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IKEA Partners with Artisan Refugees for New Line

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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IKEA Partners with Artisan Refugees for New Line

IKEA announced that its Brooklyn store will have a new, exclusive line, created by Jordanian women and Syrian refugee artisans. In partnership with the Jordan River Foundation, it created the line TILLTALANDE, which features handmade products. The cushion covers and rugs weave together traditional techniques and modern styles.  

 

Jordan River Foundation was founded in 1995 to promote child safety and community empowerment. IKEA, the Swedish home furnishings giant, has been partnering with social entrepreneurs since 2012. With the founding of the IKEA Social Entrepreneur Initiative, the company has been collaborating with artisans and designers across the globe to promote economic empowerment, particularly for women. Together, IKEA and the Foundation have created jobs for more than 100 women, while also creating a unique line.

 

Check out this video on the process.

 

Photo: TILLTALANDE page, via IKEA

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JetBlue Showing #NonstopPride

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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JetBlue Showing #NonstopPride

JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline. With a strong New York representation amongst staff and with one of the leading resource groups for LGBT workplaces, JetPride, it was an easy connection for the airline to partner with New York Gay Men’s Chorus. They first announced their partnership in 2017 and are continuing their support of #NonstopPride.

 

Founded in 1980, it has grown into a successful chorus with over 260 members from diverse backgrounds and ages, and is a member of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses, Inc. Over the years, they have performed at corporate events to concerts and television shows with high-profile singers and orchestras.

 

In addition to supporting NYCGMC, JetBlue is also a supporting of The Center (The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center), Stonewall In Gives Back Initiative, and other Pride events throughout the country.

 

Photo: Businesswire

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eBay, Public Art Fund, and Ai Weiwei Come Together to Support Refugees

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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eBay, Public Art Fund, and Ai Weiwei Come Together to Support Refugees

On June 20, World Refugee Day, eBay will release a series of exclusive works through a partnership with Public Art Fund and artist/activist Ai Weiwei. 500 editions of six banners bearing portraits of refugees will go on sale for $750 each. These pieces come from his exhibition Good Fences Make Good Neighbors in NYC, a multi-faceted, 300+ pieces installation that included portraits from the nineteenth century to today. In partnership with Public Art Fund, the display ran for five months throughout all five boroughs of New York City.

 

The artist said: “The work is directly related to the history of human migration and aims to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis happening today. It is a reminder of the artist's responsibility to defend the understanding that all humans share the same meaning of life. I have always believed that to be the foundation of our aesthetic practice."

 

Sam Bright, Senior Director of Art & Collectibles at eBay stated, "we're thrilled to continue our partnership with the Public Art Fund and Ai Weiwei to exclusively give our 171 million active buyers a chance to own limited artworks for an important cause. This special sale furthers our mission to use the power of our platform to impact significant causes, benefiting two essential organizations supporting refugees." Through the company’s platform eBay for Charity, all proceeds from the sales will go to Public Art Fund, which will make a donation to USA for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Regufees) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

 

In addition to his compelling work, Ai Weiwei is known for his human rights and social justice activism. He will be honored for his Outstanding Contributions to the Arts at Americans for the Art’s 2018 National Arts Awards in October.

 

Photo: Artist Ai Weiwei with artworks: Banner 51, Banner 2, Banner 13, Banner 200, Banner 90, Banner 50; CNC laser cut vinyl 17” x 48.” Courtesy, Public Art Fund, NY.

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Announcing the 2018 BCA 10 Honorees

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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Announcing the 2018 BCA 10 Honorees
The Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) of Americans for the Arts is proud to present the BCA 10 awards on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at a black-tie gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City.
 
The awards honor 10 U.S. companies, a business leader, and an arts and business partnership for their exceptional commitment to the arts through grants, local partnerships, volunteer programs, matching gifts, sponsorships, and board membership.
 
We are excited to announce this year's winners:
 

Churchill Downs (Louisville, KY)

Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati, OH)

Fosun (New York, NY)

Phillips 66 (Houston, TX)

The Standard (Portland, OR)

Tierney (Philadelphia, PA)

UMB Financial Corporation (Kansas City, MO)

VF Corporation (Greensboro, NC)

West Bend Mutual Insurance Company (West Bend, WI)

Zions Bank (Salt Lake City, UT)

 

In addition, Chandrika Tandon, chairman of Tandon Capital Associates and Soul Chants Music in New York City and Grammy-nominated musician, will be honored with the BCA Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals for their extraordinary vision, leadership, and commitment to supporting the arts and for encouraging other businesses to follow their lead.

 

Square and Cheyenne River Youth Project of San Francisco, CA and Eagle Butte, SD, respectively, will receive the David Rockefeller pARTnership Award. This award recognizes a company and arts organization (or artist) for an exceptional project, program, or initiative that represents a true alliance, collaboration, or exchange between the two.

 

"We are grateful to honor these businesses and individuals for their exceptional involvement in ensuring that the arts thrive in their communities," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "They provide the arts with significant financial and in-kind support, and they incorporate meaningful arts-related programs into their employee, customer, and community relations activities – truly setting a standard for other businesses to follow."
 
Join us in celebrating these companies and their exceptional partnership with the arts by purchasing tickets, placing an ad in the BCA 10 journal, or sponsoring the gala celebration.
 

 

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360 Degrees of Dance, Design, and Technology

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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360 Degrees of Dance, Design, and Technology

Last week, Barney’s New York, Samsung Electronics America, and Martha Graham Dance Company unveiled the new Window on Madison Ave. Combining fashion, tech, and art, the display offers passersby, shoppers, and art enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the world-renowned Martha Graham Dance Company in a piece choreographed by Cynthia Stanley. Stanley’s Husband Theo Stanley of Harbor Picture Company directed “Mantle.”

 

The piece features eight current and former Martha Graham Dancers, wearing exclusive pieces by noted designers Craig Green, Lowe, Prabal Gurung, Rick Owens, and the Row. In addition to showcases the dancers, choreographers, and the fashion, “Mantle” is also providing people the opportunity to experience something through Virtual Reality. Using Oculus VR headsets, audiences can explore the dancers and the designs from a new perspective.

 

Together, these businesses and the arts are proving that the intersection between industries helps reach new customers and admirers.

 

Photo credit: Current and former Martha Graham Dancers in "Mantle," photo by Theo Stanley

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NYC Business Provides World Class Platform for Youth Creativity

Posted by Fransini Alberto Vasquez
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NYC Business Provides World Class Platform for Youth Creativity

Everyone faces challenges; but not everyone has the tools to overcome them. What happens when companies provide resources and recognition to young people to work through these issues in creative, safe spaces? Change.

 

Scholastic Corporation, a New York-based publishing, education, and media company, hosts the yearly Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, recognizing youth creativity in the United States. By combining their company’s mission and their brand, Scholastic has created a powerful platform for New York City’s young artists.

 

The Scholastic Awards were created just three years after the company’s inception in 1920 with the aim of “enlarging the student’s concern for and understanding of today’s world,” and promoting “excellence in creative expression in all fields of learning, literature, and art.” Participants, ranging from grades 7 through 12, submit original works each year in art and writing categories such as architecture, painting, flash fiction, poetry, print making, and video game design. Prominent past award recipients include: Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, and Zac Posen.

 

Scholastic has attracted like-minded businesses, foundations, and scholarship partners at prestigious institutions like Parsons School of Design at the New School, School of Visual Art (SVA), and Purchase College SUNY, School of Art & Design. The New York Life Foundation Award, co-sponsored by the New York Life Foundation, recognizes “teens exploring issues of grief and bereavement in their creative work and provides six young artists and writers with $1,000 scholarships”. They also partner with major cultural institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they have showcased hundreds of works of art and writing by recipients of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This is the highest regional recognition, which selects works based on “originality, technical skill, and emergence of a personal voice or vision.’’ New York City students submitted nearly 11,000 works for the 2017 awards, representing more than 300 schools from all five boroughs.

 

The Scholastic Awards are remarkable in their drive to encourage and elevate young artists who choose to work through challenging current events, politics, identity, and emotions. Scholastic Corporation is not only a literary and media company, but an institution that recognizes the importance of elevating young voices, art, community, and their company.

 

Winners of the 2018 awards will be announced this month.

 

Photo: Ghost Realm, Painting by Amadi Rubie, Grade 11, Age 16. Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, Oakland Gardens, NY


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For Artists, By Artists: Supporting Each Other Through Business

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For Artists, By Artists: Supporting Each Other Through Business

As an artist, Craig “KR” Costello saw a need for efficient graffiti mediums. As a businessperson, he solved the hole in the market.

 

Graffiti artists in New York were all about mobility, painting subway cars through the City with their signatures sprayed on them; then, turning to walls, tunnels, and objects as their canvases. KR explains that during the 80s graffiti was ‘‘an attitude’’ and the culture revolved around DIY materials. Paint was stolen, markers were made, and unconventional tools were used due to the lack of economic resources, making the ‘’sharing and stealing [of tools] necessary for the creative process’’. Artists were faced with the challenge of messy homemade markers, and homemade inks that faded under the sun.

 

In the early 90s, KR moved to San Francisco, California where he studied its booming graffiti scene and experimented with various tools and mediums on the streets. Water bottles, white out pens, and shoe polish markers were re-purposed for the sake of “looking to your environment and finding your tools’’. Eventually, he began making his own ink (KR’s ink, hence Krink) and shared his product with the community of artists around him.

 

Eventually, KR’s ink could be found everywhere in the City, on any door, wall, or mailbox. Alife, an art supply store asked KR to bottle up Krink to be sold, turning his “creative project’’ into a business plan.

 

In an interview for Vice Magazine in 2012, KR discussed the interest of business owners in public art, in which they collaborated with artists from around the globe to do walls in their communities. Tiffany Tanaka, founder of the Honolulu-based gallery, Loft in Space, discussed the importance of KR’s contribution to the artist community in Hawaii, and the way she perceived art as a motor for social change, and its impact on Hawaii’s economy. As KR had helped to expand the artistic community as there was a lack of art galleries and exhibitions during that time.

 

KR transitioned from a struggling artist in New York City to the face behind a brand that aims to improve artistry, maintain affordability, ‘’pay fair wages, and support local economy’’. His scrappy attitude and holistic thinking has worked for him; he has been sought for major arts and business collaborations with Marc Jacobs, Nike, Casio, Absolut Vodka, Modernica Furniture, and many more. He is a prime example of someone who has bridged the gap between the interests of artists and the success of a business. Through his consideration and understanding of the best ways to create useful and affordable tools to make art, he has built a thriving business, drawn the attention of other business owners, and enhanced artists and local communities.

 

In January 2018, Krink announced the reissue of the original 8oz. silver ink, hand-filled and labelled in a glass bottle. 

 

Photo: Craig ''KR'' Costello in His Studio for Refinery29 by Atisha Paulson

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BCA 10 Spotlight: Scholastic Inc., New York City

Posted by Mariama Holman
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BCA 10 Spotlight: Scholastic Inc., New York City

Creative, innovative thinking, the hallmark of artists and writers, is fundamental to building economic strength, and new and better ways of seeing the world. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards validates the creativity of students in their teens to encourage them on a path to contribute great ideas that will benefit society.

-Dick Robinson, President and CEO, Scholastic Inc.

 

For more than 90 years, Scholastic Inc., through financial support, in-kind donations, pro-bono services, and employee volunteer hours, has contributed to the literary talents, artistic works, and recognition of children and teens. As the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, Scholastic has contributed tens of millions of dollars to the arts since the company was founded in 1920. Scholastic further encourages a love of reading, writing and art in areas of need by donating millions of books and resources through book grants. The company received a 2013 BCA 10 Award, nominated by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

 

In 1923, just three years after founding Scholastic, Maurice R. Robinson created the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards to recognize the exceptional creative talents of our nation’s youth. Mr. Robinson firmly believed it was important “to give those high school students who demonstrate superior talent and achievement in things of the spirit and of the mind at least a fraction of the honors and rewards accorded to their athletic classmates for demonstrating their bodily skills.”

 

Scholastic ran the Awards in-house until 1994, when a committed board of directors was assembled to start the nonprofit organization Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which broadened the scope of the program and raised more money for scholarships. Teens nationwide have submitted more than 900,000 original works, and more than $45 million in scholarships has been earmarked for top regional and national Awards winners by partnering colleges. Scholastic has published several novels by teen writers discovered through the Awards and a number of winners have gone on to successful publishing careers, many of them with Scholastic.

 

Each year in the program’s history, Scholastic employees have donated hundreds of thousands of hours to the Arts & Writing Awards. From the very first year and continuing to today, they give their time and expertise by judging art and writing submissions, as well as providing operational, technical, legal, and public relations support. In 2012 alone, more than 150 employees volunteered their time to regional and national judging. More volunteers assist in the production of the Awards ceremony, held each year at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Scholastic has received tremendously positive feedback from staff involvement with the Alliance, finding that the partnership acts as a great tool to keep employees engaged in the workplace. Scholastic’s headquarters in New York City is lined with a collection of student artwork and the lobby of the building houses a rotating exhibition of current award-winning student work.

 

Beyond the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the company believes in the power of art to inspire children to further their literacy skills and embrace reading. This is embodied in the company’s global literacy campaign to support every child’s right to read, Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life., which includes engaging renowned children’s illustrators to create their artistic interpretation of the campaign message through posters.

 

Photo: National Portfolio Gold Medalists at Carnegie Hall with Alliance for Young Artists & Writers Executive Director Virginia McEnerney and special guests, Zac Posen, Terrance Hayes, Usher, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

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Announcing the 2017 BCA Leadership Award and BCA pARTnership Award Honorees

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce the BCA Leadership Award and the *new* BCA pARTnership Award honorees for 2017.  The awards are presented annually by the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), a division of Americans for the Arts.

 

UNIQLO, casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer, and The Museum of Modern Art, the foremost museum of modern art in the world, will receive the new 2017 BCA pARTnership Award which recognizes a company and an arts organization for an exceptional project, program, or initiative that represents a true alliance, collaboration, or exchange between the two.

 

 

 

Raymond J. McGuire, Global Head of Corporate & Investment Banking of Citi, will receive the 2017 BCA Leadership Award, which recognizes an individual for his/her extraordinary vision, leadership, and commitment to supporting the arts and for encouraging other businesses to follow in his/her lead.

 

 

The honorees will receive their awards at the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America gala on October 11, 2017, a black-tie affair at the Loeb Boathouse in New York City’s Central Park.

 

For more information on tickets and ads, contact bca@artsusa.org

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Q and A: Business Leader Discusses Advocacy and Strategic Connections to Art Groups

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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An Interview with Mark Golden, BCA Executive Board member and CEO of Golden Artist Colors, a BCA 10 company

 

Americans for the Arts is proud to present an interview with Mark Golden, CEO of Golden Artist Colors. Golden has 30 years of industry experience and was chosen as a recipient of the Small Business Person of the Year for New York State award. In addition, he was recognized by President Bill Clinton for his activities in creating a business that exemplifies the spirit of corporate citizenship in providing a work environment that values all employees.

 

Golden has been a guest lecturer at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Tate Gallery in London, and the College Arts Association convention. He has served as guest lecturer in colleges throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and has co-authored several technical papers on issues dealing with conservation of modern materials and acrylic paintings. He is a member of Americans for the Arts BCA Executive Board.

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Q: As a business leader, how have you been able to support the arts? What impact has this had on your business and on the arts community?

 

At Golden Artist Colors our business is making and selling artist colors. As such, we are intimately connected to the visual arts community. Our vision statement attests to this connection and value of our creative communities. Our Company “is a catalyst bridging creative communities and inspiring positive global change through the arts.” For us, it is simple. In order for us to be successful we need to find ways to help our customers succeed. It is what Paul Hawken described as the “ecology of commerce”. By helping to support the artists and the many organizations that support artists, we have gained their support in return. This is the nature of any sustainable system, that each needs the other to fuel its success.

 

Some of the specific examples include our education program, which 

provides income to close to 200 artists who educate a wide range of art groups and colleges on the use of artist materials. The dozen artists that work at our facility provide a valuable resource delivering one-on-one access for technical and application information to thousands of artists. The company is actively engaged in studies that are advancing the knowledge of arts materials and their archival qualities, assuring that artists can work with better and more stable materials. We have supported a wide range of artists’ murals all over the world for those who are actively supporting their local communities with their efforts. We continue to provide custom resources to artists and also to museums around the world in their need for dedicated conservation materials. We created new partnerships with various organizations including the Alliance of Young Artist and Writers that supports the largest art award program for middle and high school students. We are involved with the Alliance of Artist Communities that is the advocacy voice for artist residencies around the world, providing space, support and time for artists to engage in their work. There are hundreds of examples each year of finding ways to reach out to our arts community. It is not by accident that through these efforts as well as our commitment to our employee owners, the quality of our products and services, that we our company continues to grow and thrive.

 

 

Q: What advice or encouragement would you give to a business interested in partnering with the arts?

 

The greatest advice I can give to any organization wanting to partner with the arts is to find a natural connection that feels like part of your organization. Artists’ work is about igniting that creative spark and what organization doesn’t want to feel that level of excitement about breaking through boundaries or finding new solutions? Often in business we see our decisions as quite binary, thinking it must be ‘this way or that way’. Trusting the artists’ process allows us to envision multiple paths. Without a doubt, it is wonderful to provide a portion of your philanthropy to artists or organizations, yet even more powerful is finding more strategic connections to art groups. Whether this is advancing your HR activities, marketing or new product development, allowing artists in and engaging in the creative process with them can yield incredibly far-reaching results.

 

Q: Tell us about your experience and involvement with Arts Advocacy Day and the CREATE ACT. Can you talk about your own experience starting a small creative business and how the CREATE Act would have helped you?

 

This past March I participated in my first Arts Advocacy Day. Besides offering a chance to actually provide a voice for supporting the NEA, it was also a valuable learning experience. For me it was an important opportunity to become a more effective advocate. As a small business starting with just 4 family members, it took us years to be able to convince lending agencies that an artist paint company could truly be a viable business. For four years and working with multiple banks, we could not secure an SBA guaranteed loan to help us with our growing pains. It is quite ironic that in 1996, I won the SBA award for a small business in New York State. 

 

During this past Art Advocacy Day I had the honor to participate in a session with Narric Rome, the Vice President of Government Affairs and Arts Education at Americans for the Arts for a discussion of the CREATE Act, a bill sponsored by Senator Tom Udall from New Mexico. This bill provides a mechanism which is budget neutral to provide artists and non-profit art groups some of the same opportunities that other entrepreneurs enjoy in the small business community. The act has several areas of emphasis but I think the most important to business was offering artists some of the same opportunities already offered to small business and to expand loans through the SBA. It also suggests a mechanism to provide incubator assistance and grant options to support this creative community. Through these programs artists can contribute their unique talent for invention and entrepreneurship that has allowed creative centers to thrive. Artists continue to build both business base and growing significant value in the communities they’ve gravitated to. It is time to recognize this and to provide the support these artists need.

 

 

Q: How do you think business leaders can be better advocates for the arts locally and nationally?

 

Business leaders recognize the importance of creativity in their organizations. They value invention and innovation as the tools that will allow them to succeed past their competition. Unfortunately, many businesses continue to act as though those resources will only arrive from MBA applicants. Businesses continue to attend job fairs in communities and colleges recruiting the same sort of candidates. What if some of these same businesses also actively pursued artists and art majors? At least to engage them to find the diversity of skills that might be lacking in the organization. If you want creativity, hire creativity. It is through recognizing that skills in creativity can be just as important as other more traditional business skills. For this to be realized, businesses need to be powerful advocates for arts in education.

 

Business leaders who are asked regularly to participate in sponsoring ads in the local newsletter or program guide need to ask the arts organizations for bigger, better and bolder ideas on how your support will be meaningful to them, but as importantly, how your support of their organization will support your mission as an organization. Ask these organizations that thrive on creativity, to provide some of that creativity to produce solutions that create a synergy of activity. It is great to see your company’s name on the evening’s performance guide…better is to find greater points of connection to your business. Art organizations have no need to go hat in hand to donors as they have valuable products to offer. Business leaders, on the other hand, need to ask these organizations how your support will both benefit the arts organization and the business itself.  


Finally, businesses need to recognize the incredible value that the arts provides them for entertainments for uplifting performance, for growing the excitement of what it means to live within a creative community. For so long artists have been marginalized, moving from region to region to afford space to live and create. Once they do so, it isn’t long before properties begin to soar in value and again, artists need to move out to more affordable spaces. This benefit has long been ignored as ‘just the way it is’. It is time that we reward these pioneers and adventurous creators and allow them in some measure to also enjoy the fruits of their labor.

 

Photos: Golden Artist Colors

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