Attendees at the recent Cultivating a Creative Workforce event had the unique opportunity to hear from noted actor, director, producer and businessman Robert Redford as he and others commented on the ways in which creativity in both the arts and business can strengthen the community and improve economic development.

In an informal interview setting moderated by Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts, Mr. Redford used personal anecdotes and his extensive experience in both arts and business to discuss the importance of cultivating creativity in the workforce.

Mr. Redford used memories of his childhood and early years in the business industry to communicate both his past successes and mistakes in order that everyone might learn from them, and even recounted a story from the third grade that served as a pivotal point in his life. Focusing on their mutual belief that a partnership between arts and business should be strengthened to foster creative achievement, Mr. Redford and Mr. Lynch agreed that art is economically beneficial, can help create a better understanding of ideas, and encourages individuals to think differently.

After remarking on the struggles of entering the business world, his initial difficulties in hiring and employee relations, and the significance of proper supervision, Mr. Redford wrapped up the discussion on a rousing note, stating that when the arts and business communities come together to promote creativity, “I just think some amazing things can happen.”

Attendees also heard from Julie Gebauer, Managing Director at Towers Watson and Mayor Michael A. Nutter of the City of Philadelphia.

The event, which was held at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, was presented by the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, an affiliate of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, in association with Towers Watson.