Arizona welcomed its first ever ArtWORKS PHX Creative City Symposium — a collaborative event in hopes of integrating the arts into businesses across the valley — on Nov. 2.  

Two Downtown Phoenix community organizations, Phoenix Community Alliance and Artlink, partnered to encourage businesses to engage with the arts as part of their business model, said Carol Poore, chair of ArtWORKS PHX Creative City Symposium. 

“Our symposium brought together two communities that often have operated in separate worlds — artists and business leaders,” Poor said.  

The dynamic event was oriented towards producing connections between business leaders and local artists, and artists with community leaders, in promise of attracting talent to the greater Phoenix region and the state as a whole to create a more collaborative working environment.  

Phoenix Community Alliance is an affiliate of Downtown Phoenix Inc., working to improve the Downtown Phoenix area that has seen a renaissance over the past decade. Artlink is the organizing nonprofit behind renowned Phoenix events such as the First Friday Art Walk.  

Downtown Phoenix
“Gimme Shelter” was commissioned to design shade and landscape enhancements for Pierce Street, from Central Avenue to 1st Street. The project bolstered Phoenix’s efforts to revitalize its urban core as a connected oasis by integrating shade structures into streetscape and other essential pedestrian improvements downtown. (Provided photo)

The Symposium consisted of two parts: The first part was geared towards local artists and how they can become more successful in reaching out to businesses and partnerships. The second half was focused primarily on business leaders and how businesses can work more effectively to incorporate local artists into their working environment. 

Based on a survey conducted by Phoenix Community Alliance, it found that most participants rated Phoenix as a low vibrancy city and that cities such as Denver, Portland and Seattle were most creative with the environments that make up the community.  

The Symposium was an attempt to bridge those gaps and, “emphasize the fact that employees want to work and live in vibrant communities,” Poore said.  

The event had Keynote speakers such as Emily Peck, the vice president of Private Sector Initiatives for Americans for the Arts. Panelists at the event consisted of artists and business leaders such as Peter Deise, Adam Goodman, Jason Schupbach, Mark Feldman, Kate Marquez and more.  

The first-ever Symposium has set high standards for the ones that follow in pursuit; highlighting the importance of effective partnerships between businesses and artists and connecting arts, culture and innovation within the realms of using creative competition to the businesses’ advantage.  

This economic development was structured in providing an, “understanding of how partnerships between local businesses and local artists can improve the overall quality of life at the business as well as within the city,” said Poore.