Arts and business news from around the country.


Vans and Americans for the Arts are Halo Award Finalists!

Posted by Stacy Lasner

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



Facts from the Custom Culture website.


Telephone Repairman Finds True Calling in Shoe Design

Posted by Stacy Lasner

Where do you find inspiration? In December, AARP posted a video interview with shoe designer Chris Donovan. After working as a telephone repairman for 25 years, Donovan quit his job to follow his dream: designing women’s shoes.



Donovan "derives his inspiration from Theology, current events and his life experiences as a technician also living and working in a fishing port," his website claims. He has even created shoes featuring sutures for seams and hip replacements for heels.


After retiring from the telephone business, Donovan spent two years in Italy at Polimoda Fashion Institute. "The teacher comes over and she's like 'that's awful. What are you doing?' She goes 'What were you?' and I go 'I was a technician, I was like a phone repair guy kind of guy.' And she goes, 'So you're crude. Do crude.' And it started clicking. All of a sudden my designs started changing, my ideas started changing, and all of a sudden they fell in love with my stuff," he explains.


Regardless of the industry, employers can encourage innovation in employees by challenging them to draw inspiration from the world around them and engage in activities that foster creativity. Many businesses, like 2015 BCA 10 honorees Corning Incorporated and GE's FirstBuild, are now implementing artists-in-residence programs to help employees think differently about their day to day work. Other businesses offer wall space for employees to doodle ideas whenever inspiration strikes. Some, like Griffin Technology, feature their own employee art gallery. Hallmark features Hallmarket, a showcase of over 100 employees’ personal artwork such as sculptures, jewelry, paintings, and textiles, all of which are created outside of the employees’ work at Hallmark.


Where do you find inspiration at work? Tell us on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at


Dance & Design Take Flight for Cole Haan’s Fall ‘15 Line

Posted by Kate Reese
Dance & Design Take Flight for Cole Haan’s Fall ‘15 Line

Cole Haan recently partnered with parkour athletes and dancers from the New York City Ballet (NYCB) on an ad campaign “Prepare for Takeoff,” designed to convey the ultra-lightness of the company’s new ZeroGrand shoe line. The dancers were photographed in gravity-defying poses at the TWA Flight Center in JFK International Airport, an airy, futuristic space designed by architect Eero Saarinen in 1962.


The terminal is the perfect setting to promote the ZeroGrand. “The thing that kind of drew me to it was the idea of ‘take flight,’ which is something that comes very naturally to those dancers,” Cole Haan design director Elyse Siegal told Footwear News. The campaign also promotes Cole Haan’s new Global Innovation Center, which is responsible for a variety of design platforms including the Grand.OS technology used in ZeroGrand.


In addition to collaborating on the ad campaign, Cole Haan also partnered with NYCB to create the ZeroGrand Stagedoor Ballet Flat, part of its new fall line.


Not only did Cole Haan benefit from the partnership, but according to Sara Mearns, one of the dancers featured in the campaign, the project “challenged the whole cast to think of how creatively we could bring lightness, flexibility, and cushioning to life visually with our movement.” The result is an aesthetic that is both graceful and athletic, conveying a reputation for traditional excellence in combination with groundbreaking artistry. The partnership illuminates the power of the arts to help convey a message about a new product in a deeply emotional, visually captivating way.


More information about the partnership and behind-the-scenes footage can be found here.


Learn how Payless ShoeSource benefited from partnering with the American Ballet Theatre in The pARTnership Movement essay, "Put Your Company in the Spotlight."


Female Power Hits the Racks at Nordstrom

Posted by Kellyn Lopes
0 Comments has recently announced a partnership with Piece & Co., a nonprofit dedicated to providing sustainable employment for female artisans in the developing world.


She Makes It is a 32 piece collection featuring products from Alice + Olivia, Current/Elliott, DVF, Joie, Rebecca Mickoff, Theory, The Honest Company, and Tory Burch, all from sourced materials from female artisans in developing countries.


Designer Rebecca Minkoff, in an interview with Piece & Co., noted, “This partnership was the best of both worlds because we were able to support and embrace one-of-a-kind artistry in a modern culture and share it in a huge way through Nordstrom, opening it up to a broadened consumer market.”


“It's been inspiring to see how much all of the brands have enjoyed creating their items with these beautiful fabrics, and how they've now been incorporated into their spring collections.” said Tricia Smith, executive vice president, general merchandise manager, Women's Apparel at Nordstrom. Continued Smith, “We think Nordstrom customers will really embrace Piece & Co.'s vision of connecting fashion and empowering the women who help create it and we can't wait to see how they make it their own."


See the full collection here.


Photo: courtesy of Nordstrom.


Fashion Label Rag & Bone Features its Fall Collection through Dance

Posted by Kellyn Lopes

Ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jookin pioneer Lil Buck are the stars of Rag & Bone’s newest ad campaign. Designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright chose to showcase their fall 2015 collection with this short dance film because, as Wainwright said, “Times have changed. Runway shows don’t resonate with the regular guy. So we wanted to challenge ourselves and engage people.”


The video connects a raw street aesthetic with sophisticated refinement, pointing to the two dancers as well as the clothing that emulate those qualities.


Rag & Bone’s collaboration is a reminder of how the arts are a strategic partner in producing content that creatively engages customers and reinforces brand recognition. This video is a captivating way to showcase the company’s message and promote the new collection in a memorable way. Watch the full video below.



BucketFeet Shoes: Step into the Arts

Posted by Kellyn Lope

Chicago based shoe retailer, BucketFeet, launched in 2011 with the mission “to connect people through art by tapping into the creativity and diversity of the world.” Different artists around the world, including illustrators, painters, tattoo artists, writers, and graffiti artists, design each shoe and print the company produces.


The startup recently raised $7.5 million, and is extending its sales to retailers such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor, in addition to its own studios and pop-up shops.


BucketFeet accepts design submissions from artists around the world and handles all of the manufacturing and distribution of shoes. Artists receive a minimum of $250 down payment and an additional $1 per shoe sold, with the average artist making at least $1,250 on a single design.


Cultivating an environment that blends backgrounds and celebrates cultural diversity is a priority of BucketFeet, as the company utilizes the power of the arts to connect people and to foster cultural exchange. The company notes, “Art is universal. It speaks every language, cuts through cultural differences, and outlives creators.”


Cofounder Raaja Nemani was inspired to create the company after traveling through Argentina wearing a pair of customized shoes that an artist friend of his had designed. Nemani said, “It wasn’t really about the brand name, it was about the story.”


Learn more about BucketFeet shoes at


Photo: Jana Cruder, courtesy of BucketFeet.

Wearing MoMA, By UNIQLO

Posted by Caleb Way

If you have found yourself on Fifth Avenue recently, you may have noticed a large “SPRZ NY” advertisement accenting the window of UNIQLO’s flagship store on the corner of 53rd Street. You may have also turned that corner and continued on to the Museum of Modern Art. This close proximity is just the start of a dynamic partnership between the two. SPRZ NY, UNIQLO’s latest collaboration with MoMA, its midtown neighbor, merges the worlds of visual art and fashion. The now global project, unveiled this past spring, celebrates innovative artists like Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. The result is a line of clothing and accessories featuring art work from MoMA-approved artists originally and exclusively produced and sold in New York.


The SPRZ NY items are displayed in glass on UNIQLO’s newly remodeled second floor. Shoppers are exposed to an experience not surprisingly far from what they may have at MoMA just down the street. The works are not merely items to be purchased, but art to be admired as patrons pass through the space.


This partnership not only enhances the MoMA and UNIQLO brands and fuels traffic across 53rd Street – but also creates an innovative and personalized experience for shoppers and museum visitors alike. For UNIQLO, the partnership brings vibrancy to their workplace and helps them communicate marketing messages in engaging ways. Larry Meyer, CEO of UNIQLO USA said, “Manhattan attracts people from all over the world, and New York is associated with art and culture. Even though UNIQLO and MoMA both operate in different fields, we both aim to promote art as widely as possible. It’s a great match”. For MoMA, this match brings mobility to their brand as countless UNIQLO customers leave the store with not only a new t-shirt but with the message of what inspired it.


The partnership between UNIQLO and MoMA might just be one that sets the tone as arts organizations and businesses across the city develop strategies to expand and engage their audiences.


The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Shops for Success at Tony Walker & Co.

Posted by Lauren Piekarski

Tony Walker & Co. (TW&Co.) is a Buffalo-based, high-end fashion retail center located in Williamsville, New York. A high percentage of Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) patrons live in this Buffalo suburb and patronize the TW&Co. Center, which inspired both organizations to form an innovative collaborative partnership in the fall of 2013 to benefit both organizations.


The relationship began small. Tony Walker & Co. promoted its brand at a BPO concert, formally announcing its new partnership with the Orchestra. Before the concert and during intermission, the company displayed pieces that carried in the store, increasing brand awareness to the thousands of BPO audience in attendance. TW&Co. also featured the Orchestra in its annual catalog, which was disseminated to thousands of Buffalo area households.


In early May of 2014, Tony Walker & Co. hosted a BPO “Shop for Success Day.” During this full-day promotional event, any shopper who mentioned the BPO at TW & Co. received a 10 percent discount on his or her purchase. The company then donated 10 percent of the purchase proceeds to the BPO. Each patron who mentioned the BPO received a favor bag filled with items from both organizations.


In addition, Tony Walker & Co. generously hosted a “Shop for Success Day” reception to celebrate its growing relationship with the Philharmonic. Guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres, champagne and a  fashion show featuring BPO musicians and staff. Musicians strolled the catwalk donning pieces from designers such as Mara Hoffman, Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch, and others. (Photo credit: BPO musicians walked the runway in TW&Co.'s first annual 'Shop for Success Day', courtesty of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.)


The Mara Hoffman line in particular piqued interest among patrons. Buffalo native Mara is a successful New York City-based fashion designer whose father, Monte Hoffman, has played cello in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra for 50 years. It seemed only fitting that the BPO musicians and staff and TW&Co. celebrated this connection by featuring Mara’s bright-colored, extraordinary tribal-influenced pieces. (Photo credit: BPO musicians don Mara Hoffman originals, courtesy of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.)


“Tony Walker and Co. loves working with the BPO,” commented Brittany Troy, event coordinator at TW&Co. “The ‘Shop for Success Day’ was a great way to advance our relationship. We could not be happier with the partnership we are building. The employees at Tony Walker & Co. are very excited to help the Orchestra welcome the 2014-2015 season”


This relationship demonstrated the potential mutual benefits of innovative collaboration with local businesses. Not only did the BPO reach out to an expanded audience in the Williamsville area and raise funds for the organization, but TW&Co. aligned itself with a major cultural asset of Western New York increasing its brand awareness to the BPO’s religious followers. The “Shop for Success Day” is just one reason among many why the #BPOlovesTonyWalker&Co.


Lauren Piekarski is a graduate of Canisius College and the M.A. Arts Management program at the University at Buffalo. She currently serves as the special events coordinator for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.


Diesel Brings Us the ABC's of Dance

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

Diesel, known for its Italian fashions and designer jeans, has recently partnered with i-D, a magazine dedicated to fashion, music, art and youth culture, to create a one-of-a-kind video piece entitled “A-Z of Dance.” In the video, a team of street dancers perform 26 moves, one for each letter, in alphabetical order. The spot, shot on the streets and rooftops of sunny Los Angeles, promotes Diesel’s new collection of Jogg Jeans—denim/jersey hybrid pants that are perfect for dancers or those on the go. Director Jacob Sutton perfectly captures the world's hottest dancers walking in the air in their Jogg Jeans and cut-offs.


Diesel is encouraging the global fan community to contribute their own footage to create a second clip, release date to be announced. Dancers from all across the globe can submit their moves using the hashtags #joggjeans and #iDdance online.


Click the following link to view “A-Z of Dance,” and see how the astonishing power of choreography can build brand awareness and reach new customers.



P.S. ARTS and Tommy Hilfiger Celebrate Launch of Arts Education Program

Posted by Patrick O'Herron


The Tommy Hilfiger Group, which is wholly owned by PVH Corp., and P.S. ARTS celebrated the launch of a unique arts education curriculum with a school visit to Walgrove Elementary School by designer Tommy Hilfiger, P.S. ARTS' Amy Shapiro, Kristen Paglia, Walgrove Elementary School Principal Olivia Adams and President of the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation Guy Vickers.


Designed specifically for students with autism and special needs in mind, the Tommy Hilfiger-P.S. ARTS Education Program includes funding for year-round arts education curriculums at both Walgrove and Grand View Elementary Schools led by full-time Teaching Artists.


"Autism awareness and education is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart, and an issue that affects my family," said Tommy Hilfiger. "I am very proud to launch this partnership with P.S. ARTS, and I hope that with its unique focus on bringing all children together for arts education, the program will pave the way for similar programs in the Los Angeles area and across the country."


(Photo credit: Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and P.S. Arts celebrate the launch of an Arts Education Program with a school visit at Walgrove Elementary on October 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California, courtesy of Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger.)


Recent education budget cuts have resulted in the systematic reduction and elimination of arts programs in California public schools and across the country, with the greatest impact being felt in programs for special needs students. The reduction of integrated arts programs has led to a severe lack of opportunity for all students to learn and experience together in diverse classroom environments. This lack of inclusive curriculum opportunities has had the unintended effect of further segregating autistic and special needs students from the general student population. The partnership specifically addresses the need for programs in underserved public schools that are designed to be inclusive of both special needs and general education students.


"We are incredibly excited to launch the Tommy Hilfiger-P.S. ARTS Education Program," said Amy Shapiro, Executive Director, Advancement & Operations for P.S. ARTS.


"Tommy Hilfiger has been a longtime advocate for autism awareness and education, and this unique partnership is a tremendous reflection of our mission of improving the lives of children with comprehensive, sustainable, high-quality arts education to underserved public schools and communities."


The evening preceding the school visit, members from the P.S. ARTS Board of Trustees and staff honored Mr. Hilfiger and his wife Dee with a dinner party hosted by Maria Bell at her Los Angeles home. The dinner was attended by notable philanthropists and fashion industry leaders.


"I have long been an active member of the arts community and personally dedicated to raising money to support arts education across the country," said Maria Bell. "Tommy Hilfiger is a dear friend and it is an honor to celebrate the launch of this important arts education program with such a fantastic group of people."


The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation's support of P.S. ARTS reflects the Foundation's ongoing commitment to autism related programs across North America. Tommy and Dee Hilfiger are both passionate and long-time supporters of the autism community, raising funds and awareness of the disorder.


Tommy Hilfiger established The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation in December 1995 to help empower America's youth, developing and supporting programs and partnerships that build and promote healthy communities by supporting education, health and cultural programs. The Foundation believes education and family is the cornerstone for today's diverse youth population. For children to succeed in today's global society, a stronger emphasis must be placed on higher education leading to greater career opportunities. The Foundation also recognizes the importance of building a healthy community and is committed to investing in organizations and cultural programs that impact the physical well-being of at risk youth and family programs.


For more information on PVH Corp. and subsidiary Tommy Hilfiger, visit To learn more about P.S. Arts, visit


Like Tommy Hilfiger, you can forge partnerships that build and promote healthy communities. Download our tool-kit "Building Partnerships on Your Own" to learn how to build successful arts and business partnerships in your region.


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