How Nonprofits Are Injecting Artists Into High-Tech Startups

Photo for CODAME's workshop, Building Environmental Sound with Moldover

Forbes, by Rosemarie Truman on Jan 23, 2020.

The Walton Family Foundation

At the Center for Advancing Innovation, we’re working with the Walton Family Foundation to systematically inject artists into high-tech enterprises through the SCALE Challenge. SCALE stands for “supply chain and logistics enterprises.” It’s an initiative to launch 20 new companies in Northwest Arkansas. The challenge is the first of its kind, as all startups will have artists on their teams. This fusion of art and high tech generates disruption in a positive manner and fosters the growth and development of unique innovation. Teams in the SCALE Challenge are integrating artists into high-tech companies through an initial advisory role that can introduce new modes of thinking into product development, stakeholder engagement and more.


Another example of a nonprofit that is injecting art and artists into the high-tech world is actually a partner of ours: CODAME. This organization conducts events that blend art and technology in systematic ways. That means cultivating artists and technology gurus and showing them how a blending of their worlds can offer more to both of those worlds. The whole is more than the sum of the parts when technology and art are merged. Answers are not required at CODAME, but questions are encouraged. By valuing these questions, the organization creates spaces that encourage discovery and exploration.

Using a machine-hallucinated image to explore dreams, fusing sound and painting, and many other collaborative efforts have been undertaken in these creative spaces. Entrepreneurs, artists, leaders, amateurs, innovators and everyone in between are welcome to learn with and about CODAME in order to bring out their artistic abilities and understand how this creativity can be used in a way that improves and adjusts the value of technology and how it is used. Everything from collectives to corporations and from startups to nonprofits have used CODAME information and creativity to find their way.


As more coworking spaces pop up in the Short North and surrounding areas, I’d imagine more tech startups would as well. Pairing tech startups with artists, or helping artists find opportunities in tech is a really unique solution that I had never considered before.


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