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Emphasizing Inclusion with the Arts

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Emphasizing Inclusion with the Arts

The pARTnership Movement essay “Embrace Diversity & Team Building” brings to light how the arts can assist in enhancing a company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. BCA 10 winner U.S. Bank shows how to be a leader in this area.

 

In celebration of and support for the LGBT community and to highlight the bank’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion, the company held the LGBT Debit Card Art Contest where they asked artists to submit art in any medium that celebrated the LGBT community. The contest would allow three finalists with the winner receiving $7,500 and that design becoming one of U.S. Bank’s permanent card designs. The runner-up received $5,000 and the third-prize winner received $2,500.

 

Ann Dyste, assistant vice president and LGBT strategy manager at U.S. Bank says, "We believe the three winning designs all honored equality, progress and unity, and we wanted to leave the final decision up to the public, so their voices could be heard."

 

After 400 design submissions, the public selected Olivia Ogba, ER medical transcriptionist preparing for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), as the winner with the card design shown above. Ogba’s design is connected to the June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage was legal nationwide. The digital painting is purposefully patriotic, featuring rainbow colors shooting from sparklers on the Fourth of July. "That's what America stands for – the ability for everyone to go after the American dream without any sort of discrimination," Ogba said.

 

As the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States, U.S. Bank has made strong commitments to increase outreach to the LGBT community. This national art competition helps reiterate their corporate message of inclusion along with sponsoring Pride festivities and LGBT organizations across the country, making the bank a “Best Place to Work for LBGT Equality” for 10 years in a row.

 

“We want employees and prospective hires to know that U.S. Bank is an open and inclusive workplace where all are welcome," said Eduardo Sayan, U.S. Bank vice president and director of multicultural strategy. 

 

Learn more about the finalists and the card art competition here.

 

Photo: U.S. Bank

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DC Doodler Wins Big at Google

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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DC Doodler Wins Big at Google

Akilah Johnson, a 10th grader from Washington, D.C., dreams of becoming a CSI detective and starting an arts and crafts studio for kids. Google is helping her reach those dreams by naming her the winner of the United States’ 2016 Doodle 4 Google competition for young artists, which comes with a $30,000 college scholarship, a Chromebook, and an Android tablet, among other prizes.

 

Johnson’s design, which was featured on Google’s homepage on March 21, 2016, represents this year’s contest theme of "What makes me...me." by showcasing her African American heritage. Her design was selected from 100,000 K-12 student submissions by celebrity judges including Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, soccer player and Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan, actors Julie Bowen and B.J. Novak, and others.

 

According to an article in USA Today, five student finalists were invited to Google's headquarters for the announcement. They were invited to participate in workshops with the doodle team and contest judges such as astronaut Yvonne Cagle and animator Glenn Keane. The competition has been held every year since 2008.

 

"Doodle 4 Google gave me an understanding of why art matters and why MY art matters—it’s because it speaks to people," Johnson said. "No matter the differences we have, everyone is touched by all art in some way."

 

In addition to the scholarship, Johnson’s school, Eastern Senior High School, will be awarded a $50,000 education-technology grant from Google.

 

“Exposure to the arts develops an invaluable and intrinsic link to creative thinking and innovation,” said Dennis Hwang, Google's founding Doodler and creator of the Google 4 Doodle competition, when he received Art in Action's innaugural Art Visionary Award in 2015. “For me, creativity and science have always gone hand in hand. My unique career trajectory at Google developed as a result of having studied both art and computer science.”

 

Photo of Akilah Johnson from Google.

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Vans and Americans for the Arts are Halo Award Finalists!

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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We are excited to share that Vans and Americans for the Arts have been named a finalist for the 2016 Halo Awards for the annual Vans Custom Culture arts education competition!

 

The Cause Marketing Halo Awards are North American cause marketing's highest honor and the subject of a special section in Adweek. Winners will be announced and awarded at the annual Cause Marketing Forum Conference in Chicago on June 2, 2016.

 

Created to inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets, Custom Culture is a national high school customization competition through which art classes design blank Vans shoes around specific themes. The class submissions are narrowed down to the top 50 and the top 5, and the grand prize winning submission secures $50,000 for their school's art program. Since 2012, Americans for the Arts has worked alongside Vans as Custom Culture’s official national charity partner.

 

Registration for the 2016 Custom Culture competition closes February 12, 2016. Register your school here.

 

According to Americans for the Arts' Ready to Innovate report, 85 percent of business leaders say they cannot find the creative candidates they’re looking for. By cultivating the abililty to think creatively in the workplace, arts education is a pathway to career success. Vans also believes that arts education will help future proof their “Off the Wall” brand. By inspiring and perpetuating youth culture, Vans maintains a stable customer base and will be able to find talented designers to lead the brand into the future.

 

Learn more about how art education cultivates the ability to think creatively in the workplace.

 

Read about other businesses supporting arts education.

 

Does your business run an arts education program for youth? We want to hear from you! Tell us about it on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or by emailing partnership@artsusa.org.

 

 

Facts from the Custom Culture website.

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The Arts Mean Business in Iowa

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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On Wednesday, August 12, the Des Moines Register published an op-ed by entrepreneur John Pappajohn titled "The Arts Mean Business in Iowa."


“Ask an outsider what they know about Iowa, and they may say one of three things, CORN ...HOGS ... and FARMLAND.” But, “what may come as a surprise is that in Iowa, the arts serve as an economic driver that attracts companies, creates jobs and grows local and state revenue. Without a doubt, the arts mean business in Iowa,” Pappajohn says.


As Chairman of Equity Dynamics Inc. and owner of Pappajohn Capital Resources in Des Moines, and as a member of Americans for the Arts’ BCA Executive Board, Pappajohn has witnessed first-hand how the arts has helped recruit and retain businesses and talented employees in Iowa. For example, according to a recent Americans for the Arts study:

 

  • Nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences within Iowa’s Cultural Corridor of 11 counties alone generate $80 million annually and support more than 2,500 full-time equivalent jobs.

 

  • These jobs and related audience expenditures return $3.3 million in local tax revenue and an additional $4.1 million in state tax revenue.

 

  • There are 5,834 creative industry businesses in Iowa — which include everything from art museums to graphic art studios — with more than 22,000 employees.


Pappajohn mentions two Des Moines-based corporations that have directly profited from partnering with the arts–The Principal Financial Group, whose art-filled campus helps recruit and retain employees, and EMC Insurance Companies, who runs a visual arts competition for current and former Iowa residents. You can read more about how by partnering with the arts, these companies were able to recruit and retain talent in Iowa in the first essay in our pARTnership Movement Essay series, "Recruit and Retain Talent."

 

Thanks to the arts, Des Moines’ population is growing, unemployment rates are falling, and the number of young people engaged in civic life is increasing. A strong arts scene and a culturally vibrant community is a significant economic driver that shouldn’t be overlooked by businesses or its elected leaders.


Americans for the Arts will reinforce these messages this week at Des Moines’ Iowa Arts Advocacy Caucus. The statewide training event will educate arts advocates and messengers at the Iowa Presidential Caucuses, as well as invite presidential candidates to speak on their arts policy position. More information is here, as well as a press release on the caucus here. Twitter users can follow the event via #ArtsVote2016.

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Bang on a Pringles Can: From Packaging to Percussion

Posted by Brooke LaRue
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This summer, Pringles is partnering with the arts to inspire creativity and convey the message that the snack food is as essential to summer as new music and live concerts. As part of its Summer Jam campaign, Pringles is challenging the world’s leading percussionists to use the company’s iconic cans as percussion instruments. Thousands of auditions were held, and the winning performances are featured on the campaign website.

 

According to the campaign’s official press release, “whether you bop it like a drum or shake it like a maraca, a Pringles can is not just a can of irresistibly crunchy crisps – it's an instrument and a ticket to this summer's hottest music.” Throughout the summer Pringles will feature codes under its lids that provide consumers with a chance to win two VIP tickets to a Live Nation concert, including airfare and hotel accommodations. Thousands of other winners will receive free music downloads.

 

"Summer is the time of year when people are looking to let loose with friends, and we're helping to fuel those moments by bringing together two summertime staples – music and Pringles," said Mark Miller, director of marketing, salty snacks. "Whether it's an impromptu dance party on the beach or rocking out backstage at a Train concert, Pringles is the ticket to all summer music experiences."

 

 

Head to Pringles.com/music to check out more Pringles Percussion Prodigy videos.
 

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Creative Kicks: Vans’ Custom Culture Competition for Teens

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Creative Kicks: Vans’ Custom Culture Competition for Teens

If you’re passionate about the arts, why not show it on your feet? Vans’ Custom Culture Competition encourages high school art classes to lend their creative designs to four blank pairs of shoes for the chance to win $50,000 for their schools’ art program and have their shoes manufactured and sold nationwide.

 

According to the Custom Culture website, the contest was created to, “inspire and empower high school students to embrace their creativity through art and design, and to bring attention to diminishing arts education budgets.” In addition to providing $50,000 for the winning school, Vans will also donate proceeds from the sale of the shoes to Americans for the Arts and will provide $4,000 to each of the four runner-up schools.

 

In an article about Custom Culture in the Los Angeles Times, Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch said, “Programs like Custom Culture play an important part in helping to bring more attention to the importance of the arts in high school curriculums. Together with key partners like Vans, we are working to raise awareness of the need for arts education in all of our nation’s schools; encourage high school students to embrace their creativity and the opportunities it can leverage; and inspire a new generation of innovative, forward focused youth.”

 

Photograph shows the shoe designs from 2014 Custom Culture winners Rio Rancho High School in New Mexico. Photo courtesy of Vans Custom Culture.

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Toyota’s “Dream Car of the Day” Initiative Brings Children, Cars and Creativity Together

Posted by Samantha Sharon
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For the 8th year of Toyota’s annual Dream Car Art Contest – one of the largest global art contests for children – the company is taking things to the next level. Since 2004, Toyota has invited children from around the world to submit designs for dream cars of the future that offer imaginative solutions to large-scale social and environmental issues. This year, Toyota has asked children to do the same, but for the first time, they have partnered with creative agency Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Tokyo to bring 90 winning designs to life.

 

Together with Saatchi & Saatchi, Toyota has launched “Dream Car of the Day,” an online campaign that celebrates 90 of the best contest entries in a technologically savvy yet highly artistic way. The online campaign turns each design into an animated video using Vine – a trendy mobile app that enables the posting of six-second looping video clips – in order to take viewers on a ride through the imagination of a young artist. One new design and its accompanying Vine video is revealed daily on the Dream Car of the Day website and on social media.

 

The addition of the online campaign to the Dream Art Contest reflects the global scale of the contest, as it allows for worldwide exposure to the impressive ideas of children. Since the contest’s inception in 2004, over 660,000 children from over 75 countries and regions around the world have participated, and these numbers continue to grow each year. The Vine campaign also reflects Toyota's guiding philosophy of innovation through next generation thinking. Toyota believes in nurturing the creativity of the next generation of great inventors, thinkers and dreamers and this campaign allows for the celebration of the innovative ideas of these future leaders on a global platform. (Image courtesy of Hyperallergic.com.)

 

The Vine campaign also reflects Toyota’s understanding of the power of art to capture people’s attention. Each 6-second Vine video incorporates visually stimulating scenes that ignite artistic ande creative inspiration in children and adults alike. The company's commitment to this contest year after year reinforces its value of art and creativity, and the potential to incorporate the artistic efforts of the children designers into its own work.

 

As Masanao Tomozoe, President and CEO of TMSM said, “These works area great inspiration to Toyota… Anyone who sees the dream cars that these kids designed are sure to be touched by the optimism and innovative thinking that went into them.”

 

Check out some of the amazing designs and videos here:

 

 

For more information on Toyota's commitment to the arts and the communities that it serves, visit Toyota.com.

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Long Island Middle Schooler Takes Over Google's Homepage

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Did you happen to notice today's Google doodle?

Pretty impressive, right? Would you ever have guessed that it was created by a middle schooler? (Image courtesy of Google.com.)

 

The doodle is the work of 11-year old Audrey Zhang of New York, the 2014 Doodle 4 Google winner. Doodle 4 Google is an annual competition held by Google where students are given the chance to create a logo to be featured on the Google homepage. This year's participating Doodle 4 Google students, grades K-12, were asked to draw an invention that would make the world a better place. Zhang was selected as this year's honoree out of more than 100,000 submissions, 250 state finalists, 50 state winners, and 5 national age group winners.

 

In April, Google representatives came to Zhang's school to crown her the contest's New York State winner for the second consecutive year. The company then flew all the state finalists from across the country to its headquarters in Mountain View, California for educational workshops and an awards ceremony. There, Zhang learned that her doodle had garnered the most online votes in the fourth- and fifth-grade division, making her a national finalist, and a panel of judges had selected her to be the overall winner.

 

Zhang received a $30,000 college scholarship and $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for her school. In addition, Google.org, the charitable arm of Google, donated $40,000 in her name to charity:water, which provides clean water to schools in Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy of Google.com.)

 

On her design, Zhang stated, "To make the world a better place, I invented a transformative water purifier. It takes in dirty and polluted water from rivers, lakes, and even oceans, then massively transforms the water into clean, safe and sanitary water. When humans and animals drink this water, they will live a healthier life."

 

Zhang's doodle was one of many amazing contributions to Doodle 4 Google this year. We encourage you to take a look at the outstanding national grade group winners. View the 2014 Doodle 4 Google video featuring Zhang and this year's finalists below.
 

 

According to Google.com, Doodle 4 Google is easily the Doodle team’s favorite event of the year. Getting to spend the day with 50 incredibly talented young doodlers is inspiring and truly reaffirms the company's values in curiosity, creativity, imagination, and innovation.

 

For more info on Doodle 4 Google, visit Google.com/Doodle4Google.

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Exec Boards to Fretboards: Austin's Corporate Battle of the Bands

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Exec Boards to Fretboards: Austin's Corporate Battle of the Bands

(Photo Credit: Ben Hines)

 

This past April, Austin’s most unlikely musicians, including doctors and software engineers, took the stage to raise funds for Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), a local non-profit organization that provides Austin’s low-income musicians with access to affordable healthcare. The organization has served more than 2,700 of the city’s battalion of hard-working musicians since its inception in 2005, giving them access to regular, cost-effective healthcare services.

 

This year’s Corporate Battle of the Bands, sponsored by H-E-B and Cirrus Logic, featured 8 bands made up of full-time employees who play music on the side. Each band was sponsored by a local business, including H-E-B, Cirrus Logic, HomeAway, Intel, Seton Healthcare and St. David’s Foundation.The event raised $73,500 in support of HAAM.

 

The music of the night spanned every genre—folk rock, pop rock, ’60s rock, alternative and more. A panel of celebrity judges, including Kathy Valentine of the GoGos, rock and roll hall of famer Ian McLagan, and KVUE Anchor Quita Culpepper awarded Best Cover Band and Best Original Band, who each received a $500 gift certificate to Strait Music, and the Grand Prize Winner, who will receive a day of recording time at Austin’s Bismeaux Studio and four three-day passes to Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival.

 

  • Best Cover Band: Atomic Large Band, Intel
  • Best Original Band: Knuckle Sammich, H-E-B
  • Grand Prize Winner: The Slakes, HomeAway

 

The live audience chose the “Fan Favorite” by filling the tip jar of their favorite band of the night. This year, the honor went to Superhet of Cirrus Logic. The band won an indoor gig at Stubb’s BBQ, an Austin live-music hotspot, and $500 to Strait Music. All tip jar proceeds went to benefit HAAM.

 

In addition, a silent auction was held during the performance to raise funds for HAAM, with prizes including a private party at Gibson Guitar’s exclusive entertainment relations showroom, a Robert Plant and Patty Griffin signed concert poster, and a guitar autographed by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel.

 

“Cirrus Logic proudly supports HAAM and Corporate Battle of the Bands because we love live music and appreciate the gifts that local musicians give us,” commented Jason Rhode, CEO of Cirrus Logic. “Helping musicians get access to health care through HAAM is one way we can give back to these artists. And frankly, Corporate Battle of the Bands is a lot of fun for our employees.”

 

For more information on HAAM’s Corporate Battle of the Bands, visit myhaam.org.

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Driving Design Forward: The 2013 Lexus Design Award

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Driving Design Forward: The 2013 Lexus Design Award

The Lexus Design Award, an international competition that targets the next generation innovators from around the world, has announced the 2013 slate of honorees. The Award welcomes designers from all fields—architecture, product design, fashion, etc.—as an opportunity for young and ambitious design visionaries to learn from some of the industry's great luminaries, and to have their work displayed during Milan Design Week.

 

Lexus called for innovative designs that provide solutions to various issues in daily life in relation to motion. 1,243 submissions were collected between October and December 2012. Of those submissions, 12 winners were chosen.

 

The designers of two of the winning entries have created prototypes of their designs in close collaboration with two assigned mentors, Junya Ishigami and Sam Hecht. These prototypes, as well as the panel displays of the other 10 winning entries, were exhibited this past April in the Lexus space at Milan Design Week, the world’s largest design exhibition.

 

The two prototyped designs include Hideki Yoshimoto’s “Inaho”—a digital display inspired by an ear of rice slowly swaying in the wind, whereupon the interior light glows gold in the dark and gently leans toward people when they approach it, and Hitomi Igarashi’s “porcelain origami”—free-form porcelain created by casting a specific type of paper, giving rise to new possibilities in porcelain.

 

Lexus, the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation, is no stranger to innovation. The brand has continuously breached the boundaries of conformity since its inception in 1989. The Lexus Design Award is one such example, advancing the company’s mission of innovation while simultaneously promoting the brand to a global audience. Nobuyuki Negishi, chief representative of the Middle East & North Africa Office, Toyota Motor Corporation comments,”The aesthetic elegance of Lexus vehicles which comes from our deep commitment to world class design has made a significant impact on our customers …The Lexus association with international design will now resonate around the world through our various initiatives and will further strengthen the Lexus brand.” 

 

View all of the 2013 Lexus Award Winners, including the two prototyped designs, at the Lexus Design Award website.

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