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2011 BCA 10 Winner, Booz Allen, Supports the Arts in Education with Norman Rockwell Exhibit

Posted by Mariama Holman
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2011 BCA 10 Winner, Booz Allen, Supports the Arts in Education with Norman Rockwell Exhibit

For the past 90 years, Booz Allen Hamilton  has donated millions of dollars to and volunteered thousands of hours for arts nonprofits and programs.

 

Committed to the promotion of a quality education, many of Booz Allen Hamilton’s arts-related sponsorships contain a component for students.

 

Major funding examples include the Norman Rockwell exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2010, the Edward Hopper exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in 2007, Imagination Stage, National Ballet, Inc., National Museum of Natural History, Evidence Dance Company, and the Studio Museum located in Harlem—just to name a few. In addition, the firm has provided thousands of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America special opportunities to visit museums in order to instill a lifelong appreciation for the arts in America’s youth.

 

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Norman Rockwell exhibition, “Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg,” was the first to ever explore the connection between the iconic artist and film. For the Rockwell exhibition, the firm’s funding allowed the museum to implement a new format for their teachers’ kits in order to reach more schools.

 

In fact, 4,500 teachers accessed the Rockwell materials and more than 6,000 students toured the exhibition.

 

“In Norman Rockwell’s art, we see ourselves, our families and our neighbors—the heart and spirit of America,” said Ralph W. Shrader, former CEO of Booz Allen Hamilton. “We are delighted to support the Smithsonian American Art Museum on this major project, including an exciting series of public programs.”

 

The company is actively involved in the goals of arts nonprofits by providing financial contributions as well as pro bono consulting and ad and marketing support. For the Rockwell exhibit, members of the firm’s communications team worked tirelessly with the museum staff to develop a full-scale, Booz Allen Hamilton funded advertising campaign.

 

Booz Allen Hamilton employees shared their intellectual resources to enhance the museum’s advertising reach and media placement. The Smithsonian American Art Museum reported that, thanks to Booz Allen Hamilton’s support, 706,000 people visited the museum during the exhibition period, a 52 percent increase in attendance during the same period from the previous year.

 

 

The firm develops an audience within Booz Allen Hamilton, fostering an appreciation for the arts and supporting employees who volunteer their personal time to arts nonprofits. The firmholds Friends & Family Day at the museums they partner with, allowing employees to visit the exhibitions before the museum opens to the general public. Booz Allen Hamilton also purchases annual seasons of corporate seats at Wolf Trap, Warner Theater, National Theater, Strathmore, and the Kennedy Center and provides free tickets for employees via lottery every month so that, on an ongoing basis, employees enjoy and support the arts. To recognize the volunteer efforts of its employees at arts organizations, the company provides an unlimited number of cash contributions in the form of Volunteer Service Grants.

 

Photo: Norman Rockwell’s “Shadow Artist.” A shadow artist entertains, entrances and inspires young children.  Image sourced from artdaily.com

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And the Minority Business Leader Award Goes To…

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Washington Business Journal recently celebrated their 10th Annual Minority Business Leader Awards. The awards celebrate the region's top minority business owners and executives, and honors the entrepreneurial drive, creativity and success of the honorees.

 

What may stand out is that of the 25 business leaders receiving the honor, one award went to the president of a dance, step, and performance company. C. Brian Williams, Founder and President of Step Afrika, a performance company dedicated to the tradition of stepping by blending percussive dance styles from African American fraternities and sororities, African traditional dance, and influences from other forms, joined the list of this year’s honorees.

 

With Williams’ company spanning over two decades, his advice to young entrepreneurs is to focus on building out the concept before venturing into branding and marketing.

 

In the video, hear from Williams, sharing how he used his leadership and love of the arts to not only bring cultures together but also place culture in the foreground (much like this pARTnership essay).

 

You can read his full winner profile here.

 

Photo: Washington Business Journal

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"A People without Murals is a Demuralized People": Enlivening an Arts and Entertainment District with Public Art

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Arts Brookfield recently revealed their second installment of the “Paint the Town” initiative to promote public art murals in downtown Bethesda, MD.  With the help of their partner Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, artist Juan Pineda was selected to paint his bold and patterned style along the plaza and bus cove. Judges selected Juan from a collection of local artists who applied for the opportunity to complete the mural within weeks.  

 

This initiative supports both Juan’s and Brookfield’s profound commitment to enhancing the quality of life through art.  Juan has been painting murals in the Washington, D.C. area for over 20 years, has received a Proclamation Award for his work, and has received recognition for restoring a mural entitled, “A People without Murals is a Demuralized People.” Arts Brookfield, the cultural arm of Brookfield Properties, invigorates spaces through the free presentation of cultural experiences in their buildings around the world.  Brookfield, known for their signature programs, arts-inclusive office environment, and untraditional arts venues, was named one of the ten Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts with a BCA 10 award in 2014.

(Nominations for the 2017 BCA 10 Awards are open until January 13.)

 

It’s these steady partnerships that bring fruitful artistic, cultural, and economic growth to their communities for a lasting impact.

 

Photo: Courtesy Patricia Walsh, Public Art Program Manager, Americans for the Arts

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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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Architecture Firms in DC Compete at Canstruction

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Architecture Firms in DC Compete at Canstruction

Some of the best arts and business partnerships are ones in which businesses incorporate the arts as part of other charitable efforts. For example, architects in DC collaborated with their colleagues on a creative project this past November to raise awareness about hunger in the city. At the Washington Architectural Foundation's annual Canstruction event, teams created structures made of full cans of food that were then donated to charity. According to Greatergreaterwashington.org, this year's theme was transportation, which resulted in replicas of the Metro map, Washington Dulles International airport, and a Car2Go from firms such as KCCT Architects and Barnes Vanze Architects. Through this year's event, the firms donated a total of 68,313 pounds of food plus $5,070 in “votes” for the Capital Area Food Bank, resulting in 69,600 meals--27.600 more meals than the event raised in 2014.

 

Canstruction® is an Atlanta, Georgia based charity which hosts competitions, exhibitions and events showcasing colossal structures made out of full cans of food. After the structures are built, the cansculptures® go on display to the public as a giant art exhibition. At the end of the event, all food is donated to local hunger relief organizations. Canstruction® events are held annually in over 150 cities around the world including North America, Australia, South America, Europe, and Asia.

 

Not only does Canstruction challenge architects to think creatively, enabling them to work collaboratively with their coworkers and hone their design skills in a fun way, but it also allows the businesses to give back to the community where their employees and customers live and work. For these firms, Canstruction is about more than just building a map or a car, it's about building a brand.

 

Photos: A DC Metro map and Can2Go by nevermindtheend on Flickr.

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JetBlue’s Book Vending Machine Program Takes Off in D.C.

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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JetBlue’s Book Vending Machine Program Takes Off in D.C.

As we get ready for Arts in Education Week next week, here's a great story about how Jet Blue is encouraging students in underserved communities to engage with literature.

 

In 2011, JetBlue launched Soar with Reading, a cause-marketing program designed to “encourage kids’ imaginations to take flight through reading and get books into the hands of kids that need them most.” This year, the company launched a pilot program designed to provide children in underserved communities with access to books through book vending machines. The program is established in areas that where kids may have access to libraries, but lack the ability to build a home library of their own.


In July 2015, Soar with Reading stocked three vending machines throughout Southeast D.C. with free books for kids. According to the Soar with Reading website, the community will also have the opportunity to opt-in to a SMS campaign where JetBlue will provide age-appropriate reading tips, updates on vending machine book selections and information about “special-guest readers” appearing at the machines. Parents can sign up for text message alerts when the machines are restocked.


“A child can select their age and a topic and then get a book for free. They can come back as often as they like throughout the summer, and in addition to helping families start a library, we hope it shows retailers that there’s demand for access to age appropriate reading material in the community,” said Icema Gibbs, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for JetBlue Airways to Tayla Burney of the The Kojo Nnamdi Show.


The company chose D.C. to launch the project based on recent research showing that “in the shadow of our nation’s capital, in 2015, there is access to only one-age appropriate book for every 830 children.” JetBlue recently asked the public to vote for the next city to receive book vending machines. Next up...Detroit!


Learn more about the project.

 

Photo fromJetBlue Airlines.

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Google Steps Up Support of Americans with Disabilities

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Google Steps Up Support of Americans with Disabilities

Google recently celebrated a milestone in American legislation by creating a new ad campaign on the steps of major cultural buildings in Washington D.C. July 24-27, 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which was put into place in 1990 after a group of disabled people pulled themselves up the Capitol building steps protesting delays in the groundbreaking law. Google partnered with advertising firm 72andSunny to create the campaign, which features portraits of and quotes from several influential activists involved in the movement.

 

To accompany the art installations, and further convey the company’s support of this cause, Google created a website that provides additional information about the project and history. Google also connected the project to its Google Maps feature by building a digital walking tour of the installations. The project is part of the work of Google’s Cultural Institute, which collects resources and provides news updates for those interested in art, culture, and history.

 

Read more.
 

Photo from Adweek.

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Yo-Yo Ma Urges “STEAM” to Drive the Nation’s Workforce

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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On Monday, April 8, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma was the guest speaker at Americans for the Arts’ annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at the Kennedy Center in D.C. The Lecture was the kick-off for Arts Advocacy Day 2013, the annual convention of arts advocates from across the country to advance federal support of the arts, humanities, and arts education.

 

In his speech, Ma made the case that the arts embody many of the characteristics employers are seeking in today’s workforce. He states:

 

“One of the topics I’ve been reading about recently is what kind of work force we need in the 21st century. What will our graduates need in order to succeed?  The experts say we need four qualities in our students and in our workforce. They need to be:

 

  • Collaborative,
  • Flexible,
  • Imaginative,
  • and Innovative.

 

“Now according to the 2012 IBM Global CEO Study, ‘Collaboration is the number‐one trait CEOs are seeking in their employees, with 75 percent of CEOs calling it critical.’ (“Leading Through Connections: Insights from the Global Chief Executive Officer Study”)

 

“The Council on Competitiveness says, ‘Those who learn to innovate will prosper in a global economy.’ (“Thrive. The Skills Imperative”)

 

“The Center for Public Education calls out ‘creativity and intellectual flexibility’ among other competencies. (“Defining a 21st  Century Education: At a Glance”)

 

Ma went on to discuss the national movement from STEM education (science + technology + engineering + mathematics) to STEAM education (science + technology + engineering + arts + mathematics), stating, “STEM without STEAM loses steam, but STEM with STEAM will power our country forward. The qualities crucial to success in the 21st Century workforce will not come just from studying science, technology and engineering and math, as important as those disciplines are.”

 

Hundreds of arts leaders and supporters joined Ma on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, pressing for an increase in arts funding from the federal government. The goal is for funding for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to be restored to $155 million each per year. After 2012 budget cuts, the NEA received appropriations of approximately $146 million. Funding for the organization, which provides support to artists and arts organizations throughout the country, has steadily decreased each year.

 

Click the video link below to see Yo-Yo Ma’s full speech and performances from the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy. For more information on Arts Advocacy Day 2013, visit www.artsusa.org/events/2013/aad.
 

 


 

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Booz Allen Hamilton to Sponsor the 21st Annual Environmental Film Festival

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Booz Allen Hamilton to Sponsor the 21st Annual Environmental Film Festival

Booz Allen Hamilton, recognized as one of the most prestigious technology consulting firms in the world, is bringing its resources to the big screen. The company will be sponsoring the 21st Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital this month (March 12-24), which seeks to advance public understanding of the environment through the power of film.

 

From the official website of the Festival, "The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital has become one of the world’s largest and most influential showcases of environmental film and a major collaborative cultural event in Washington, D.C. Each March, the Festival presents a diverse selection of high quality environmental films… Documentaries, features, animations and shorts are shown, as well as archival, experimental and children’s film at venues throughout the city. Selected to provide fresh perspectives on global environmental issues, most Festival films are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, environmental experts and special guests, including national decision makers and thought leaders, and are free to the public.”

 

Booz Allen's Senior Vice President Gary Rahl first became interested in the Festival after attending a screening. The positive impact the film had on the attendees spoke to him in such a way that he suggested the company become a sponsor. Rahl is now a member of the Festival’s board of directors.

 

“Each year I’ve watched the Festival grow, but what remains constant is that the films are always an incredible blend of art, information, education and entertainment from unique points of view,” comments Rahl. “Some films are ‘calls to action’ about specific environmental problems, and others focus on people who are making a difference today, but each one explores some aspect of our relationship with the environment. While most commercial films want you to leave the theater feeling good, many of the films in the Festival aren’t afraid to challenge you. You may be inspired by one film and completely disagree with another, but either way you will broaden your awareness of the world we all ultimately share.”

 

Rahl feels, as a consultant in the energy and environment field, that the Festival can provide useful information to Booz Allen employees. The company believes that the arts and humanities are integral to the vibrancy of its corporate culture. The new partnership with the Environmental Film Festival serves to continue the company mission of arts development and preservation, while also educating employees on issues that may directly correlate to their work.

 

For a full list of screenings and film descriptions from the 21st Annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, visit dcenvironmentalfilmfestival.org. For more information on Booz Allen Hamilton’s arts and culture work, visit BoozAllen.com.

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Supporting the Arts in Style

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
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Supporting the Arts in Style

From the outside, Caramel Boutique is one of several other shops, salons and cafes along Washington, DC’s U Street, but inside, Caramel is anything but your average clothing store.  While they stock international, national and local designers, belts, jewelry and ever-changing artwork, the store is also host to art shows for local artists on a monthly basis, free of charge.

 

Caramel displays work by local artists throughout its space, featuring a new artist approximately every one to two months. The store is also a long-time business supporter of the Mid City Artists, a diverse group of professional artists who promote their artwork and the Dupont/Logan neighborhoods of Washington, DC that they call home. Caramel has collaborated with members of the Mid City Artists to display their work during their twice-yearly Open Studios weekends.

 

Sarah Watkins, owner of Caramel Boutique, drew inspiration from her grandparents who owned and operated independent grocery stores for 40 years. (Incidentally, the store is named after Sarah’s grandfather’s favorite candy.) Growing up in a family business environment, Watkins always hoped to open her own business one day. Most of her professional career has been spent managing educational programs and fundraising for nonprofit organizations, and she continues to work as a part-time professional fundraiser while she manages the store.

 

When asked why she chose to integrate the arts into her business, Watkins stated, “Featuring local artwork at Caramel was part of my initial business plan. When we first opened, we had a number of artists represented in the store. Roughly one year into operation, we began featuring just one artist at a time (sometimes two if artists wished to have a joint show) and organizing opening receptions for each exhibit… One of my goals was to become an active part of the community. I felt working with local artists and displaying their work was a nice way to include more people from the neighborhood and encourage individuals to come into the store not only to shop but also to appreciate the featured artwork.”

 

Hosting art exhibits and opening receptions has sparked interest in other types of events at Caramel, such as fundraisers for local nonprofits, book readings, trunk shows with local designers, meet-up groups, and styling events. Additionally, other local businesses in the neighborhood have begun to feature local artists, and are supporting the Mid City Artists as well. Caramel has collaborated with the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Galley, just across the street, to cross-promote openings that are scheduled for the same evening.

 

For more information on Caramel Boutique, visit www.caramelfashion.com.

 

 

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