Would you hire a corporate-sponsored artist for your company?

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Facebook pays artists to create murals that will cover their headquarters’ walls. Autodesk invites artists to spend months working in their facilities, offering them a stipend and funds for their materials. Siemens created a musician-in-residence program through its hearing aid division, and Honeywell is also considering dipping its toes in the artist residency idea well.

It may not be mainstream yet, but corporate-sponsored artists are quickly becoming a hot trend. These artists are paid to not only create artwork or musical pieces the company can use for marketing purposes, but the talent can also inspire other workers.

“Artists are great explorers and discoverers when it comes to using technology,” says Noah Weinstein, senior creative programs manager at Autodesk, according to Fast Company. “They are asking the software to do things that it does not usually do; they point out when things do not work and shed light on new functionalities at the cutting edge.”

Autodesk, which produces architectural and engineering software, invites artists to engage in a three- to six-month residency at Pier 9, the company’s digital fabrication workshop in San Francisco. Selected artists get a monthly stipend of $1,500, receive access to a host of industrial tools and instructors who could help her use them, and Autodesk paid for all of her art supplies.

As Fast Company explains, “Autodesk sees the residency as a sort of turbocharged focus group, not just an opportunity to support the arts. But from the artists’ perspective, the program is mutually beneficial: not only are they funded as they carry out their projects, they can also help to shape technology that is useful to them in their work.”

Facebook is also in the corporate-sponsored artist game, albeit much more quietly than the examples above. While there’s no formal application process, interested artists are essentially selected by the program director. In one instance, an artist was given a fee of $10,000, plus the cost of materials to produce a work of art that Facebook will display on their campus.

For your visual enjoyment, check out Wired’s photo essay on the stunning murals created by Facebook’s artists-in-residence.

Would your company benefit from an artist-in-residence program? Why, why not? Let us know in the comments below!

Flickr photo via Creative Commons

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David Silverberg
David Silverberg is the former editor-in-chief of Digital Journal Inc. He helped pioneer Digital Journal's proprietary technology to leverage content from writers from across the world. He was the host of Digital Journal's annual Future of Media event. David has been published in various publications, writing on everything from technology trends to celebrity profiles.