Jennifer Sereno: Promega Corp.’s commitment to the arts breathes life into the life sciences

This is an excerpt from a column posted at BizOpinion.

Promega Corp. has long been recognized as a place where good ideas generate great results.

With branches in 15 countries and more than 50 global distributors, Promega’s high international profile is built on the strength of science started right here in Wisconsin. The company offers a portfolio of more than 3,000 products used in genomics, protein analysis and expression, cellular analysis, drug discovery and genetic identity.

From its modest start in 1978 providing enzymes for biotechnology research, the privately held company now employs some 1,300 including 700 at its headquarters in Madison and generates annual revenue of approximately $350 million. Yet, from the start, CEO Bill Linton has consistently worked to cultivate a sense of “life” at the life sciences business.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the recent opening of the Spring Art Showcase, a beautifully curated exhibition that runs through May 30 at the Promega BioPharmaceutical Technology Center, 5445 E. Cheryl Parkway. Free and open to the public, the showcase features the work of four artists — three from Wisconsin and one from Arizona.

The company’s artist showcases, which typically include spring, summer and fall events, have been keeping Daniel Swadener busy since 1995. As curator through the years, he’s watched the displays stir curiosity and stimulate conversation among scientists, artists, students and the general public. These are the effects he’s been hired to achieve.

“There’s no other place I’ve seen that has an environment as conducive as this one,” Swadener says of the BioPharmaceutical center, which hosts scientific, educational and cultural programs and encourages greater understanding of the creative process. “It’s all about art and creativity. Without creativity, scientists would never find anything new.”

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