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posted: 7/7/2019 1:00 AM

Jim Kendall: Help from the bank, help for artists

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'Way back, I thought that journalists whose columns included seemingly unrelated topics were lazy -- and were using their columns to catch up. Now I know differently (I think).

For example:

• There are times when it actually is smart to pay attention to your emails, especially if one happens to be from your bank. My July began, for example, with an email flyer from my Wintrust bank; topic: Online and Mobile Banking Security.

There's precious little Wintrust promotion in the email; most of the information falls into basic (but often ignored) password and user ID guidelines: Here's just one, as a sample:

"If you're using a mobile device, lock it using a PIN, face ID, password, swipe pattern or fingerprint." Simple thought.

• There are probably fewer starving artists than there once were, though my gut tells me that, with the exception of the handful of truly well-known artists, many have trouble generating enough art income to pay the bills. However, a Chicago-based organization, United States Artists, was born following an eye-opening 2003 Urban Institute report that 96 percent of Americans valued art in their lives, but only 27 percent valued artists.

Now, with a proud website declaration that "We believe in artists and their essential role in society," USA awards annual $50,000 fellowships to persons it deems "the most compelling artists living and working in the United States, in all disciplines, at every stage of their careers."

The fellowships are unrestricted -- meaning, for example, that an artist with an award could spend the money on a remodeled kitchen, or perhaps travel to a site that fits uniquely into the type of work the artist wants to do.

You can read the details at https://www.unitedstatesartists.org/.

So how does an art program fit into the small business community? The answer depends partly on how the arts play in your marketplace -- and within your business. Think of the possibility of an art show that features one of the winners (who come from all over the country) at your business -- or a show by artists who are members of a local arts council.

You'd need a facility where a local art show would work, security and cooperative publicity, and at least for your first show plenty of planning time. Yet, if you're into the arts, or if you have a family member at art school, or if -- well, there are any number of reasons to explore the potential.

Creating the same type of response is a little more difficult with a list of online and financial device security steps, but here are two thoughts:

• If you bank at one of the many Wintrust banks, get a supply of flyers to hand out with customer purchases, etc. If that doesn't work so well, and it might not, sponsor a bank-led presentation on the topic at a senior center, park district program or, even, PTA meeting when schools kick in again.

© 2019 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Learn about Jim's skills at www.kendallcom.com.