the United States spent over $73.3 billion in 2022, created 2.6 million jobs, and leveraged $78.4 billion in spending by audiences.  They also brought in $29.1 billion in tax revenue at federal, state and local levels.  

“Right here in Montgomery County, nonprofit arts and culture is a $184 million industry that supports 3,963 jobs – $125 million in spending by organizations, which leverages an additional $59 million in spending arts audiences on items such as dining, parking, retail”, according to Randy Cohen, the VP Of Research for Americans for the Arts.  “The 2.6 million attendees at Montgomery County’s nonprofit arts and culture events spend an average of $23.06 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking and lodging – vital income for local businesses.” 

But more important is how the arts propel individuals and other businesses to success.  In 2012 The National Governor’s Association identified five key roles of art in economic development.

  • Providing faster and more dynamic industry cluster growth
  • Helping mature industries be more competitive
  • Acting as key catalysts for creation of innovative placemaking
  • Helping revitalize communities, and
  • Creating a workforce better prepared to solve problems.

A majority of Americans surveyed by Americans for the Arts assert that arts and culture are important to community identity and pride, and that engaging in the arts creates empathy and understanding of people with different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and beliefs. 

The challenge of how we create strong community and better economy is ever changing, especially as we redefine and refine our goals, but art and culture remains the center of the opportunity to understand each other, create empathy, and find creative innovative ways of thinking. 

Thompson’s works are on display at the Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) office (51 Monroe Street, PE20, Rockville, MD) from May 20 – July 26, 2024, where entrepreneurs,  businesses and community members can engage with Thompson’s work on Wednesdays between 2-5pm and Fridays between 1-3pm (excluding holidays). 

Artist Talk on Tuesday, May 21 at 5:30pm. Visit https://terrythompson-artisttalk.eventbrite.com for more information and RSVP.

About REDI

Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) is a public-private partnership that helps businesses launch, locate, and expand in the City of Rockville, Maryland. REDI is committed to economic growth in Rockville, offering support to existing industries and helping new businesses get started in the city. To learn more, visit: https://rockvilleredi.org/