This February, we handed over the Cengage Group LinkedIn to several individuals who participated in our Black History Month Art Auction and Fundraiser, which raised over $4,500! Founder of our Art-and-Artists Slack channel and Senior Learning Designer, Powell V., partnered with the co-leads of Mosaic (our Employee Resource Group for BIPOC employees), Cara S., Product Development Researcher, Takeyce W., Senior Media Producer, Jacob M., Enrollment Manger, and Sidney C., Education Sales Consultant, to organize the auction and help raise money for charities that support Black communities.
Cara shared that “Black History Month is about highlighting the achievements and adversities of Black folks in the U.S. – past, present, and future – and to me it means a time when I can do my part to spotlight their voices.” Takeyce explains that she was inspired to organize this event after participating in several live art auctions on Instagram, which benefitted charities and artists suffering from losses in funding and sales due to pandemic lockdowns. She said “The auctions were such fun and exciting experiences; they were something joyful to look forward to during the height of the pandemic. I was inspired to adapt this concept and create an event that honored and supported our black communities and employee artists.” Powell added that “Through art, artists can express their points of view, let their voices be heard, and share their culture.” Sidney was proud to share that “more than 200 employees joined the live art auction and over $4,500 was raised for charity.” Jacob hopes that this event will have a “strong and lasting impact with the selected charitable organizations. Hopefully the success of this venture will inspire more frequent grassroots efforts to help those in need in many of our communities.”
Read more to hear from Kristine B., Operations Specialist, Fifi O., Product Assistant, Macy L., Art Director, and Nadine B., Associate Media Editor, a few of the many artists who generously donated their artwork to make this event a huge success.
Kristine B. has been a Cengage Group employee for about 14 years and she explained that “Black History Month is a fantastic time to celebrate the culture and history of African Americans. This month provides us with an opportunity to educate those who are less informed about the many accomplishments of Black people in America.”
During our Black History Month Art Auction, Kristine sold her digital art piece called, ‘Yemoja’, which she named after the Yoruban deity who is celebrated as the giver of life. Kristine chose to donate the proceeds to the Midnight Golf Program, an organization that equips determined young adults for success in college and beyond through life skills training, coaching and mentorship. She shared that “I was compelled to participate in the art auction and use it as an opportunity to teach through my art and support a charity that I believe in.”
Kristine adds that “Black history has never been narrowed to one month for me, in the past I regularly hosted Black film series in Detroit, Michigan, taken classes on African religions, and attended lectures about Black history. However, lately because of the pandemic I’m reading more, and I watch a lot of documentaries about African American triumphs and struggles.”
Macy L. has been a Cengage Group employee for 5 years and she shared that “Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the vital contributions of Black Americans and an acknowledgment of the continuing struggle for equality.”
During our Black History Month Art Auction, Macy sold her digital art piece called, ‘Crinium Lily’, inspired by the flowers in her dad’s garden on the island of Ometepe in Nicaragua. Macy donated the proceeds to the American Bar Association’s Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund which encourages racial and ethnic minority students to apply to law school and to provide financial assistance to attend and complete law school.
Macy shared that “I read to a 2nd-grade student once a week in a volunteer program called Read to a Child, volunteering with a cause that supports equality is a great way to foster change. For February, we’ve been focusing on books about Black history; there are lots of books out there that give much needed and previously overlooked perspectives.”
Nadine B. has worked at Cengage Group for 3 years as both a Creative Studio Designer and as a Junior Media Editor. She believes that “we should celebrate and appreciate Black culture all year, not just in the month of February, by supporting Black organizations and continually educating ourselves.”
Nadine shared that “As someone who has greatly benefitted from taking many art courses, I jumped at the chance to participate in the Black History Month Art Auction.” She created a piece called, ‘real/eyes/ation’, from linocut, gouache, and marker. Nadine donated the proceeds of her piece to the National Black Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a legacy of providing stellar artistic and educational programs in music, dance, film, visual arts, theater, and the literary arts.
Nadine said that she celebrated Black History Month by “purchasing and consuming more art, movies, books and music created by ever talented black artists, authors, directors, comedians, and musicians. I seek to self-reflect and grow as I appreciate all the beauty the Black community perpetually contributes to us all. I also attended Mosaic’s Black History Month Keynote Speaker event, which was a great opportunity to learn, connect with others, and share stories.”
Fifi O. has been at Cengage Group for about 2 years and she explains that “Black History Month is an important time for our allies to learn more about us, as a group of people. Understanding that there isn’t one single black experience, but a myriad of rich stories to be told from varying backgrounds.”
Fifi says “I’ve always identified as an artist and a creative, so it was important for me to contribute the artistic side of myself to the Black History Month Art Auction and Fundraiser.” She created a watercolor piece titled, ‘Cherry Wine’, which is part of a series she created that “celebrates the diversity of black women, beauty, and emotion from below the eyes to above the collarbone.” Fifi donated the proceeds from the sale of her art piece to the National Black Arts Foundation, she said “I hope this donation will help promote, support, and celebrate black artists.”
Fifi added that she has been celebrating Black History Month by “prioritizing my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I have also been pouring more focus and passion into my artwork.”