News

Arts and business news from around the country.

RSS

David Rockefeller pARTnership Award: Square + Cheyenne River Youth Project

Posted by Danielle Iwata
0 Comments
David Rockefeller pARTnership Award: Square + Cheyenne River Youth Project

Square and Cheyenne River Youth Project will receive the David Rockefeller pARTnership Award at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA 10.

 

"Our hope with the project, “Lakota in America,” is to shed some light on an organization that is providing young people access to fundamental tools that create opportunity for a vibrant and more secure future. Access is not purely a means of generating financial wealth. The program places strong emphasis on the value of cultural wealth through art in an apprenticeship model. By honoring heritage, CRYP is empowering the next generation of Lakota and fostering a collective sense of self-worth among the youth."

– Kevin Burke, CMO, Square

 

“We’re deeply grateful to Square for commissioning the ‘Lakota in America’ film project, and for working so closely with us to help raise awareness and generate support for Cheyenne River’s young people. They showed us so much respect, and they honored us by giving us the opportunity to tell our own story.”

– Julie Garreau, Executive Director, Cheyenne River Youth Project

 

Square, Inc., the payment and financial services company led by CEO Jack Dorsey, has changed the way businesses process transactions. Square products have become commonplace in many American businesses as point of sale hardware and software help businesses grow through managing inventory, locations, and employees—as well as providing access to financing, invoicing, appointments, and more.

 

Armed with an essential understanding of corporate responsibility and funding to make a difference, Square has been partnering with various organizations that aim to empower the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2017, Square launched a film series, “For Every Kind of Dream,” which highlighted the stories of small businesses that are working towards success. Thus far, the company has shared four stories: “Yassin Falafel,” “Made in Iowa,” “Sister Hearts,” and “Lakota in America.” The latter focuses on Genevieve Iron Lighting in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, and her participation in the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP), a nonprofit on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation that provide youth and family services to its community.

 

 

Courtesy of Square

 

After years of discrimination and prejudiced policies against American Indians, Cheyenne River community members continue to be greatly impacted by poverty and unemployment.CRYP, founded by Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member Julie Garreau, intends to empower the next generation of community members while instilling a sense of pride in Lakota culture. Through its innovative teen internships in social enterprise, native food sovereignty, indigenous cooking, wellness and the arts, Cheyenne River teens learn critical job and life skills while also embracing Lakota culture and values. According to Garreau, “[The more] viable economic skills to go along with an appreciation for their powerful heritage [young people have], the better the odds are that this generation of young people will be able to pull the whole tribe up.”

 

Through economic and cultural empowerment, these teens are prepared to make a difference in both their own lives and in their community.  Due to her participation in CRYP’s teen internship program, Genevieve Iron Lighting was hired for her first job in the organization’s Keya Cafe (where they use Square) and continues to perform traditional Lakota dance. “I just feel like when I dance I can help keep my culture alive; I feel like I’m in touch with my ancestors and the past generations,” she explained.

 

In 2016, CRYP announced the opening of its Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute. The Eagle Butte campus offers dance and art studios, regular classes and workshops with guest and local artists, and the public Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park, which features an outdoor stage. CRYP also hosts the annual RedCan invitational graffiti jam, a celebration of both graffiti and Lakota culture. This groundbreaking event has received the Robert E. Gard Award, which is presented by Americans for the Arts to programs that are working at the intersection of arts and community life.

 

By collaborating with organizations such as CRYP, Square is able to share meaningful stories of the dreams of business owners across America. Square is using its platform to to spread awareness for the arts and to foster economic empowerment.

Related

Bridging the Gap Between Art and Business

Posted by Ajaz Ahmed
0 Comments

Successful collaborations between brands and artists are possible, once outdated preconceptions are overcome.

 

The poetry of ancient Persia is full of bridges. In the works of Rumi and others, metaphors are the bridges of art, in the sense that they unite two seemingly irreconcilable things. They give people a route to make sense of an alien world or concept by relating it to something familiar. They illuminate by association: here is how this world connects directly to that other, seemingly isolated world. Bridges also represent journeys between states of being, rather than just a means of get from A to B. For example, the Persian belief that people in the west are perhaps too far over on the prose side of the bridge, while the east is too drawn to the poetry side. If only we could meet in the middle, we might find a perfect balance of mind and body, of calculation and creativity.

 

That idea of two cultures stuck at either ends of the same bridges could be applied to art and business today. They need each other, despite their apparent differences; they are concerned with many of the same things, but that is obscured by their mutual suspicion. Perhaps a bit more metaphor and magic would be a start in changing this state of affairs. If arts practitioners and brands had the same big, captivating idea to focus on, cultural differences would be pushed to the side and more worthwhile collaborations would surely result.

 

Today’s most obvious examples of art and business overlap admirably, but they also thrive because of an uncomplicated fit between the audience for the brand and the artwork. Burberry and British music groups get mutual leverage through a shared sense of national style and sexy chic. Fashion labels from Cos to Cartier sponsor contemporary artists and art events because they all tap into a certain demographic’s sense of culture and credibility. Alcoholic beverage brands do the same. For the audience, it’s a circle that reaffirms your sense of taste and refinement. For the brand, it’s a bit of borrowed aura and credible press. For the artist, it’s a source of revenue for licensing their authentic personality and the right kind of exposure in a market where buzz is vital to value. (Photo credit: Where art and business overlap—Burberry’s collaboration with artists adds to the credibility of the brand. Photo courtesy of Felix Clay.)

 

Go beyond that kind of easy connection (which is really just an update of old-fashioned patronage) and it inevitably gets more complicated. As we know, business is about clarity and measurability, but art loves mystery and multiple interpretations. Artists cherish the right to free speech, but businesses seen to endorse an even mildly controversial message can be ruined by customer rage in the age of Twitter.

 

So it would take trust between a good artist and a good business, both fiercely protective and careful about their image, to embrace the potential risks on both sides and allow something really impressive to happen. But we could all start by ditching some of our preconceptions and being a bit more honest about how art and business are both about the discipline to execute impressive work, the need to engage people and the requirement to bring enough revenue to keep making things happen.

 

A few years ago, a major gallery director gave a short speech at a press launch of a new exhibition about cities. In it, he pleaded with the journalists to put the name of the show’s sponsor, a major building company, in their reviews. Many grumbled: if the sponsor was so vital, why didn’t they embrace the fact and incorporate its name into the title of the show, like modern football stadiums, instead of palming off the task to a third party?

 

More fruitful interchanges between the arts and businesses would be less likely to start with strategies and procedures than with conversations. Not everybody’s people talking to everybody’s people, but artists and their agents talking directly to brands and agencies about what they care about, what makes them cringe, what excites them, how they could use new technologies and respective resources to engage with audiences in new ways (and perhaps involve them better in the creative process).

 

If brand and artist know what they stand for, they should be able to find some common ground. Having the humility to know what you’re not cut out for, and the strength to focus on what you do well; to adapt and incorporate outside expertise to enable you to make your dreams reality: these are the ways human achievement has always come about. Art and entrepreneurialism are two expressions of one shared desire: to leave the world a little different than you found it.

 

(This post, originally published on TheGuardian.com, is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Visit our website to find out how both businesses and local arts agencies can get involved!)

Related

Already a partner?

Already a partner?

Learn easy ways to take your partnership to a new level.

Use our ads locally

Use our ads locally

View The pARTnership Movement ad campaign and find ways to use the ads.

pARTnership videos

pARTnership videos

Watch and share our videos from The pARTnership Movement.

Partnership ideas

Partnership ideas

Inspire employees with tickets to the ballet or a concert.

Are you an arts group?

Are you an arts group?

Get listed in our searchable directory.

Recruit talent

Recruit talent

Employees want to live and work in a vibrant community.