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American Express Partners With Pharrell Williams To Bring Arts Education To Students Nationwide

[Thursday, August 30th, 2018]

Musician Pharrell Williams is teaming up with American Express to bolster arts education in schools across the United States.

American Express Platinum and Williams will co-host a fundraising event in Brooklyn in September, along with an all-star lineup of collaborators. Profits will go toward Young Audiences Arts for Learning, and Amex will also donate $1 million to the organization, which is the country’s largest arts-in-education network.

Elizabeth Rutledge, chief marketing officer at American Express, said Williams “is the perfect person to bring to life our new global platform, which reflects the blended lives that our customers lead today.” She said the company is looking forward to featuring Williams in their new marketing campaign and to partnering with him to support the arts.

Williams has been the creative director of the American Express Platinum card since 2016 and designed a limited edition yellow Platinum card as a thank you to cardmembers who support arts education by purchasing a ticket to the Brooklyn fundraising event this fall.

Support for the arts helps kids perform better in school

The National Endowment for the Arts has commissioned research showing that when students are involved in the arts, they do better academically, score better on standardized tests, and have lower rates of dropping out. Still, many schools face critical shortfalls when it comes to funding for the arts.

“Music and the arts have been part of my life since birth,” said Williams. He credits his teachers with exposing him to different kinds of music, which “expanded my mind and my imagination. I would not be where I am today without music and arts education in my school as a youth.”

American Express has a long history of supporting the arts, and in particular, showcasing musicians. Their Unstaged concert series pairs musicians and directors to produce films that are live-streamed on YouTube and the artists’ official VEVO channels.

In 2010, the series kicked off with a partnership between band Arcade Fire and director Terry Gilliam. Since then, pairings have included John Legend and Spike Lee, Duran Duran and David Lynch, The Killers and Werner Herzog, as well as Pharrell and Spike Lee, in 2014.

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