Spotlight on Scene First


For every talented artist that we are fortunate to have here in Newfoundland and Labrador, there’s an enthusiast who appreciates and admires their work. However, sometimes it’s difficult to bring the two together. A new initiative from Business & Arts NL is helping to bridge the gap.

Business & Arts NL Co-Chair Noreen Golfman.

Scene First is an initiative, offered to Business & Arts NL business members and their employees, that seeks to increase interaction and engagement between the local business and arts communities through special events featuring arts-focused talks, tours and more. Business & Arts NL works closely with those in the visual arts, theatre, dance, music and literary communities for behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and opportunities to meet the creative minds at work.

By taking business members and their teams front and centre, Scene First also aims to spark the imagination and embrace and grow passion for local arts, while creating connections and fostering partnerships between the business and arts communities.

The first event in the series took place at the Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s in March and consisted of a cocktail mixer, hosted by co-chairs Mark Dobbin and Noreen Golfman, and a conversation about art and corporate culture.

Business & Arts NL Co-Chair Mark Dobbin.

Paul McDonald, a partner in the St. John’s office of Cox & Palmer and speaker at the inaugural Scene First event, discussed the positive impact of his firm’s art collection, which feature artists or themes from Newfoundland and Labrador, and has been sourced and purchased in the province.

“The two large, stunning works by Michael Gough hanging in our waiting area continue to elicit admiring comments not only from lawyers and staff, but also particularly from the clients who contemplate those works while in the waiting area,” McDonald said.

“They are also an excellent example of the two-way relationship between business and the arts which Business & Arts NL seeks to promote, where support and encouragement from the business sector is rewarded with best efforts and exciting new work from the arts community.”

McDonald says Cox & Palmer’s art procurement program not only helps improve their space by creating a pleasant and inspiring place in which to work, but it has also helped staff view the world through a different lens.

Paul McDonald, partner at Cox & Palmer.

“Lawyers and staff like the fact that they are working in a firm which values the important intangibles which art represents, such as the values of human creativity and expression…While everyone at the office recognizes the importance of the business and financial success of the firm, the presence of the art collection conveys that there are other things in life to be valued as well,” he added.

Besides the obvious financial benefit, McDonald says corporate art procurement also offers support and encouragement to artists, which helps them to continue their work, while showing the wider community new modes of expression.

“A vibrant and active arts community makes for a better community all around,” he concluded “and makes for a better community in which to do business.”