Arts and business news from around the country.


Top 10 States for Arts and Business Arts Partnerships

Posted by Mariama Holman

Americans for the Arts has been honoring businesses that uniquely partner with arts organizations within their communities over the last decade through the annual BCA10 awards, receiving nominees of both large, small and mid-sized companies across a dozens of industries and over 47 states.


We are taking a moment to call attention to the top 10 states that have celebrated business and arts partnerships by number of BCA10 nominees from 2005 to 2017, with pro-arts quotes from iconic awardees from the respective cities.  


1.     New York


Time Warner Inc., New York,

At the announcement of Time Warner’s recognition in the BCA Hall of Fame Award for the 2007 BCA10 gala, Richard Parsons, then CEO and Chairman stated that, “Creativity is as important to the communities we serve as it is to the businesses we run. That’s why we’re committed to supporting the arts. By giving young people a chance to develop their talents and interests through media and arts programs, enabling more people to experience world-class theater, and nurturing diverse new artists and new works, we strive to help keep the arts rich and accessible.”



2.     California

Wells Fargo, San Francisco, CA

Richard M. Kovacevich, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wells Fargo & Company went on record during their 2005 BCA10 awardee announcement saying that “the arts make communities great places to live, work and play. Supporting the arts is simply the right thing to do.”



3.     Texas

American Airlines, Dallas, TX

Bella Goren, American’s Vice President of Interactive Marketing and Reservations at Americans for the Arts as well as a member of the board of North Texas Business for Culture and the Arts, accepted the 2005 BCA10 award in New York on the company’s behalf. “American and our people have a long-standing record of supporting the arts and enhancing what the arts bring to our communities,” said Goren afterward. “Hundreds of American and American Eagle employees volunteer in many positions and capacities in local and national arts organizations, and this commitment has been ongoing.  We’re proud of them, and grateful for their contributions.”



4.     Florida

Bacardi North America, Coral Gables, FL


According to Robert Furniss-Roe, the former Regional President of Bacardi North America, “Supporting the arts within the cities and towns where we live and work is our way of giving back at Bacardi, and this sense of corporate responsibility has been at our foundation since the Bacardi company was created more than 150 years ago. Arts programming enriches the lives of our employees and their families, our neighbors, and our business partners. The realm of the arts cross borders and languages to bring all people together in the name of beauty, knowledge and community.”



5.     Pennsylvania

PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA


“The arts can bring a community to life and influence its economic development. That is why PNC has long supported creative programs and initiatives that make the arts more accessible to our employees and everyone we serve,” said James E. Rohr, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.



6.     Missouri

Hallmark Cards, Inc., Kansas City, MO

“Hallmark’s mission is to inspire meaningful connections, which enhance relationships and enrich lives. We feel the arts are central to this purpose,” said Donald Hall, Jr., President and CEO of Hallmark Cards, Inc during the 2014 BCA10 awards at the Central Park Boathouse in New York.



7.     Wisconsin

Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, WI

At the 2013 BCA10 announcement, John E. Schlifske, Chairman, President and CEO of Northwestern Mutual, stated that “Northwestern Mutual believes in the long-term benefits of sponsoring arts in the community. The arts inspire us to think differently and use new skills in all kinds of work. Our Foundation takes great pride in fostering and supporting an arts scene that not only provides entertainment, but also economic growth.”



8.   Tennessee

HCA Healthcare, Nashville, TN

"The arts nourish the spirit, challenge the mind, bring joy to the soul and enhance our communities. HCA's support of the arts is consistent with our mission to improve the quality of human life,” said Jack O. Bovender, Jr., Chairman and CEO of HCA in light of the company’s recognition for the 2006 BCA10 award.



9.   Illinois

Deere & Company, Moline, IL

"Support of the arts is integral to Deere's long-standing commitment to our communities,” said Robert W. Lane, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of  Deere & Company. “We are pleased to make major contributions to the arts that enhance the quality of life.”



10.  Ohio

Proctor & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH

“Every day at P&G we strive to improve people’s lives with our brands and products, as well as improve the communities where we live and work. Supporting the arts produces ripple effects of benefits that help communities thrive and make them great places to live,” said Proctor & Gamble CEO, David Taylor upon the 2016 BCA10 announcement.


Zipcar-Philadelphia Transports Mobile Murals

Posted by Chris Zheng

Everyone wants a car that turns heads when it drives by, so why not drive an actual work of art? For the third year in a row, Zipcar has partnered with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program to celebrate the arts, raise money, and promote the services it offers by wrapping a car in a beautiful mural for Zipcar members to drive.


Each year during its Mural Arts Month, the car share and car service company selects an artist to cover one of their cars in an intricate mural. This year, outdoor abstract artist MOMO worked with the Arts Education Department at Mural Arts to create the work “Practical Geometry” on a VW Golf. For every hour the car is reserved, Zipcar will donate one dollar to the Mural Arts Program.


Zipcar-Philadelphia Marketing Manager Kristina Matthews captures the company’s commitment to the arts: “Whenever we discuss Zipcar-Philadelphia with our counterparts, the art that lives and breathes in the city is one of the first topics that is raised. Everybody knows Philadelphia for the beautiful murals that surround the city, and we are thrilled to say that we partner with Mural Arts.”


This partnership demonstrates Zipcar’s commitment to enriching the communities in which it operates and supporting the vibrant culture of public art. With beautiful murals now zipping through the city, it is truly a mobile masterpiece. 


Q and A: BNY Mellon Jazz and the Community

Posted by Emily Peck
Q and A: BNY Mellon Jazz and the Community

An interview with Stephanie Babich Mihleder, Global Citizenship and Sustainability, BNY Mellon


Americans for the Arts is proud to present an interview with Stephanie Babich Mihleder, Global Citizenship and Sustainability for BNY Mellon. BNY Mellon was named a BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree in 2015.


Q) Can you give us an overview of BNY Mellon’s arts support?


Over the course of its more than 230 year history, our company has supported and worked with many leading art and cultural institutions around the world. BNY Mellon’s support of the arts is an extension of the company's rich cultural heritage. In 2015, our company provided more than $2 million in corporate grants and sponsorships to support the arts.  


BNY Mellon's art collection serves to enhance the workplace, stimulate creativity and reinforce the company's longstanding support for the arts. Through an active loan program with museums and galleries across the world, the collection creates positive visibility and strategic opportunities to connect with clients and employees.  


The company matches donations for arts organizations at 50 percent with a cap of $10,000 for all eligible charities. Employees also receive matching donations for their volunteer time and paid time off to volunteer for eligible charities, including arts organizations. 


There are numerous art related programs for employees, including occasional workplace performances.


Q) How did the jazz program first come about at BNY Mellon?


Pittsburgh has had a huge influence on the jazz world and is one of the foremost cities for developing jazz artists. Many of the jazz greats were from Pittsburgh and, due to the rich jazz culture, Pittsburgh had a thriving jazz scene and was always a tour stop for performers. BNY Mellon has always had a major focus on the arts, and so BNY Mellon Jazz was created in the Pittsburgh region to give back to the community.


Q) How has the program evolved over the years?


This year (2016) BNY Mellon Jazz celebrates its 30th year in Pittsburgh. Throughout that time, numerous local nonprofits have received support from this initiative and thousands of artists have played under its banner, including Tony Bennett, George Benson, Diana Krall, and Al Jarreau. By partnering with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions, BNY Mellon Jazz underwrites jazz concerts and concert series, CDs, educational initiatives, and scholarships. This year-round focus provides cultural and educational institutions with exceptional opportunities to offer the best in jazz artistry under the BNY Mellon Jazz brand.  BNY Mellon Jazz started with a Festival for the Pittsburgh community that has transitioned over time to a robust program where presently 13 different organizations are involved.


Q) What are some of the organizations you partner with on your jazz programs?


The 13 organizations we work with are very diverse. For example, we work with the University of Pittsburgh facilitating an annual scholarship for a jazz student. We work with organizations like Citiparks and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust who facilitate community jazz shows. We are the title sponsor of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s JazzLive. This program has a weekly jazz show in the downtown area that is free to the public. We partner with Manchester Craftmen’s Guild for the MCG Jazz series at their concert hall. They are the most popular jazz subscription series in the United States and bring high caliber performers to the Pittsburgh area. We have also partnered with the Grammy Award winning MCG production team to produce CDs. One of the most interesting organizations we have worked with is City of Asylum. This organization provides sanctuary to endangered artists. Each year they organize a jazz poetry concert that showcases these artists’ talents and stories.  Every year seems to bring something new as there are always new opportunities. For example, in 2014 we worked with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to be the title sponsor of a Tony Bennett performance.


Q) Did your partners approach you first or did you find them?


Most of our partners approached us with sponsorship requests.


Q) How does the jazz program help BNY Mellon to put your company in the spotlight?


Supporting the arts creates positive visibility for the company’s brand and demonstrates goodwill in the communities where BNY Mellon operates. Many of our sponsorship benefits include tickets to performances or special events that we can use for client-entertainment.


Q) What do you love about BNY Mellon’s jazz program?


People in Pittsburgh are extremely passionate about jazz and I am proud to be part of an organization that brings so many jazz related opportunities to the community. My personal favorite is all of the free concerts that we sponsor. Anyone can partake in those and they are spread all throughout the city.


Photo: Sean Jones plays at a JazzLive show, a free year-round weekly concert for the Pittsburgh community sponsored by BNY Mellon in partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.


Programs by Design

Posted by Kate Reese
Programs by Design

Here at the pARTnership Movement, we talk a lot about how experience in the arts fosters creativity, problem solving skills, and strategic thinking. In Philadelphia, an industrial designer-turned-executive is living this truth, as covered in a recent article on


Karin Copeland says her attention to product design fostered her aptitude for program design in her current role as Executive Director at the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC). When she first started the job, she noticed a handful of improvement areas and set to work sculpting programs the same way one might sculpt clay.


When she arrived at the organization, its reputation hinged largely on an annual luncheon that gathers more than 1400 each year. While the event drew crowds, Copeland saw an opportunity for expansion and “wanted ABC to be recognized as a source of valuable programs of mutual benefit to the business and arts communities.”


Since then, Copeland has tripled participation in existing programs such as Business on Board, which educates professionals about good nonprofit arts board behavior like fundraising. The Kennet Symphony orchestra is one example of success – it’s gained two engaged board members through participation in the program.


Among the new programs Copeland’s vision has brought to fruition is a speaker series that routinely sells out; notable professionals such as Malcolm Gladwell and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg rank among past speakers.


ABC has also launched a program called Designing Leadership, which partners with IBM and The Wharton School of Business to provide executive development for arts, culture, and creatives sectors.


Through these new strategic initiatives, the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia has expanded reach and demonstrated the ultimate value arts can have for business community. At the helm, Karin Copeland is perfect example of how exposure to the arts enables entrepreneurs to envision change, take a leap and bring lofty ideas to fruition.


Arts Groups Make Strong Chamber Allies

Posted by Stacy Lasner

Across the country, Chambers of Commerce and arts organizations are partnering to advance business and community goals. In a recent article in Chamber Executive, the membership magazine for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Americans for the Arts' Vice President of Private Sector Initiatives Emily Peck and Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC Philadelphia) Executive Director Karin Copeland discuss the unique partnership between arts organizations and Chambers of Commerce.


"In 1981, ABC Philadelphia was started by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the National Arts & Business Council (now part of Americans for the Arts), and housed within the chamber.


The Greater Philadelphia Chamber and the national Arts & Business Council realized that this entity would be a valuable tool in leveraging new funds, funneling new resources, and  cultivating new leadership from the business community to support nonprofit arts and cultural institutions in the Greater Philadelphia area. ABC Philadelphia is the only local arts agency in the U.S. that is directly affiliated with a chamber, and for 35 years this partnership has led to unique and important work in advancing both the arts and business sectors."


Read more (p21).


The article also spotlights a partnership between ArtsinStark, Canton, Ohio's local arts agency, and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, which partnered on the creation of the Canton Arts District, "the Best Arts District in Ohio."


Learn more about the relationship between ABC Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.


Do you know of another great Arts-Chamber partnership? Tell us on Twitter using #ArtsandBiz or email us at


Shake Shack Reaches New Heights in Center City

Posted by Brooke LaRue
Shake Shack Reaches New Heights in Center City

At Americans for the Arts, we know that public art instills meaning—a greater sense of identity and understanding of where we live, work, and visit—creating memorable experiences for all. Throughout the United States, businesses are participating in public art projects as a way to partner with the whole city.


Philadelphia’s Center City Shake Shack and the city’s Mural Arts program joined forces in summer 2014 to bring a large public mural to the previously blank wall above the restaurant. Mural Arts has been the official charity partner of the Shake Shack location since it opened three years ago, with 5 percent of the sale of the Center City Pretzel frozen custard concrete going to Mural Arts, but through this project, the partnership reached new heights.


David Guinn, a Philadelphia based artist, was commissioned to create the mural entitled Summer Rendezvous, which depicts a colorful green-space featuring a young boy on a ladder handing an ice cream cone to a girl in a window. Guinn drew inspiration from the original wall of greenery that surrounded the location during Shake Shack’s construction and the plants that grow on the restaurant’s roof. Shake Shack’s press release states, “Reinforced by the plantings that decorate the roof year-round, the mural presents a fantasy of plants growing up the building wall, framing the whimsical encounter between the children.”


According to Mural Arts’ website, the organization “was first established in 1984 as part of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network’s effort to eradicate the city’s graffiti crisis. Artist Jane Golden was hired to reach out to graffiti writers and redirect their energies to constructive public art projects. In addition to addressing the problem of graffiti, Mural Arts’ collective mural-making processes proved to be a powerful tool for generating dialogue, building relationships, empowering communities, and sparking economic revitalization.”


Shake Shack’s arts and business partnership brought community members together. Philadelphians were invited to take part in a public paint day to help create this new must-see destination in the city, and a public dedication ceremony was held in December.


Is there a local business that helped bring public art to your community? We want to hear from you. Share your story by email or by using #ArtsandBiz on Twitter.


Learn more about public art throughout the United States.


The Creative Economy: How a Chamber of Commerce and Arts & Business Council Are Changing the Conversation

Posted by Stacy Lasner

In a recent ARTSblog post, Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, explained how the Chamber partners with the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (A&BC) to facilitate the continued growth of the region by breaking down the barriers that separate “arts” from “businesses.”


A&BC supports the business aspect of the arts community through volunteer consulting projects, board governance, leadership development programs, and pro bono legal services. The Chamber seeks to influence business-friendly legislation, participates in initiatives to improve education and the community, promotes professional enrichment programs, and provides members with cost-efficient ways to run their businesses. Together they help foster a vibrant cultural community that people want to work in and visit.


Learn how A&BC has provided Chamber members with opportunities to develop their skills through the arts and how, by combining their efforts, they provide business, technology, and legal professionals the opportunity to apply their skills to challenges in Greater Philadelphia’s creative sector.


PECO Puts Its Energy into the Arts and Culture

Posted by Stacy Lasner

When businesses partner with the arts, they partner with the whole city. As Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility company, PECO, based in Philadelphia, has a long-standing commitment to arts and culture. In fact, the company invests more than $1 million in the performing and visual arts in the Greater Philadelphia region each year. For this tremendous dedication to the arts, PECO was recognized as a BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America honoree in 2014.


“At PECO, we celebrate the arts, and the major role they play in human development and economic impact in the Greater Philadelphia area,” said Craig Adams, president and CEO.” Every day, we put our energy into organizations and programs that make the arts more accessible to a wider audience.”


Through PECO-sponsored programs, people of all ages and backgrounds have an opportunity to enjoy and experience the arts throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. PECO is a longtime sponsor of arts events such as Philadelphia’s Free First Sundays at The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and various free summer concert series in the suburban six-county area. They also support many renowned arts organizations, including Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Orchestra, Mann Center for Performing Arts and People’s Light and Theater Company.


In 2015, the company is proud to sponsor exhibitions like “Horace Pippin” The Way I See It” at the Brandywine River Museum. This exhibit showcases the work of one of the most prolific American artists of the 20th century. PECO also helped bring hundreds of Mongolian artifacts to Philadelphia by sponsoring “Genghis Khan: Bring the Legend to Life” at The Franklin Institute.


PECO also celebrates arts and diversity year round through the PECO Multicultural Series at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. With festivals devoted to Hispanic, Southeast Asian, African-American culture and more, the PECO Multicultural Series reflects the great diversity of the customers and communities PECO serves.


Thanks to PECO's support, an exhibit of the acclaimed American Hands photo project by Sally Wiener Grotta will be on display at the Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, through June 15. Learn more.


PECO Supports a Multicultural Philadelphia

Posted by Kellyn Lopes

This Sunday, September 21, marks the final day of the PECO Multicultural Series at Penn’s Landing, sponsored by 2014 BCA 10 honoree PECO. The series of festivals is a celebration of the cultural diversity in Philadelphia, offering free family-friendly activities and an opportunity to experience the sights, tastes and sounds of a variety of cultures, including Indian, Italian, Islamic, Irish, Hispanic, German, Mexican, African American and Caribbean. (Image courtesy of PECO.)


On Sunday, the 2014 series will conclude with Brazilian Day Philadelphia, showcasing music and dance performances such as Samba, Forro, Pagode, Capoeira, and Samba-Reggae, as well as a rich variety of authentic Brazilian foods. In collaboration with local schools and artists, the festival will offer activities for children, such as kite-making, face painting, carnival masks, flags and crafts.


The PECO Multicultural Festival began this year on Sunday, May 18th with the Israel 66, featuring Israel’s legendary singer and songwriter David Broza. Throughout the summer, eleven festivals total took place, serving hundreds of artists, vendors, and visitors. PECO has sponsored the PECO Multicultural Festival since 1995 and remains an enthusiastic supporter of events and activities that promote diversity and community engagement. 


PECO is a company at the forefront of introducing new programs that promote cultural exchange and build a vibrant community for its employees and customers. By supporting arts and culture, PECO serves as a model of a socially responsible company and an active participant in its constituents’ lives.


For more information on PECO's support of arts and culture, visit


Business and the arts: Why they need each other

Posted by Karin Copeland

The goals of the arts, culture and creative sectors are often viewed as separate from or counter to those of the business community. The Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia is working hard to change this perception and build a wide, two-way bridge between these communities by creating awareness around the impact of creativity in the workplace and the contributions of arts and culture to a thriving economy.


The creative sector fuels exciting, vibrant lifestyles for citizens in the Philadelphia region; and the colorful, intriguing cultural life of Philadelphia drives people to move into the city, building a stronger hiring pool. Likewise, the business communities feed critical experience and resources into the lives of artists and art-making institutions. This is why the Arts & Business Council envisions a vibrant creative sector with strong leadership — in terms of professional staff and volunteer board leaders — and a cultural scene that continues to be one of our region’s greatest assets. Through our capacity-building services, we work every day to strengthen a creative sector that is already valued for how it enriches the quality of life in our region, the jobs it creates, the visitors it attracts, and the impact is has on our children. And we champion the cause of a creative sector that has the support of audiences, businesses, donors, volunteers and government agencies.


According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year — $63.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences across the nation. According to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s 2012 report, Southeastern Pennsylvania’s cultural organizations and their audiences have a combined impact of $3.3 billion on the region’s economy. With such a massive amount of revenue generated by arts and culture; more attention should be paid to future planning in these sectors. The benefits of strong artistic sectors stretch beyond revenue, as recent studies from Greater Good show that involvement in the arts helps increase critical and creative thinking. Cities that have implemented creative sector plans have seen an increase in growth and support, including support from the private sector, according to research by the city of Chicago.


Creating a unified plan toward arts, cultural and creative economy improvement for our region would not only benefit the arts communities—it would improve local business and economy as well. Programs such as the pARTnership movement, an initiative of Americans for the Arts, support the partnering of the arts and business communities to promote strength between two differing groups. The pARTnership movement points out that when the arts prosper in a community, the citizens of that community prosper as well. Notably, employers look for creative individuals who can approach problems in different ways and employees are more likely to work in areas where the arts and culture thrive.


Our vision is to keep working toward a time when this unified plan can be realized by continuing our work to unite the arts and business sectors in the Greater Philadelphia through shared experiences and resources; creating a solid foundation for the future of the creative economy in Philadelphia. We’ve been doing this for more than 30 years through skills-based volunteer programs that have delivered high-impact management and technology consulting projects—Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) and Technology Connectors; through the region’s most comprehensive nonprofit board-training program for business and legal professionals—Business On Board; and through the pro bono legal services delivered to arts groups and individual artists through Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. We know from experience that great things happen when arts and business people get together—problems are solved, eyes are opened, long-lasting relationships are forged:


  • Ask Andrew Kurtz, General & Artistic Director of Center City Opera Theater, how much his organization has benefited from the wisdom of BVA Volunteer and recently retired business executive Dorien Smithsonin rethinking his organization’s business model. Or ask Dorien, already an opera-goer, how much she enjoys flexing her business muscles in a whole new setting, knowing she’s having a positive impact on an arts group whose work she appreciates.
  • Ask Christine Cox, Co-Artistic Director of BalletX, how much she values the addition of a professional CPA to her board, someone who took the time to learn what board service means and has quickly stepped up to a leadership role as board treasurer. Or ask 2013 Business On Board graduate Frances Sperling Feldbaum, Principal at St. Clair CPA Solutions, what a great time her clients and business associates had when she hosted them at a BalletX dress rehearsal last month.
  • Ask Ricardo Torres, Senior Manager with North Highland, Technology Connectors volunteer and amateur photographer, how inspiring it was to work on behalf of one of our region’s premier visual arts organizations, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Or ask Executive Director Jane Goldenhow much it mattered to have Ric working with her staff to help them with a new constituent database, guiding the needs assessment, RFP process, vendor bidding and contract negotiations.
  • Ask BVA Volunteer Mindy Mazer, Senior Manager of Corporate Staffing at Ametek, how much fun she has had readings books to children at Mighty Writers. Or ask Executive Director Tim Whitakerwhat it meant to his young organization to have someone with Mindy’s skills help them formalize employee policies and procedures. Someone who believes so much in the work of the organization that she recently joined its board.
  • Ask PVLA Volunteer Hans Smith, Intellectual Property Associate at BakerHostetler, how satisfying it was to defend local photographer Harry Saffren in a fair use dispute with a national media company. Or ask Saffren about the “above and beyond” impact that Smith had on Saffren’s ability to sort out his artistic rights and responsibilities in a nebulous area of law and move forward with his career.


Recently, we’ve been taking steps to engage even more arts and business professionals in conversations that have the potential to strengthen our region’s creative economy. We’ve added speaker forums and other special events that underscore themes of creativity and innovation, this year we’re hosting top TED speakers like Simon Sinekand Dan Pallottaand iconic media leaders like Arianna Huffington. These events often blur the lines between what has traditionally been considered arts or business thinking. This spring we will launch Designing Leadership, a professional development program, in partnership with IBM and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, for emerging leaders from both the nonprofit and for-profit creative communities. We believe programs like these — and the conversations they engender – are essential to the success of our region as a whole.


(This article was originally posted at the Philadelphia Business Journal.)


*This article was posted on ARTSblog.


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