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Can Art Make Workers Happier?

September 25, 2012

I decided to spruce up my drab office with a colorful and enigmatic modern art print. It wasn’t anything notable, just a little something to add some flair to my everyday work environment. I imagined it would also make an important statement, alerting co-workers to my sophisticated and distinctive taste.

“What the heck IS that?” inquired one of my more forthright colleagues, cocking his head this way and that trying to make sense of the multi-patterned swirls. He plopped down into a chair and nodded his head towards it. “That is one of the most ridiculous, pointless things I have ever seen.”

I counted this a solid victory, further validating my astute selection of artwork.

Some businesses are tuned in to art and beauty as an important corporate value, expressed with bold colors, funky architecture and plentiful displays of art gracing the walls. Others, like my lug-headed colleague, not so much, unless you’re talking about the occasional $6.99 motivational poster.

Last month I had an opportunity to get a private tour of SEI Investments, a company so committed to art, the entire office campus doubles as an art museum.


SEI is in the business of running back-office administrative platforms for investment funds, headquartered in a series of buildings located in a sleepy suburb outside of Philadelphia. Under the leadership of founder Al West, the company has grown to become the top player in its industry.

Upon arrival at the corporate lobby for my tour, I was asked to sign in and was then promptly greeted by the curator.

Wait, what?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 25, 2012 2:12 pm

    I kind of like the de-motivational posters myself. But that’s for a laugh

    Around here, i have framed stamp art… which really is gorgeous.

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