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United States Conference of Mayors Approves Arts-related Resolutions

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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United States Conference of Mayors Approves Arts-related Resolutions

From June 8-11, mayors from across the nation convened in Boston for the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). Among other resolutions related to Arts and Culture Funding and the recognition of Arts and Humanities Month, USCM approved the resolution for using Arts and Business Partnerships to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

 

Here’s an excerpt of the approved resolution:

 

“NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms the value of the arts in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion; and

BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors encourages businesses to leverage arts-based partnerships to achieve internal and external diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.”

 

For the full listing of approved resolutions from the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment, and Sports committee, click here.

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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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PurePoint Financial Offices Display Local Artists

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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PurePoint Financial Offices Display Local Artists

PurePoint Financial is a hybrid digital bank that launched in February 2017. Although it has only been around for a year and a half, it is already into its second art exhibit at its flagship Park Avenue location. With the aim of celebrating the community, PurePoint Financial has supported local artists who feature the New York City landscape and culture.

 

This week, it opened its new gallery, “Dance as Art: The New York Photography Project,” by Kevin Richardson. His work showcases dancers around the city, celebrating both their talent and the NYC environment.  

 

In 2017, PurePoint Financial displayed the photography of Rachel Neville, also a dance photographer. When she auctioned off some of her work, a portion of the proceeds went to Project LIFT, which is a program of New York Theater Ballet that provides access to children. PurePoint is making a matching contribution to the New York Philharmonics Very Young Composers program.

 

With the launch of the first exhibit, Maha Madain, Head of Marketing at PurePoint Financial said, “The art scene is part of New York. What better way to showcase our commitment to the community than being part of the community?”

 

Likewise, their office in Houston features work by Lynn Lane, the official photographer for the Houston Grand Opera and Alley Theatre.

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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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Law Firm uses Art to Celebrate Pride Month

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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Law Firm uses Art to Celebrate Pride Month

For the 12th year, Clifford Chance Arcus Americas is formally celebrating Gay Pride Month through art. This year, there will be art exhibits celebrating the LGBT+ and allies community in New York and Washington, DC in an exhibition entitled, Marks of Resistance. Itwill open in New York and DC on June 20 and 21, respectively, and will remain on view until September 21.  

 

Marks of Resistance includes artwork with a wide range of creative practices that emphasize presence and visibility as a form of political resistance. Works span diverse media and forms: portraiture—of queer people, places and archives that reify cultural memory and demand our attention—and abstract works that articulate identity, personhood and presence through slight or cumulative marks, color and materials.”

 

By exhibiting art by LGBT+ artists, Clifford Chance is able to embrace diversity and foster a supportive, inclusive work environment.  Arcus Allies, the LGBT+ network group, has been expanding its Gay Pride Month programming over the years. While the parallel exhibits of Marks of Resistance will be held in NYC and DC, there will also be works displayed in nine other offices: Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Perth, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo. Since 2016, they have increased the number of participating offices by two.

 

Marks of Resistance artists include: Nancy Brooks Brody, Antonius Bui, Heather Cox, Florence Derive, Edie Fake, Lola Flash, Adrienne Gaither, Daniel Marcellus Givens, Eric Gyamfi, Lenn Keller, Wayne Koestenbaum, Larry Mantello, Signe Olson, Allison Michael Orenstein, Mickalene Thomas and Conrad Ventur.

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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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pARTnership Movement on the Move!

Posted by Jessica Stern
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pARTnership Movement on the Move!

Jessica Stern, Private Sector Initiatives Program Manager, spent the day running a pARTnership workshop in Salt Lake City. Hosted by the Utah Cultural Alliance and the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, she spoke to business and cultural leaders on how arts and culture can offer businesses, through partnership, competitive edge.

 

With over 50 executive directors and marketing staff in the room, my aim was to communicate that arts and business partnerships can look like so much more than cash sponsorship. This can be frustrating for some, since so many cultural organizations are underfunded, and cash is badly needed. But as I expressed during my presentation, pARTnerships can exist in as many ways as there are creative ideas, and as arts and culture leaders, we need inspiration and a little courage to make them happen.

 

The pARTnership Movement offers language, resources and stories to help arts leaders ‘speak business,’ while illustrating to the business community why they should support the arts; and how they can support the arts in a myriad of ways in addition to cash support. Our primary vehicle for this illustration is via the 8 Reasons to Support the Arts. In our workshops we encourage participants to think of all the ways their arts practice aligns with each of the 8 reasons. In assessing the strength of the things leaders already do, we can connect the dots using the 8 reasons and other tools available on the pARTnership Movement site, to create new ideas and identify potential new business with whom we’d like to partner.

 

These in-person workshops are available to travel to your community, and we relish the opportunity to work directly with arts leaders across the country to strengthen relationships between business and the arts. Please be in touch with our team if you are interested in hosting one of these workshops.

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Sing for Hope Pianos

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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Sing for Hope Pianos

Sing for Hope, the nation’s largest recurring public art project, is launching the 2018 Sing for Hope Pianos on Monday, June 4. In partnership with Fosun, a 2018 BCA 10 winner, all 51 pianos will be on display at 28 Liberty Plaza (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza).

 

The pianos are created through the Fosun Artist in Residency program and are then placed around the five boroughs throughout the summer. Come fall, the pianos will be donated to public schools.

 

This year, there will be a roving piano, in partnership with MINI USA. Together, they will create a custom MINI Countryman, also known as the #MINIPiano. This car will be modified as the 51st piano that will be #DrivingHope throughout the city.

 

Be on the lookout for pianos across the boroughs! Check out the artists and map here.

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A Good Laugh for a Good Cause

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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A Good Laugh for a Good Cause

Thursday, May 24 marks Red Nose Day, the annual fundraising campaign for children in need. After launching in the UK in 1988, the initiative made its way to the States, where it has raised over $100 million. Hosted by M&M’S, a Mars, Incorporated brand, this year’s Red Nose Day will feature a theatrical twist.

 

M&Ms is partnering with City Year Chicago and Chicago Academy High School to get students on stage. With facilitators from The Second City Works and Saturday Night Live’s Vanessa Bayer, teens were encouraged to tell their stories. On May 15, The Second City hosted “Step Up to the Mic: An Evening of Comedy with M&M’S In Support of Red Nose Day.”

 

Allison Miazga-Bedrick, Senior Brand Director, M&M'S Brand said, "Red Nose Day brings communities and cities together around the world through laughter, and we are thrilled to bring some of this colorful fun to Chicago."

 

On the national scale, there will be a special night of programming on NBC on May 24. The fourth annual “Red Nose Day Special,” hosted by Chris Hardwick will feature special celebrity editions of “American Ninja Warrior,” and “Hollywood Game Night.”

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The Arts are Integral to Business Success - Kohler Co.

Posted by Laura Kohler
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The Arts are Integral to Business Success - Kohler Co.

The following are excerpts from remarks by Kohler Company Senior Vice President
Laura Kohler at NASAA's Creative Industries Briefing:

 

Thank you for inviting Kohler Company to contribute to today’s discussion telling a story of the importance of art to this 144-year-old company, headquartered in Kohler, Wisconsin—one of the world’s strongest brands that employs over 35,000 people.

 

The arts are very important to me personally, as well as for Kohler Company. In fact, I am before you as a business executive with 25 years of experience who sits on the top team of a $6.5 billion company with an M.F.A., not an M.B.A. The value of the arts has been engrained in our company’s ethos, and we have been consistent advocates of elevating the importance of the arts in society through education, arts organizations and scholarships.

Art energizes our public spaces, emboldens our thinking, enriches our communities, and inspires pride and interaction with each other. It is a necessary inspiration in our busy world, and a symbol of our collective humanity—an unspoken means by which we can connect across cultures, geographies and generations.

As a company, we remain curious and adventurous and employ associates who have an unwavering appreciation for design and the arts, and a healthy appetite to explore and discover new technologies. We foster a collaborative environment where our leadership sets the tone and encourages all associates to be as imaginative and entrepreneurial as possible—from sketching an initial concept or penning a big idea, to testing a new product prototype or designing an amazing master bathroom suite.

A creative work force, particularly within a design-centric organization such as Kohler, is the backbone to drive product innovation and sustained business success.

Among our 35,000 associates across six continents, we invest heavily in promoting innovation and problem solving, through a cross-cultural and cross-functional team approach—whether it be designing a better process or developing a new way of working in this fast-paced, ever-changing world.

Art and innovation also permeate our efforts in sustainability and social impact. At Kohler, we Believe In Better, because business success doesn’t matter much if we can’t say we left the world a better place than we found it.

 

The Waste Lab originated at one of our Innovation For Good workshops—an annual convergence where our associates incubate new ideas for social impact products. In this instance, a team comprised mostly of artists and designers brainstormed methods to refine production processes, minimize industrial waste, and reuse waste where possible.

Since 2010, as a company, we have reduced the amount of production waste sent to landfills by 46%, and the Waste Lab team working out of a dedicated space in our enamel shop is trying to find ways to decrease it further. In doing so, they are turning pottery cull, foundry sand and other waste products into beautiful ceramic tiles—a poignant example of how associates are applying creative thinking to waste while designing artistic new products.

 

Taking inspiration from that goal, our Arts/Industry program was founded in 1974 as a partnership between the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and Kohler Company. It has endured as a unique collaboration between artists and industry in the United States—one that has brought us significant recognition, but more importantly, has brought to the world some beautiful pieces of art that otherwise would never have happened. Over 600 emerging and established artists from around the world have benefitted from this program and have left their mark.

 

There is no other artist residency program where artists’ studios are located right on the production floor of a manufacturing facility, such as our cast iron foundry or pottery. Artists are introduced to bulk materials, such as slip-cast clay and cast metal, and techniques that give them a new way of thinking and working creatively.

One of the most important aspects of Arts/Industry are relationships that develop between the artists in residence and our production associates. Artists in residence value the expertise and experience of these associates, and the associates in turn are engaged in helping the artists solve creative problems. Associates have remarked that working with these artists has helped them think more creatively about their own work to push the limits of materials, processes, colors and sizes.

 

Communities rich in arts and culture attract people because of their quality of life, character, and opportunities for participation and investment. Art fosters vibrant communities and allows them to create and sustain social networks, and to establish their identities outside of traditional demographics. Art allows people to learn valuable skills—across all walks of life—and to participate in nontraditional, creative outlets.

And as I have described today, the arts also play a vital role in sustaining and growing successful businesses, by inspiring creative problem solving and successful innovation for consumers.

 

I appeal to you to take a step back and both recognize and appreciate what the arts and creative industries offer in terms of elevating the American economy, as well as fostering exploration and innovation that lead to better solutions. Let’s come together—private sector, education, government and nonprofit—and ensure that the arts remain relevant and respected today and for future generations. That requires an investment—collectively—of our time, our expertise, our passion and our financial support.

 

This speech was given at NASAA's Creative Industries Briefing on April 17, 2018 at the U.S. Capitol. To view the full speech, click here. For the full transcript, click here.

Kohler won a BCA 10 Hall of Fame winner in 2011.

 

Kohler Co. was featuring in a pARTnership Movemeny Essay on Fostering Critical Thinking.

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