This is the story of how the passion to create and the urge to influence positive change have converged in a unique way for SLS digital creative director, Brian Fuller, during this extraordinary time in history.
The tale actually starts long before the current crisis…
Chapter 1: An Artful Idea Is Born
Once upon a time, a very inspiring and resourceful woman in Philadelphia named Barbara Chandler Allen founded Fresh Artists, a nonprofit organization that wanted to empower kids through the transformative power of art and philanthropy. For years now, the organization has been delivering much-needed free art supplies and innovative, art-focused programs to under-resourced US public schools.
Fresh Artists also presents Cool Jobs, a free, three-day career expo designed to spark the imaginations of kids who are particularly attracted to the arts but at risk of dropping out. Each year, about 600 sixth and seventh graders get to meet working artists, chefs, designers, digital printers, photographers, architects, and other creatives who talk informally about their awesome jobs and how they got them. It’s their way of inspiring the kids to stay in school and pursue their own dream jobs in the creative economy.
Chapter 2: Brian Makes a Discovery
One day last year, Brian learned about Fresh Artists from a Street Level Studio client, Lisa Godfrey, senior marketing manager for Canon Solutions America’s Large Format Solutions division. Canon Solutions America (CSA) is an industry leader in enterprise, production, and large format printing solutions and one of Fresh Artists’ corporate sponsors.
Both share a commitment to supporting arts education and creative careers, plus CSA is a perfect partner for Fresh Artists’ creative “lateral philanthropy” corporate fundraising approach. Corporate donors are given large-scale, high-resolution reproductions of original student artwork to exhibit in their offices and facilities. Once pandemic restrictions allow, Canon is installing two state-of-the-art large format printers—the Colorado 1650 and the Arizona 350—in Fresh Artists’ Philadelphia showroom to turn the children’s amazing creations into impressive artworks suitable for hanging in corporate spaces.
Lisa also told Brian Fresh Artists was looking for creative professionals who might want to participate in their next Cool Jobs event in March 2020. As a digital creative director with a truly cool job, Brian was all over it. He immediately started creating some exciting motion graphics to promote the Cool Jobs program and began working on his own “why I love my job” presentation for the kids.
Chapter 3: The Crisis Causes a Pivot
Then, the pandemic struck. The live Cool Jobs event was canceled. Schools were closed, and students had to transition to online learning. Fortunately, the School District of Philadelphia and several generous private donors committed to purchasing laptops and loaning them to every District K-12 student who needed one.
Suddenly, Fresh Artists saw an exciting new opportunity—transforming the usual Cool Jobs live event into the Cool Jobs Show—an engaging online teaching tool for third through eighth grades featuring short videos from working creatives describing what they do, why they love it, and how they prepared for their careers. These first artist-made videos would be just the beginning of an enormous Fresh Artists library introducing fascinating, successful people with jobs in the creative economy to youngsters in Philadelphia initially and ultimately throughout America.
Chapter 4: Brian Makes Creativity a Star
Brian was one of the first creatives Fresh Artists tapped for the pilot. So, he got to work creating a colorful, fast-paced video featuring motion graphics, live footage, shots of the Street Level Studio space and team—all designed to engagingly answer questions the kids might have. What does a digital creative director do? How did you become a digital creative director? What materials or equipment do digital creative directors use? What kind of space do you work in? Who inspired you? Why do you love your job? What’s your advice to young creatives?
Watch the finished video to discover his answers and find out more about Brian’s cool job. This may be the end of this story, but for the kids who get inspired by Brian’s video, it just might be the beginning!