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thrive: Parenthesis brackets the arts.

A design company has already notched up a wealth of initiatives with art groups and venues since it first became involved five years ago.

But Parenthesis Design and Marketing Communications has no large corporate wealth to support its work but is a Coventry-based SME employing just 22 people.

The company, a former winner of one of the awards, is now sponsoring one of the categories - Parenthesis Design and Marketing Communications Brand Identity Award.

Thrive finds out more about a business that is helping to make the difference.

The team at Parenthesis have plenty of challenges in their working lives.

The company, set up by director Tim Holmes in the mid-80s, thrives on working with a diverse range of clients but the team still make time to support arts projects that can make a big difference to artists and audiences.

One success has been to help Warwick Arts Centre create a new branding identity - part of a long-standing relationship with the venue after an introduction through Arts and Business.

Tim's fellow director Linda Holmes said the company values this work that has brought 'mutual benefits' from all parties.

She said: "We have been doing this work for five yeas and I think people are curious about why an SME is engaging with the arts - we are not a large blue chip company that has its part of its CSR strategy but I think as a small business we have always liked to do things differently.

"As an SME this work is offering us a lot of opportunities. There are benefits for other businesses in sponsoring a festival but we believe our work has been more pivotal and has really helped."

The projects have certainly enabled the team to get involved in a wealth of different initiatives - one of the company's directors is now a board member at Warwick Arts Centre.

Through the Arts & Business investment programme, New Partners, employees from Parenthesis were able to work alongside renowned digital artists . These internationally-renowned artists were exhibiting at Warwick's Mead Gallery and working with Coventry University MA students.

The different parties came together with Parenthesis staff at the company's studios based at Coventry Canal Basin in order to share and discuss ideas about their work.

In another project, Parenthesis creatives were involved with gallery staff in a Big Draw event for the public that encourages people to develop their drawing skills. The award sponsorship is the latest move for Parenthesis which a few years ago saw one of its staff, Andy Smith winning the Skills Bank Adviser of the Year Award. This came about after Parenthesis began advising A&B West Midlands on some of its marketing communications for the skills band and board bank programme.

Linda said: "The A&B skills bank enabled some members of the team at Parenthesis to develop their experience of the arts sector by assisting organisations with marketing whilst putting their creative expertise into practice."

The agency, that has worked with other arts organisations in the region like Birmingham Rep, The Belgrade Theatre and Creative Partnerships, believes other SMEs could benefit from similar partnerships.

Linda said: "Normally people will send their staff to a one-day presentation to improve their skills but I think people like us feel that it would be a bit dry compared to working with actors and performers. There are benefits on all sides."

But she warned: "We do get asked what returns we get. You are not going to get quick returns and that's not what it is about. It is about working with art organisations and creative people involved in the arts and finding interesting ways of working and supporting their work."

For further information contact Tim Holmes or Linda Holmes at Parenthesis telephone 02476 229658.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 7, 2007
Words:623
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