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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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Hotels Make “Room” for the Arts in Queens

Posted by Emma Osore
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Hotels Make “Room” for the Arts in Queens

The QCA ArtHotel Residency, is a new program of Queens Council on the Arts in partnership with The Paper Factory Hotel and the Z NYC Hotel. These Queens-based hotels are committed to arts and culture in the community and their brand identities are rooted in the arts. The Paper Factory’s eclectic decor and artistic ambiance are enriched by modern industrial accents reminiscent of this building’s past- a paper factory in 1970s, converted into a hotel in 2010s. The Z NYC Hotel is steps from the Queensboro Bridge, and features a sleek, Jazz Age theme combined with modernist industrial chic.

 

QCA ArtHotel artist residency program offers two Queens-based artists, a $3,000 stipend each, for a 3-month period of time to work outside of their traditional environment and daily life. While the artists do not live on site, the residency spaces are a place where artists retreat to create their work and have an opportunity to focus inwardly and share her/his process with the public.

 

The QCA ArtHotel residency is intended to give artists a safe place to focus on their work in the public realm, build different audiences, and be seen making work within the Queens community. In turn, this gives the public access to a working artist’s process. This residency is also intended to build the value of local working artists in an attempt to revise the narrative of displacement due to gentrification and development borough-wide.

 

For their inaugural year, visual artists Erin Treacy and Jennifer Williams were chosen from a pool of applicants based upon criteria that included artistic excellence, a public engagement experience and a clear proposal of art activity to happen during the residency. 

 

Jennifer Williams, who will be in residence at Z Hotel says, “what excited me about the ArtHotel residency was the chance to immerse myself in a neighborhood amidst radical change and transform the blank slate of a hotel room into localized experience describing the neighborhood's current state of flux.”

 

Erin Treacy of Sunnyside, Queens notes, "working in the studio is usually a solo pursuit for me. I am excited to be a resident at the Paper Factory Hotel, allowing for me to open up the studio process and discussion with a larger community. It is a great open and sunny space that will surely contribute to my palette and allow for me to expand the scale of my work!"

 

Artists like Jennifer and Erin are creative and valuable community members who are often experts at creative problem solving and encouraging neighbors to interact, in addition to being specialists who make works of art. The public and guests of the partnering hotels will be invited into the artist’s hotel room studios to experience the creative process at various times during the residency. The Queens Council on the Arts provides updates for ongoing activities as each of these participating hotels for the duration of the 3-month residency.

 

Photo: Queens Council on the Arts

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Influenced by the Arts

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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These businesses and business leaders make space for the arts.

 

 

iPic Entertainment, manager of movie theaters, restaurants, bars, and bowling alleys that exist to make a difference in people’s lives by delivering innovative hospitality and memorable experiences, has infused visual art (installations and gallery-style hangings) into the customer experience. Watch the iPic Life video above featuring Li-Hill about how he develops his work that is currently featured at the iPic Fulton Market New York location. More on iPic Life artists can be found here.

 

Video: iPic Theaters

 

New Beginnings Barber Shop has combined fine art with the art of barbering. This barber shop is also a gallery where an impressive collection of African-American art, as well as new installations by local and national artists can be found. Hear from owner Troy Staton and see more photos from this unique shop in Baltimore here.

 

Photo: Andre Chung for NBC News

 

Steve Conine, CEO of online home furnishings store Wayfair, spends his downtime ice sculpting. Though his daily corporate role primarily involves software, he does acknowledge the valuable result of his creative activity, “It helps me prioritize and take calculated risks. When I’m carving slippery ice, my ability to manage risk is critical."

 

Photo: Fast Company

 

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It’s About Your People

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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It’s About Your People

According to MetLife's 14th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, 74% of employers understand the value of non-medical options while only 47% of employees do.

 

That’s pretty surprising considering employees desire to work for companies that meet their values and in jobs that bring them personal satisfaction.

 

So where does that leave businesses when thinking about the people that make them up?

 

Insurance and employee benefits leader MetLife produces a great deal of information about what is important to people in the workplace. Their research and explanation of trends surrounding multigenerational workplace and work-life balance are important topics for the ever-changing workforce. Particularly notable are their findings on workplace culture which directly align with using arts-based initiatives to strengthen employee engagement.

 

Why Developing a Workplace Culture Matters

The simple answer: increased output. A key observation in developing corporate culture is the trifecta of company value, employee morale, and productivity. MetLife describes culture as “a key competitive advantage for companies to meet challenges and power a business forward”.

 

Enhancing Workplace Culture with Arts-Based Initiatives

When a company seeks to strengthen their workplace culture, they can look to include the arts. By doing so they have increased their opportunities to strengthen employee engagement by encouraging personal growth, providing opportunities to develop new leadership skills, and by inspiring employees to innovate and collaborate. There are a variety of ways to bring arts into the workplace:

  • Team Trainings with artistic elements (improv, movement, visual creation)
  • Workplace Art Programs
  • Corporate Art Collections
  • Match Programs for Employees’ Arts Nonprofit Giving
  • Business Volunteer for the Arts

More suggestions can be found in our For Partners section.

 

Outcomes From Using the Arts to Grow Culture

In the pARTnership Movement essay "Engage Your Employees", it is mentioned that “organizations in the top quartile on employee engagement achieved two and a half times the revenue growth of organizations in the bottom quartile”. The essay goes on to share that engaged employees display two key traits:"High levels of attachment to an organization and a desire to remain part of that organization and a willingness to go above and beyond the formal requirements of the job by being good corporate citizens, pouring extra effort into their work and delivering superior performance."

 

As employers continue to think about engagement strategies, bringing the arts into company culture will allow your people to shine and your shared values to align.

 

Read the full pARTnership Movement essay on employee engagement and additional essays here.

 

Image: MetLife

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An Environment of Convergence

Posted by Melyssa Muro
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An Environment of Convergence

Conversations surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion are currently affecting almost every industry.  From tech to home sharing, leaders are approaching new ways to engage employees, thwart exclusion, and consider people on the margins within their work environments and also within their communities. 

 

So, how are leaders approaching this area as it effects the arts and culture sector?

 

MoMA’s president emerita, Agnes Gund, has worked to diversify the scope of the museum, stating, “We serve a population.” In other words, the works should reflect the range of the population served.

 

To fulfill this need for diverse works, Gund reached out to individuals like AC Hudgins, who joined the board of directors in 2012. He has since contributed his collected works, including pieces by David Hammons, Henry Taylor, Senga Nengudi, and more, and in doing so, has enhanced the exchange of ideas from those with differing backgrounds. By housing these works down the hall from those of Van Gogh and Dali, MoMA cultivates an environment of convergence. In this way, Hudgins’ additions are immensely appreciated; as his friend and colleague Marie-Josee Kravis frames it, “[W]e have three million visitors a year… We have to be an agora, not a temple.”

 

Hudgins, as well as many leaders of color within boards, brings in diverse art and draws in a wider and newly engaged audience. As art and culture leaders work to close the gap between neighborhoods and lifestyle, they always keep at top of mind that the arts are the bridge that transcend that gap.

 

Photo: MoMA. Marino Miculan courtesy of Flickr.

Some rights reserved.

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Samsung’s Summer Speaker Series and the Pipeline to the Workforce

Posted by Melyssa Muro
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While it is no secret that internship experiences are invaluable to college students or anyone joining the workforce, Samsung recently curated an event for students in NYC to be in conversation with some of the city’s industry leaders. From late July to the end of August, students gathered once a week at Samsung 837 for this Mini-Internship to hear the life stories and lessons from top names in media, music, film, sports, and more. In addition to Samsung executives, featured speakers included Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee and Iron Chef David Burke. The series also included representatives from prominent local organizations, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. Students were further exposed to these industry pioneers through an open forum, where they participated with questions and free discussion with the star-studded guest list.

 

The program is ongoing with the support of Meatpacking Business Improvement District, and is part of Samsung’s continued commitment to advancing students—particularly amid the summer months. Andrew Bowins, vice president of Samsung Electronics America’s Corporate Reputation, has expressed interest in creating a pipeline for the future, stating that for young professionals, “Access to role models who could become mentors can be a critical step into the workforce.” Samsung has further shown its dedication to education and professional development through their Hope for Children initiative (ongoing for over a decade), as well as partnerships between the Corporate Citizenship team and many educational programs focused on helping students hone skills necessary to join the workforce.

 

In this way, Samsung truly upholds the standard of how a company should contribute to the economy and in doing so, improve the quality of life not just for the immediate community, but for generations to come.

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When businesses partner for social impact, everyone wins

Posted by Jessica Gaines
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When businesses partner for social impact, everyone wins

The Leesa Dream Gallery™”,the world’s first combined mattress store and art gallery is a solid illustration of art breathing life into communities. In this high-end retail concept, you can naturally experience a beautifully crafted mattress while appreciating artwork created by undiscovered artists seeking to change their lives through their art – no pushy salespeople allowed.

 

The gallery is a partnership between Leesa®,the high-end, direct-to-consumer online mattress company, and ArtLifting, an online art marketplace for homeless, disabled, and other disadvantaged artists to sell their artwork. 

 

This collaboration of two forward-thinking companies can be attributed to Leesa and ArtLifting’s unique shared sentiment of ‘create opportunity and change lives’. “Having successfully introduced a new mattress and a new way to shop online in our first year, The Leesa Dream Gallery is the next frontier. Combining with ArtLifting to create a new kind of retail experience while giving homeless and disabled artists a platform to show and sell their art is a dream come true,” said Leesa Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer David Wolfe. “People in need don’t want a handout, they want the ability to change their lives,” said Liz Powers, ArtLifting co-founder and chief happiness spreader. 

 

As the two joined to build this first mattress retail/gallery of its kind, they imprinted a path for social enterprise and business to use art as a means for storytelling, customer engagement, and enhanced quality of life. Where else will you see a business focused on bringing a premium memory foam mattress that looks better, feels better, and costs less coupled with a for-profit enterprise dedicated to providing a platform for artists to empower themselves through the celebration and sale of their artwork?

 

And, what are the wins for each business? Leesa’s product became rated higher than all of its direct-to-consumer competitors and they became the number one fastest growing e-retailer according to Internet Retailer’s 2016 Top 500 Guide. Leesa also released a stunning limited edition mattress cover inspired by a formerly homeless artist discovered by ArtLifting. And ArtLifting’s artist received a percentage of every sale. And by securing income and connecting with a larger audience, their artists garner positivity that permeates every aspect of their lives.

 

 

Photo courtesy of ArtLifting.

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Samsung’s Day of Service is a Day for the Arts

Posted by Chris Zheng
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Samsung’s Day of Service is a Day for the Arts

Samsung is a global leader in all things technology, from consumer electronics to semiconductors to information systems and more. On May 13th, Samsung dedicated time to the community in order to add arts advocacy to that list. For the company’s fourth semiannual Day of Service, Samsung New York employees teamed up to throw an Art Prep Party for Free Arts NYC, an organization that provides over 1,600 underserved children and families with high-quality arts education and mentorship programs to support self-confidence and resiliency. Employees helped paint bags and make art supplies for Free Arts NYC programs, providing employees with a unique opportunity to give back to the community while also showing off their creative skills.

 

The event took place at Samsung’s innovative and immersive space, Samsung 837, which opened this past February. Samsung 837 is a one-of-a-kind digital playground, marketing center, and cultural destination that aims to engage the public with its products and get in touch with the cultural epicenter that is New York City.

 

The center’s creative potential speaks to Samsung’s far reaching support of all kinds of art forms. Vice President and General Manager at Samsung 837, Zach Overton, said “we have a proven track record of innovation, and with Samsung 837, we are creating the flagship of the future. 837 is a fully immersive cultural center, featuring programming which will tap into people’s passions such art, music, entertainment, sports, wellness, culinary, technology and fashion, all powered and enriched by technology.” Partnered with local artists and the nearby Whitney Museum of Art, Samsung 837 provides a stunning gallery space for visual arts programming as well as an open radio and DJ studio.

 

It is no surprise that Samsung has engaged with the local community to support important initiatives. A press release for the Day of Service stated: “At Samsung, we believe in being an active corporate citizen, investing in the communities where we work and live. Our employees power our drive to make the world a better place. During our semiannual Day of Service, our offices across the country – from New Jersey to California – close and our employees spend time supporting local and national charities and organizations.”

 

Through its partnership with the arts, Samsung has boosted its brand and become a dependable and welcomed member of the community, reinforcing their decision to create a flagship tech center in New York City, “where the best marketing happens and where people have a finger on the pulse of culture. As a result, [Samsung has] and will continue to attract top talent from around the world.”

 

Samsung creates technology that powers the future. In supporting and partnering with local arts programs for arts education, the future that they envision is sure to be a promising and creative one.

 

Photo from www.samsung.com/us/news 

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