Beautify helps American Express bring cultural capital to Clarksdale, Mississippi
AmEx commissions a mural tied to its campaign to help local students learn financial management basics.
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Mural by Ruben Rojas in Clarksdale, Mississippi for American Express
Clarksdale was once known as the Gem of the Delta, a center for culture and economy at the beginning of the 20th century. As times changed, so did Clarksdale. Once a thriving urban district, many of its buildings were neglected, with barren and abandoned walls. Yetsoul of the town and community are still strong.
Enter American Express, with a program to teach financial management basics to local students. As part of the program, Amex sponsored a mural designed to capture the aspirations of the community. Clarksdale is the home of the Delta Blues. Upon entering town you'll hear blues music wafting into the streets. Classic clubs like Ground Zero Blues Club and Reds have music every night, and draw tourists from every corner of the planet.
Beautify CEO Evan Meyer says this is why he founded Beautify, the for-profit technology startup spun out of Beautify Earth's original non-profit work. "Our online platform removes the friction from the process, making it easy for brands like Amex to find and work with professional street artists," Evan says. "As both a muralist and a software product manager, I founded Beautify to connect people who want great art with the professional artists who create it."
Beautify Earth stepped into Clarksdale early May to install a single mural across from the Ground Zero Blues Club. What happened was far beyond what we could have hoped for. The community came out and shared their dreams with us. They sang from their hearts. They showed us what art can do to bring people together.
CRI coordinator Katrina Zavalney explained the mural's value: “It’s more than just art on a wall. It’s about how the murals can increase community vitality, which really goes along with our mission, and they have a whole economic development report that shows how when you beautify spaces, it increases property value, people will be more likely to shop at local businesses, it increases awareness of the different projects, organizations and increases activity in those areas. I wanted to do a mural with CCAC is because we can communicate the mission of this place through a huge mural on the side of the build-ing, which comes out of a community engagement process.”
There are millions of communities that need some love and inspiration and a little bit of paint can go a long way. Help create another success story like this in a community near...or not near you.
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