Arts and business news from around the country.


BCA 10 Spotlight: Phillips 66 (Houston, TX)

Posted by Danielle Iwata
BCA 10 Spotlight: Phillips 66 (Houston, TX)

“As a company committed to improving lives, Phillips 66 is proud to support the arts. Our communities are enriched by the arts, precisely because art touches and changes lives in ways that are positive and profound. It’s one important way we can make a difference in the places where our employees live and work.”

-Greg Garland, Chairman and CEO, Phillips 66


Phillips 66 debuted in 2012 as an independent energy company after a split from ConocoPhillips. Since then, the company has prioritized the arts as a part of its commitment to enriching the civic life of the communities in which it operates. Phillips 66 recognizes that the arts are a way to bring communities together, engage employees, and support youth.

Americans for the Arts is excited to honor Phillips 66 at the BCA 10 Gala on October 2, 2018 in New York City. Click here to learn more about the BCA 10.


The company is present in its community through its support of arts and cultural events. Phillips 66 has been one of the Houston Symphony’s leading corporate donors for the past four years, by supporting the Houston Symphony Ball and programs such as Film With Live Orchestra performances. The organization is also a presenting sponsor of free performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre by Stages Repertory Theatre and the Society for the Performing Arts. 


Houston Symphony Ball, sponsored by Phillips 66; photo courtesy of Phillips 66


Internally, Phillips 66 understands the value of the arts and volunteer work when it comes to engaging its own employees. The company encourages their employees to volunteer at various organizations by offering up to two days of company-paid volunteer time. In addition to matching gifts to charities of up to $15,000, the company also donates $500 for every 20 hours an employee spends volunteering.


Last year, all Phillips 66 employees were invited to an orchestra performance by the Houston Symphony, led by Associate Conductor Robert Franz. Tickets to other performances were used as an incentive for participation in the company’s United Way Campaign, a charity dedicated to creating long-lasting community change. Phillips 66 also engages with employees’ children by hosting an art contest each year. Entrants create artwork that depicts something safety-related, and the winners are selected for Phillips 66’s annual Life Saving Rules Calendar.


Phillips 66 is also dedicated to increasing youth’s access to the arts. The company and its employees facilitated Camp Adventure!, a collaboration between the Houston Symphony and Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (BBHLF). Due to the support of Phillips 66, Camp Adventure! was able to offer free music classes facilitated by the Symphony’s Community Embedded Musicians and an Instrument Petting Zoo, where children learned about various musical instruments.


As part of Phillips 66’s partnership with the Children’s Museum of Houston, the company has commissioned artist Jack Strutz to create interactive social media campaigns to advance literacy through the arts. The company has also sponsored field trips to Theatre Under the Stars, a nonprofit musical theatre production company, as well as family-friendly performances by the Houston Grand Opera. In addition, Phillips 66 sponsors Mercury Baroque’s Neighborhood Series, which holds affordable neighborhood concerts throughout Houston.  Through these successful arts partnership, Phillips 66 is breathing new energy into its communities and reinforcing its commitment to improving lives.


Nominated by Houston Symphony


Serena Williams x Allstate Foundation Purple Purse

Posted by Danielle Iwata
Serena Williams x Allstate Foundation Purple Purse

Tennis all-star Serena Williams teamed up with Allstate Foundation Purple Purse and artists, including Isabel Castillo Guijarro to raise awareness about domestic violence. Together, they unveiled a street art campaign that will appear in six cities with six different murals.


Domestic violence, while remarkable common – affecting 1 in 4 women – is often overlooked. Allstate Foundation Purple Purse conducted a Public Opinion Survey, which revealed that “the most common form of domestic violence – financial abuse – remains difficult to detect and understand,” with 2/3 saying they “have not seen anything on financial abuse as a form of domestic abuse in the public forum.”


These murals are meant to be backdrops for photos, to be shared on social media. In the age of Instagram and other platforms, the stigma of social media continues to grow. By using shareable public art, Allstate Foundation and Serena Williams aim to shed new light onto this issue.


As reported in the press release, here are the locations of the murals:


  • New York City, Tictail Market, created by Isabel Castillo Guijarro
  • Houston, The Heights, created by Ana Marietta
  • New Orleans, Oak Street, created by Milagros Collective
  • Chicago, Wicker Park, created by Lauren Asta
  • Seattle, (week of Aug. 6) created by Ellen Picken
  • Los Angeles, (week of Aug. 13) created by Carolyn Suzuki


Photo: Mural by Isabel Castillo Guijarro


Shadowplay in the Streets of Austin

Posted by Danielle Iwata
Shadowplay in the Streets of Austin


When the sun went down and the street lights went on, city dwellers and tourists alike had the chance to dance in the shadows of Austin. From the end of February to mid-March, Shadowing Austin popped up in six locations throughout the city. This art installation allowed people to interact with others who had walked the same path. Thanks to infrared cameras and projectors strategically placed around town, shadows suddenly came alive.


For this project, the Playable City Austin, an initiative of the Cultural Arts Division in the City of Austin (CAD) reached out to Austin Energy (AE)—a 2016 BCA 10 Honoree— for their knowledge, technology, and support. Austin Energy, the community owned electric utility, was responsible for scouting locations, installing the fixtures, and maintaining them. CAD, AE and artist Jonathan Chomko collaborated throughout  Summer 2017 on installation plans, and Shadowing Austin launched in February 2018.


 “Austin values art in public places,” said Allen Small, Austin Energy Distribution Director. “It was great to partner with other city departments and the artists to help get this project up and running. It was fun to watch people interacting with each other and with the installations. This is the type of project that gets people talking to each other again, instead of just looking down at their phones.”


This type of collaboration speaks to the initial intent of the project. The artists Chomoko and Matthew Rosier developed this interactive installation (initially for the City of London) to promote community engagement. And it certainly has done so in Austin. CAD reports that during their installation, the Shadowing fixtures had nearly 100,000 interactions.



Photos courtesy of Austin Energy


2011 BCA Winning Law Firm, Baker Botts L.L.P., Says the Arts Are Essential

Posted by Mariama Holman
2011 BCA Winning Law Firm, Baker Botts L.L.P., Says the Arts Are Essential

A major supporter of the arts since the 19th century, Baker Botts, an international law firm, strives to be a good corporate citizen, helping arts organizations thrive and providing opportunities for its employees and clients to increase their exposure to all forms of art.


“Arts programs are essential to our communities,” said former Baker Botts Managing Partner Walt Smith upon the announcement of the 2011 BCA award. “We make it a priority to support these programs with volunteer time, board participation and financial contributions. We are truly honored that the BCA has chosen to recognize our commitment to the arts.”


Supporting arts organizations brings valuable perspectives, experiences, and talents to the firm which allows Baker Botts to be more creative, effective, and ultimately successful in the practice of law.


The Houston Grand Opera (HGO) nominated Baker Botts for The BCA 10 “because of its long-term commitment to supporting and bolstering a thriving arts community by supporting major art institutions as well as employee arts programming,” HGO officials stated in their nominating letter to the BCA.


Baker Botts provides extensive pro bono legal services and financial contributions to a variety of arts organizations, including Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, Alley Theatre, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, and Rice University—just to name a few.


Baker Botts is dedicated to providing opportunities for employees and clients to increase their involvement and exposure to the arts. Each winter, the Houston office hosts a family holiday event tied to its support of local performing arts organizations. These events have taken place in conjunction with productions such as The Nutcracker at Houston Ballet, and The Grinch at Theater Under The Stars followed by an exclusive on-stage reception. These unique experiences allow Baker Botts to introduce the arts to a new generation and foster an early appreciation for the arts.


Baker Botts understands the importance of exposing youth to the arts, and the company provides art education opportunities for K-12 students. The firm’s Dallas office has sponsored Julius H. Dorsey Elementary School in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas since 1993 in conjunction with the Dallas Independent School District Partners in Education Program. Among other activities, Baker Botts participates in the arts and crafts program that addresses the artistic needs of kindergartners who do not have access to art classes.


Baker Botts also incorporated the arts in conjunction with its diversity initiatives. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in 2011, Baker Botts displayed an art exhibit by Artists of the Americas. The exhibit included original artworks by distinguished, internationally emerging artists from Latin America whose works have been recognized by prominent cultural institutions and will be featured in several of Baker Botts’ domestic offices.


Baker Botts is dedicated to providing unparalleled support to organizations benefiting people in the vibrant cities in which they office. Baker Botts’ involvement with the arts is a fundamental part of the firm’s activity and culture.


Photo: Houston Grand Opera’s 2010-2011 production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.” Pictured are Albina Shagimuratova as Lucia and Scott Hendricks as Enrico Ashton. Photographer: Felix Sanchez


2006 BCA 10 Winner, The Star-Telegram, Opens Minds and Hearts to the Arts in North Texas

Posted by Mariama Holman
2006 BCA 10 Winner, The Star-Telegram, Opens Minds and Hearts to the Arts in North Texas

Amon G. Carter Sr. established The Star-Telegram, a Fort Worth, Texas based newspaper, nearly a century ago on the notion that public service is necessary for any newspaper that wants to make life better for those it serves.


The Star-Telegram has been supporting the arts as far back as the Texas Centennial in 1936 when Amon Carter hired noted Broadway producer, Billy Rose, to produce a 100-day extravaganza, starring Sally Rand and other famous vaudevillians of the day. The Star-Telegram underwrote $65,000 of the funds needed and led the campaign to raise the remaining balance. The organization also promoted a show that drew more than two million individuals to Fort Worth. This marked the beginning of the Casa Mañana Theatre, one of the first theaters-in-the-round in the country, that still presents professional theater performances.


Upon announcement of the company’s acknowledgement as a BCA 10 awardee in 2006,   

Wesley R. Turner, former President and Publisher of The Star-Telegram, cited Amon G. Carter’s beliefs and the organization’s interest in continuing this legacy. “ ‘A man cannot live off his community.  He must live with it.’  He believed that the arts improved the quality of living for all and I count it a pleasure to continue that tradition.”


The Star-Telegram lives up to Carter’s ideals today by offering readers feature stories about national and international arts events to pique interest, invite participation and broaden horizons.


The Star-Telegram’s Arts & Culture section raises awareness on issues such as the latest developments in Texas arts funding, as well as advocates for the arts at large with special writings covering North Texas’ thriving creative sector. The newspaper is a mouth piece for promoting the arts and creative economywithin North Texas with thoughtful opinion articles penned by board members and leaders from organizations such as the Texas Cultural Trust and the Texas Commission on the Arts, which shed light into the concerns of the arts community, as well as news on upcoming resources and events for artists and art lovers. The company even highlights the voices of pro-arts Texan senators, mayors and other elected officials on topics of key concern to the creative community as well.


However, thought leadership and news coverage are just a few of the many areas in which The Star-Telegram contributes to the local community.


The Star-Telegram also provides advertising to major museums and festivals to promote the activities of their groups and to celebrate cultural heritage and diversity. Among those institutions that have received complimentary advertising space and cash contributions are the Kimbell Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum, Modern Arts Museum, National Cowgirl Museum, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Arlington Museum of Art, the Main St. Arts Festival, Jazz by the Boulevard, Cinco De Mayo, Gran Fiesta Fort Worth, Mayfest, the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering, Theatre Arlington, Creative Arts Theatre and School, UTA Theatre Arts program, UTA EXCEL program, Arlington Arts League, Dance Theatre of Arlington, Symphony Arlington, Metropolitan Classical Ballet (formerly Ballet Arlington), and Arlington Choral Society.


In addition, The Star-Telegram offers grant support to a plethora of arts groups in its community such as the Fort Worth Symphony, Fort Worth Opera, Texas Ballet Theatre and the Van Cliburn Foundation. 


Photo: Photograph of Artist, Brian Donnelly (KAWS) at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth prior to the opening of the “KAWS: Where the End Starts” exhibit. Image sourced from the Star-Telegram and Paul Moseley (

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.


Why Does Your Business Value the Arts?

Posted by Jessica Gaines

In their acceptance speeches at the 2016 BCA 10 Awards, twelve industry leaders spoke about what being honored at the 2016 BCA 10 means to them and why they encourage and seek out opportunities to bring the arts into their worlds.

See the full event recap and view the BCA 10 program book to learn more about this year’s best businesses partnering with the arts. Know a company that partners with the arts? Nominations for the 2017 BCA 10 Awards are open through January 13, 2017.


1. Let’s Start Easy—With an Arts Business

[Describing a Mayor’s address to a group of teachers and students] And he told these kids, I think he managed to look every single one of them in the eye, he said, “You do what you wanna do, and you apply it the way you want to apply it, and take risks. Do art, do drama, do music, do what you’re doing here.” And it’s moments like that, seeing these kids and the teachers, that make me really appreciate the luck I have to be involved in a business that gets to provide, in a large measure, that creativity.

–Robert Buchsbaum, CEO at Blick Art Materials

Watch the full speech here.

Photo courtesy Blick Art Materials.

2. A Health Care Leader

When a chairman hires a Chief Mindfulness Officer and he allows his employees to meditate and to be mindful, he is art. When an IT executive plays a mean jazz saxophone, he too is art. When a community relations director forms a Latin band and sings in the nightclubs of NYC, he is art. And when a multicultural marketer shares marketing tips to a philanthropist—a corporate philanthropist at Aetna sharing marketing tips through The Grateful Dead—they too, are art. When a company has 16 different colors in its logo, that company is art. And we believe that everyone in this room is art. And when art and the folks in this room come together, we spark innovation; we inspire youth. We celebrate and heal communities. We stimulate economies. We sustain this great nation.

–Floyd Green, Vice President, Community Relations and Urban Marketing at Aetna, Inc.

Watch the full speech here.

Photo: Rana Faure


3. From the Utility Company

The focal point for Austin Energy is transformational power, which makes sense. As an electric utility, we deal with transformers and power each and every day, but there’s also a transformational power in art to bring people together: to create bridges of knowledge and understanding, to explore new ideas, to drive change.

–Allen Small, Distribution Director at Austin Energy




Photo courtesy Austin Energy


4. From the Water Meter Folks

At Badger Meter, my best engineers are all musicians. There’s some connection—I don’t know it because I’m a philistine—but there’s some connection between art, between music and engineering. I don’t understand it, but they know it and they’re all musicians. My best salespeople were on a stage at one time in their lives. My best marketing people were involved in the visual arts. And it’s those skills that you can’t just teach in a classroom. Somehow those were developed through their education.

–Richard Meeusen, Chairman, President, and CEO at Badger Meter

Watch the full speech here.

Photo: Rana Faure

5. From the Insurance People

In four months, I’ve met with every one of the 320 employees and the number one thing that they talk about is the arts, giving back, and community. … I think it’s the ability for all of us in our lives to be able to give back. To be able to do the things that are special and unique in our lives.

–Marc Schmittlein, President and CEO at CopperPoint Insurance Companies

Photo courtesy CopperPoint Insurance Companies


6. The Automotive Marketing Expert

I feel like we are receiving an Oscar for this [award] and it is really a true honor. These are the artists that have worked really hard to make all of these projects happen in Burlington, Vermont, and so more than anything I want to say ‘cheers’ to them and thank you to Americans for the Arts and BCA 10 for recognizing the rapport of business, art, and community coming together. So we have Scott, Mary, Michael, Kate. and Abby. These are the artists. Short and sweet.

–Jill Badolato, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at

Photo: Rana Faure


7. From the Beer Brewers

I really have a great job because our slogan at Dogfish Head is “off-centered ales for off-center people.” We have about 300 co-workers, the majority of them in Delaware, and a small salesforce around the country. We have all kinds of folks that are artists themselves. We have a magician’s assistant, a death metal guitarist, jazz musicians, graphic artists, illustrators, all kinds of folks. And our philosophy is that it’s really necessary to give back to the community and that’s what Beer and Benevolence is all about. Be it the environment, be it the community in general—but the arts especially.

–Mark Carter, Beer & Benevolence Coordinator at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Photo courtesy Dogflish Head Craft Brewery


8. Lawyers, Too!

We basically said, “We work with the most creative, innovative, crazy people around the world, you know, creatives always are. And why don’t we do that in Oklahoma City as well, and bring everybody into our office, make that community, that place-making kind of place.” And what we have seen really is that the engagement of our employees, of our staff, of our directors, in the arts has increased 200-300%. But one of the most amazing things for us is the karma—whatever you want to call it—the karma, good will, love that we’ve seen through this community, of this web of people that we put together.

–Douglas Sorocco, Director at Dunlap Codding

Photo courtesy Dunlap Codding


9. The One Known for Making Almost Everything

I’ll never forget my first day when I made it to manager and got an office; you got to tour the corporate art grouping and actually go in and pick out your own art. And so what did you feel? You felt that sense of passion and to be able to go in and say I resonate with that picture, that’s gonna bring out the best of me. And what a privilege to be able to work with a company like that.

–Susan Podlogar, Global Vice President Human Resources at Johnson & Johnson

Photo courtesy Johnson & Johnson


10. A Change Management Consulting Firm

Service, volunteerism, and sponsorship are important to our management team, our consultants, and our identity as a company. Supporting the arts had proven to have both personal and professional benefits for our employees and provided us an interesting and refreshing connection within our community.

–Kat McDonald, Community Engagement Manager at M Powered Strategies

Photo: Rana Faure


11. Even a Wealth Management Business

I would also like to extend a special thank you to the Americans for the Arts organization. Like us, you recognize that the arts are a transformative vehicle in our society and that cultivating the arts is not only important, but necessary to a world that seems to be moving away from creativity.

–Dave Blowers, Executive Vice President at Northern Trust

Photo courtesy Northern Trust


12. Don’t Forget About P&G!

Procter & Gamble has a long history of supporting the arts and we are blessed to live in a community where the arts have provided such amazing experiences for our employees, for our families, for new talents to come into our region and really be transformed by the arts.

–Phil Duncan, Global Design Officer at Procter & Gamble

Photo courtesy Procter & Gamble




BBVA Compass CEO Advocates for STEAM

Posted by Stacy Lasner
BBVA Compass CEO Advocates for STEAM

This Thanksgiving, when you're thinking about everything you're grateful for, don't forget to give thanks for your arts education. Many children today do not have access to adequate arts education, which expands creativity and leads to increased job opportunities.


Arts education advocates had a big moment last week when Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) added an amendment to the rewrite of the nation’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), integrating the arts into STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math). Learn more about this important legislation.


In a recent op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, Manolo Sanchez, CEO of 2014 BCA 10 honoree BBVA Compass, argues on behalf of arts education and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). "Exposure to the arts - to the endless possibilities of exploration in music, art, dance, drama - has the power to spark the kind of creativity that can lead to student achievement across many disciplines. It helps kids learn how to take intellectual risks and to dig deep into their brains to make complex connections," he says.


In this op-ed, Sanchez introduces a new musicians-in-residence program at Crespo Elementary School in Southeast Houston, a joint venture by the Houston Independent School District and Houston Symphony, with support from BBVA Compass. Crespo is a fine arts magnet school with a student population that's 95 percent economically disadvantaged and 97 percent Hispanic.The program is inspired by a "time-tested and respected initiative pioneered by the New York Philharmonic." According to Sanchez, "two Community Embedded Musicians from the Houston Symphony will teach third-, fourth- and fifth-graders about the power of classical music, reaching more than 400 economically disadvantaged students each year."


Sanchez claims, "Studies have found that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were significantly more likely to excel in math if they'd had music education. Non-native English speakers are also able to pick up the language faster through the use of music."


"It's in the private sector's interest to step up and fund arts initiatives. It's good corporate citizenship, but it's also smart business," Sanchez asserts. "Those who do will be helping to bring the magic of the arts to students who might otherwise be unable to experience it, yes. But they're also helping build the kind of workforce that sees the world in innovative new ways - a critical skill for this 21st century."


Read the full op-ed here.


Learn more about Americans for the Arts' arts education initiatives.


Read more stories about businesses supporting arts education.


Photo: Manolo Sanchez at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. BBVA Compass and the BBVA Compass Foundation sponsored an exhibition from Dec. 16, 2012, through March 31, 2013, of more than 100 European paintings from Madrid’s famed Museo del Prado at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston – the first time a collection of its size was ever shown outside of Spain.


Energy Companies Help Fuel the Houston Arts Scene

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
Energy Companies Help Fuel the Houston Arts Scene

(Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan visits Houston in April, presented by Society for the Performing Arts, whose 2013-14 season is underwritten by Reliant Energy. Photo courtesy of The Houston Chronicle.)


The following article from The Houston Chronicle takes a look at Houston-based energy companies Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and others who have helped to establish the city's biggest arts organizations and the major foundations that still support them. ExxonMobil and Chevron, for example, encourage employees to volunteer and donate as individuals by offering matching grants, while Shell sponsors the free admission and extended hours on Thursdays at the Museum of Fine Arts. Regardless of the partnership, it is clear that the vibrant arts scene in Houston is being "fueled" by a few friendly energy giants. Click the link below to read the full article.


Energy Companies Help Fuel the Arts Scene


"When I hear that there's a milestone or a chance to innovate, it opens my brain. And when I'm around these creative people, magic happens."


-Joni Baird, Houston Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs at Chevron


Absolut Drinks Up the Texas Landscape

Posted by Patrick O'Herron

Absolut, the Swedish vodka brand, has just released the 8th addition to its US-themed flavors—Absolut Texas, a cucumber and serrano chili infused vodka with a befittingly iconic original artistic label. The company has been releasing limited edition flavors based on American cities each year since 2007. Past U.S.-inspired editions include New Orleans, Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Miami, and Chicago.


In the early 1980s, Absolut Vodka developed its classic style of advertising, making use of the iconic design of the vodka bottle itself. In 1986, Andy Warhol created the first of many commissioned artworks to be used in Absolut Vodka's advertising campaigns. From 1986 until 2004, Absolut Vodka maintained and developed a tradition of working closely with artists all around the world.


The Absolut Texas bottle was designed in partnership with San Antonio artist Cruz Ortiz, a partnership that is proudly advertised as part of the label design. Ortiz’ imagery features a cowboy boot against a stylized Texas landscape and Absolut founder Lars Olsson Smith wearing a cowboy hat. According to the Absolut Texas website, Absolut has a great history of working with creative talents and Cruz Ortiz was the perfect match for Absolut Texas. Cruz Ortiz, born 1972, lives and works in San Antonio, Texas, and uses print, performance, and film in his work. Cruz has been invited to participate in many major international exhibitions at institutions such as the Louvre in Paris, France and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


“From the unique Southwestern flavor to the one-of-a-kind bottle design, Absolut Texas is our biggest and boldest Limited Edition flavor to-date,” commented Afdhel Aziz, Brand Director, Absolut Vodka, Pernod Ricard USA. “Absolut Texas was truly designed as a celebration of all the best that contemporary Texas has to offer.”


For more information on Absolut Texas, including the collaboration with artist Cruz Ortiz, visit


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