February 28, 2024

Honoring Black History Month


This month, Mosaic, Cengage Group’s employee resource group (ERG) for BIPOC employees and allies, hosted its third annual Black History Month Art Auction. The event aims to support organizations that uplift Black students, artists and educators in the U.S.. Employees bid on original art created by colleagues that come in many forms including drawings, digital works, photography, jewelry, stained glass, pottery and more.


Takeyce W., Mosaic Co-lead, Auction organizer and contributing artist has been with Cengage Group for almost 17 years. She states “My passion for art, education and philanthropy motivates me to organize and contribute to the Black History Month Art Auction each year. This event, now in its 3rd year, is highly anticipated and brings artists and art lovers together for a wonderful cause.” Takeyce added, “this year, over 135 employees tuned in to join the live auction. Together we helped raise close to $4,400 to support the 2024 charities; with the potential to double our impact through Cengage Group’s gift matching program.”


Artist Spotlight

This year, 20 pieces of art were donated by Cengage Group employees: Sandra B., Jen C., Shannon G., Sujin H., Caleb J., Macy L., Claudi M., Heather M., Stephen O., Fifi O., Jack P., Powell V., Jim V., Takeyce W., Vicky T., and Erik S.

Here are just a few highlights of the pieces featured in this year’s auction:


Vicky T., Senior Portfolio Product Manager, has worked at Cengage Group for 25 years. She shared that the piece she submitted to this year’s BHM Art Auction “embodies a celebration of African heritage and the beauty of its cultural diversity. Inspired by the rich traditions, vibrant colors and the elegant silhouette of African women, this piece seeks to capture the spirit and resilience that they represent. The choice of stained glass as my medium highlights the interconnectedness of culture, light and color, mirroring the diverse yet unified nature of African communities.” Vicky explained that her art was inspired by Tilly Wilson. “When I saw her ‘African Ladies’ on a greeting card, I knew I wanted to replicate them in glass. The vibrant colors, the movement and the exaggerated slenderness of the women… I just wanted to recreate the look and feel in glass. I wanted the background to look like a landscape, without actually being a landscape so the choice of colors, transparency and texture is very deliberate.”

Vicky was compelled to donate this piece in honor of BHM not only to contribute to the appreciation and recognition of African cultural heritage but also to support educational efforts that bring to light the significant contributions of African Americans throughout history. “The proceeds from the sale of my piece will go to the National Museum of African American History & Culture, whose mission is to ensure that the legacy and stories of African American individuals are preserved and celebrated for generations to come.”


Stephen O. has been with Cengage Group for 10 years. In his current role, he serves as the Special Projects Lead at the Cengage Learning Distribution Center, ensuring orders and requests with unique requirements are properly fulfilled. Stephen shared that he appreciates the variety of activities that Mosaic organizes for employees; as an art enthusiast, he was compelled to participate in this year’s auction. His art piece, titled "B-Sides,” is a collage of literary works by African American authors that were ignored or in some cases banned layered with African American works that have mostly been accepted, celebrated and embraced by the American public. Stephen said, “I liked the idea of using my creativity to create an art piece that celebrated other forms of art such as music, poetry and literature.”

Stephen shared that “Black History Month is a very important time of year, especially for young developing minds. Identity is so important growing up. It’s critical for everyone to learn about the history and contributions of Black Americans in various fields of expertise and art over the history of America. It is equally important to learn about the history and culture of African Civilizations over the past millennium. Museums are a great way to do this, whether it’s a school trip or a family vacation. Touring an impressive exhibit as a small child can fill you with wonder that is larger than life. That is why I chose to donate to The National Museum of African American History.”


Caleb J. has worked here for over five years. He started on our Customer Support team and currently works as a Business Development Specialist. He shared that the Mosaic ERG “helps me to see how much I don’t know. Whether it is book recommendations, information about other culture’s holidays, or insightful guest speakers, these opportunities give me exposure to new ideas that make me want to keep learning more.” He added, “BHM is a great time to immerse yourself in things that you’ve had minimal or no exposure to in the past. Personally, it serves as a reminder to take the time and think about history, see what lessons we can learn and use those lessons to help make things better moving forward.”

Caleb shared that, “participating in this year's BHM Art Auction is not just about showcasing my artwork, but about using my passion to make a meaningful difference. It's an incredible opportunity for me to contribute to raising funds for some very good causes and support initiatives that align with the values of BHM. Together, we can celebrate the richness of Black history and culture while creating positive change in our communities.”


Fifi O. began working at Cengage Group four years ago. She shared that, “Mosaic has been an integral part of my employee experience. I acted as the site lead for the ERG at the Independence, KY office. In this role, I often collaborated with other Mosaic sites and the local Pride site. Being a member of the Mosaic community, I have been able to meet new colleagues that otherwise I wouldn’t have interacted with and collaborated on important moments in time like the first Juneteenth celebration, Hispanic Heritage Month and Indigenous Peoples Month.”

Fifi has been a frequent participant in the BHM Art Auction and feels that “as the years pass, my skills as an artist are further developing and I always feel honored to contribute art that reflects the growth of my skillset and the diversity of Black visual art. I also enjoy seeing the beautiful work of my colleagues who put hours into creating stunning pieces ranging from paintings to jewelry to pottery.”

To Fifi, “BHM is a celebration of the amazing contributions, cultures and rich histories of African American/Black people in the U.S. Being of Nigerian descent, BHM has always provided me with the opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of the African American people who built this country and it also gives Black people today the encouragement to continue creating Black history.”


2024 Charities

Here is the full list of organizations that artists chose to support this year:

City Teaching Alliance (formerly Urban Teachers), aims to “improve educational and life outcomes of children in urban schools by preparing culturally responsive, effective career educators who accelerate student achievement and disrupt systems of racial and socioeconomic inequity.”

Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund, whose mission is to encourage racial and ethnic minority students to apply to law school and to provide financial assistance to attend and complete law school.

Milagro House, helps women with children achieve long-term success by helping them “earn an education, enter the economic mainstream and develop life skills that lead to strong families, self-reliance and the ability to live a fulfilled and successful life.”

National Black Arts Festival, whose mission is to “expose, educate, engage and entertain audiences by presenting and supporting the art and artists of African descent."

National Museum of African American History & Culture, to help support the “only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture."

South Shore Drill Team, “uses the performing arts to engage inner-city youth throughout their critical teenage years, mitigate the dangers of gangs, drugs, and violence, and guide members towards completing their education and becoming responsible citizens.”


Learn More:

Continue learning about our Black History Month Art Auction and discover insights from our 2022 and 2023 artists and event organizers.

Explore other ways Mosaic recognizes and celebrates employees in our Juneteenth, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month blogs.