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Local Artists Learn "Business Fundamentals" in Creative Continuum Program at Bentley

February 20, 2007

There's a growing awareness in the world of business -- in order to be successful, companies must embrace and utilize creativity. The Creative Continuum Program, offered recently through a partnership between Bentley College, Massachusetts College of Art (MassArt), Art Services Coalition and Fort Point Cultural Coalition, helped artists and designers to develop the business skills that will make them a valuable commodity for business employers.

The three-week program featured:

*Lessons on fundamentals of business including organizational structure, behavior and change, accounting and finance, marketing and operations.

* Students working in teams with representatives from sponsoring businesses -- such as Fidelity, Keyspan and Hill Holliday -- to help them solve real strategic problems.

"The Creative Continuum course is truly unique," said Dr. Alan Hoffman, Bentley College Professor of Strategic Management and one of the professors who led the program. "Courses that teach artists how to open and run their own art studio have been around for years. This course is innovative because it focuses on how corporations can tap into the creativity and imagination of artists to help solve real business problems."

Creative Continuum goes beyond providing business skills to artists. It is also committed to fostering a greater appreciation of creative thinking in the business community and providing businesses with people who bring a creative sensibility to problem solving.

It's a concept which is front and center of a report recently released by The National Center on Education and the Economy. The report, titled Tough Choices or Tough Times, calls for an overhaul of the U.S. education system, http://skillscommission.org/. The report asserts the US needs to produce more workers who can think creatively because in the future they will face "...a world in which comfort with ideas and abstractions is the passport to a good job, in which creativity and innovation are the key to good life...".

Cory Hage, an artist who recently completed Creative Continuum, says the emerging "creative economy" is what brought her to Bentley. "I read in Newsweek that companies want creative people. And artists do have a lot to offer. They're not afraid to not know the solution or answer and are willing to step outside their element and see things from different perspectives."

"The students have a wide range of artistic experience, including design, photography, media production, and painting. They approach the business problems shared by Fidelity, Keyspan and Hill Holiday with truly creative minds and lots of energy. Their approach is both visual and visceral," according to Dr. Aaron Nurick, Wilder Professor of Management and Psychology at Bentley, who co-designed the course. "I believe they're getting a great foundation for learning about business and, at the same time, seeing how their unique way of thinking can provide a new resource for the companies."

The Creative Continuum Program is partially funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council's John and Abigail Adams Arts Program for Cultural Economic Development. The project adds a critical component to the ongoing support for Greater Boston's arts community - business education- while giving businesses access to the creativity and imagination innate to artists and designers.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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