A task normally left to LinkedIn’s own professional team of environmental graphic designers was given to Vargas Elementary second grade students this May. Students were given the unique opportunity to create and display an art installation in the corporate offices of the company thanks to a partnership with ArtHouse Kids and Starting Arts.
ArtHouse Kids is an art education organization that has provided the Bay Area with unique and engaging programs for close to 20 years. Its mission is to show children how to unleash their innate creativity by using their imaginations and thinking out of the box.
The organization teamed up with LinkedIn for its Creativity for Life Corporate Partnership program, which pairs Silicon Valley companies with local schools to work on creative projects. LinkedIn chose three conference rooms (which are themed Monsters, Acme, and Rydell) to kick off the program. The children’s artwork will be displayed from May through August. LinkedIn hosted an art show event on May 14 where employees could meet the young artists at the 845 Maude Avenue location in Sunnyvale.
“[This project] is basically three-fold: to give students the chance to create in real world scenarios with art, to have companies expand their communities by providing kids (in their own backyard!) the opportunity to create and showcase them in some way, and to show all involved the value of imagination and creativity,” said ArtHouse Kids owner, Julie Stover. “It seems inconceivable that Silicon Valley was built on imagination and out of the box design concepts, yet we are lacking ways to show kids how to be that next entrepreneur!”
With budget cuts taking its toll on the arts, and in turn imagination, ArtHouse aims to provide access to quality arts education that prepares kids to express themselves and be equipped to think about creativity in careers.
LinkedIn’s Environmental Graphic Design Program Manager Mikhael Banut, who holds a degree in fine and studio arts, demonstrated first-hand to the students what kind of career in the arts one can find. Students were tasked to create something that matched the theme of LinkedIn’s conference rooms. On the day of the art show, students eagerly pointed out their watercolor depictions of monsters and Wile E. Coyote to their parents and teachers.
Starting Arts, a non-profit arts provider and partner of the Sunnyvale School District, connected Vargas Elementary with ArtHouse for the project. Students from Santa Clara High School also contributed to the project. ArtHouse organized, curated, framed, & installed the conference room art.
“We enjoy the vibrancy and energy that children’s art brings to a space. It feels much more like a space that is warm, welcoming, and caring,” said Katie Ferrick, director of community affairs at LinkedIn. “We are thrilled that art programs in Sunnyvale can be strengthened to give more kids a chance to explore the arts.”
Article written by Julie Stover of ArtHouse Kids and District Communications Coordinator Alia Wilson.