What was founded in Berlin, performs all year across Europe, Japan and North America, and returns annually to entertain classical music aficionados in Missouri?
That’s the Jacques Thibaud String Trio, an award-winning group Brewer Science helps bring back each year to stage both public and private concerts. Those events are among the perks offered to the community and Brewer Science staff as part of the company’s longstanding commitment to promoting the arts and giving back to the community.
Brewer Science founder, Dr. Terry Brewer, fosters a spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity among his staff, sponsoring both the musical group and an annual juried art show called “Pure Enjoyment,” which draws participants from across the country.
“Customers sometimes ask why Brewer Science, a global technology company, would have a passion to promote original artwork,” remarks Dr. Brewer, who won the 2014 Missouri Arts Award for Philanthropy. “We believe the creativity in art and the creativity in scientific and technological innovations are closely related. Supporting opportunities in our community that stimulate originality, creativity and diversity is part of our mission.”
Dr. Brewer may have been a pioneer in advocating for the arts when he founded the company, but he’s now far from alone in emphasizing their important relationship to science. Research supports the notion that scientists and artists share similar cognitive processes when engaged in their work, with the left and right sides of the brain working together to brainstorm new ideas and find solutions to problems. Further, both kinds of people share a focused state of consciousness when absorbed in their work, according to psychologist and author Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. He describes the resulting “flow” as an energized, highly productive state of mind in which the subject is so involved as to lose track of time.
The impact of arts education on critical-thinking skills crucial to science has also been highly publicized in recent years, leading to a greater emphasis on K-12 STEAM curricula. Youth studying the arts achieve better academic outcomes, higher career goals and better civic engagement, says a National Endowment for the Arts study. And further research finds arts education boosts math achievement, develops problem-solving abilities, promotes perseverance and increases capacity for leadership.
“Given the unconventional nature and scale of the problems we face today, there is real value to be gained from collaborations that bridge the best talents we have in both the quantitative and qualitative domains,” concludes Jon Maeda in Scientific American. “Both are dedicated to asking the big questions placed before us: “What is true? Why does it matter? How can we move society forward? The scientist’s laboratory and the artist’s studio are two of the last places reserved for open-ended inquiry, for failure to be a welcome part of the process, for learning to occur by a continuous feedback loop between thinking and doing.”
Brewer Science joins multiple businesses that now recognize the importance of supporting the arts. Aside from promoting innovation, arts and cultural productions contributed $704.2 billion to the U.S. economy in 2013 alone, making up 4.2 percent of the GDP and marking 33 percent growth since 1998. That dollar amount surpassed the contribution of other major segments including construction and utilities.
Another report indicates U.S. business sponsorships for arts programs will reach $970 million this year, representing 4 percent of all business sponsorships.
In a 2013 report, 41 percent of businesses in the U.S. had contributed to the arts in the previous year, with 96 percent of their contributions going to local programming. Their top reason for contributing? Improving quality of life in the community (54 percent).
In the future, the hope is that more businesses will find ways to financially support the creativity so crucial to innovation.
“There is a pressing need for creative people across a broad range of industries,” writes Stephen Beal, president of California College of the Arts in the Huffington Post. “Innovation is not the exclusive domain of scientists, programmers and engineers. Companies and organizations that have traditionally looked to large research universities for talent are now looking for artists and designers — creative people who will bring to the workplace unique problem-solving skills, entrepreneurial spirit and a deep understanding of the user experience.”
The eclectic exhibit “Pure Enjoyment,” which typically features 70 to 90 pieces of juried artwork, is set for October 7–27 at the Creamery Arts Center in Springfield, Missouri. The public is invited to an opening reception October 7 from 5–8 p.m. More info is available by calling the Springfield Regional Arts Council at 417-862-2787.
The Jacques Thibaud Trio performs for the community in late spring or early summer at the Peaceful Bend Vineyard in Steelville, Missouri. The group plans to release an album next year and is now performing internationally at universities, museums, festivals and concert halls.