Driving Business Through Public Art Collaboration

Posted: Updated:

Society works best when each of us plays our part to the best of our ability. Just like every part on a car has an important role to play, the same is true for employees, their families, customers and the communities in which we operate. Recognizing that “Every Part Matters” has played an important role in growing our company and talent through the years.  

For many businesses, success is predicated on the ability to attract a motivated, energetic, passionate and driven team. Through our “Growing People Through Work” program, Jiffy Lube of Indiana is investing time, effort and expenses to help employees grow personally and professionally. We’ve helped employees pay off student loans, buy their first homes, and even lose 125 pounds. Providing opportunities to those who want to get on a path toward a better life has been more rewarding than anything I’ve experienced in business. Not only has our dedication to employees led to a great company culture, but it’s also resulted in record sales and profits as well as award recognition.

In addition to helping employees improve their lives, it’s equally important for businesses to invest in their local communities. Better yet, look for ways to support local organizations that are meaningful to your own employees. We found that by engaging with the local arts community, although unexpected for an oil change business, we are also advocating for something that our own employees are passionate about.

Small business owners like me don’t often view the arts as an area in which we can make a real difference. Even our “stretch” sponsorship levels are overshadowed by the huge dollar amounts that wealthy individuals, banks, law firms, and insurance companies can generate. For us, philanthropy is difficult to plan for, so our sponsorship investments tend to come out of our advertising budgets. Therefore, we’re motivated to find ways to drive our business in more immediate, ROI-based campaigns than what is thought a typical sponsorship of the arts might provide.

These assumptions make it too easy for both small business and the arts to ignore one another and focus our energies elsewhere. But the reality is that we should all do better because partnering with the arts can have an enormous payoff.

Our "Every Part Matters" mural project is a unique collaboration with the arts community to showcase the work of local muralists. It started by inviting artists to design three murals, which were reduced to paint-by-number panels by a local group called The Department of Public Words. These murals were painted in public by members of our community at a Luke Bryan concert, in the parking lot of our Broad Ripple store, and at Indy Reads Books on Massachusetts Avenue.

The project caught the eye of the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and we have since worked with the organization to add 11 (and counting) more murals around the city. In 2018, 20 artists applied for a chance to create one of six murals. This year, 65 artists submitted applications for five Central Indiana murals as well as one in Kendallville. The project has succeeded on all measures and has even received national accolades in the arts community.

The mural collaboration led to an internal discovery that many of our own employees are passionate about the arts. Not only do our employees enjoy interacting with the artists, but many of them are now sharing some of their own sketches, vehicle graphics and tattoo designs with us. To further encourage employees to grow through art, we’re planning museum tours and beginning to pay for art classes at the Indianapolis Art Center. We plan to display the employee-created art in our office and call it “The Art of Jiffy Lube,” understanding that this will help drive creativity in our own business.

Employee retention is a huge issue for many businesses these days, and we are no exception. People want to be proud of who they work with, and they care more than ever about the mission and purpose of their employer. As employers, we must do more than just provide work. We need to enrich lives. Every partnership we make involves negotiating ways for our people to enjoy the experience of attending the events, getting involved however they see fit, and enriching their lives. The longer we can keep people feeling proud of where they work, the longer we will be able to benefit from their efforts.

For other business owners who are interested in collaborating with the arts, the first step is to dive in headfirst and form a partnership with a local arts group. Jiffy Lube is only scratching the surface of how much we can tie the arts into our everyday lives. There is so much opportunity, and better yet, there is so much local talent. The results of collaborating with the arts will be visible in positive branding, public support, community enhancement, and increased sales and profits.

Steve Sanner is owner and president of Jiffy Lube of Indiana.

  • Perspectives

    • Mitigating Your Company’s Cybersecurity Risk

      Frequently, I encounter people who think that a software developer understands all languages and can “fix” anything tech related. While that may be true for a few, areas of expertise within tech evolve as rapidly as the technology itself. For instance, there was a time (not long ago) when operating in the cloud was revolutionary. Today, it is considered best practices for some or all of an organization to function within a cloud. Managed information technology began with...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • (photo courtesy of the town of Plainfield)

      Plainfield Breaks Ground on Parking Structure

      The first piece of a redevelopment plan for downtown Plainfield is underway. City and community leaders have broken ground on the new Downtown Plainfield Parking Structure, which is expected to be complete in the late summer or early fall of 2020.

    • Tony Bates previously worked for companies including Skype, Microsoft and Cisco.

      Genesys Names New CEO

      California-based Genesys has selected former Skype CEO Tony Bates as its new chief executive officer. The company, which employs more than 800 in Indianapolis, says Bates' predecessor, Paul Segre, will continue as chairman.

    • The Waterside project aims to transform 100-acres of the former GM Stamping Plant site. (photo courtesy of Ambrose Property Group)

      Ambrose, Glick Partner on Waterside

      Indianapolis-based Ambrose Property Group has announced a key partnership for the redevelopment of the former GM Stamping Plant in downtown Indianapolis. The commercial real estate firm is teaming up with the Gene B. Glick Co. to build and manage apartments as part of the $1.4 billion mixed-use redevelopment project. Ambrose says the partnership is also part of plans to catalyze "philanthropic and community-centric strategies to strengthen Indianapolis." The firm also...

    • (photo courtesy Dax Norton)

      Whitestown Tops Indiana's Fastest-Growing Communities

      The Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business says Whitestown in Boone County is Indiana's fastest-growing community for the eighth consecutive year. The center says the town's population nearly tripled, from 3,132 in 2010 to 8,627 last year. Westfield in Hamilton County is not far behind. Its population grew 5.2 percent in 2018, according to information reported by the U.S. Census Bureau. Other communities on the list include...

    • I-65 INDOT construction map

      I-65 Construction Update

      Construction work is scheduled to start next week on I-65 near downtown Indianapolis. Indiana Department of Transportation crews will begin to clean up the interstates after two years of freeze/thaw cycles. Crews will be working in segments, including patching and repaving work. INDOT crews will begin work in earnest on northbound and southbound in segments, beginning on weekend nights from April 26 through August.