Taking it all in -- GSK’s new partnership with the Barnes Foundation is smART

3, 2, 1… exhale. That’s not only how I start my yoga classes but also how I started my day on Wednesday -- my first day working with the Communications team at GSK. Though I’ve worked at GSK for a few years in another group, I officially join the team as GSK’s Digital Media and Community Partnerships Manager in a few weeks. In order to get a sneak peak at the work my new team does, I attended the launch event for GSK’s partnership with the Barnes Foundation—The Barnes Foundation smart Fund for Education, Established by GSK.

If you don’t know The Barnes, you should. It is a really special arts institution in Philadelphia, housing one of the world’s finest collections of post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings—and their mission is education.

There were a number of people who addressed the crowd—from The Barnes, GSK, and the City of Philadelphia—talking about the significance of this partnership. I think our President of North America Pharmaceuticals, Deirdre Connelly (or as Mayor Nutter called her “the lady in charge”), explained it best when she outlined how GSK and the GSK Foundation were able to provide a $500,000 endowment to the Barnes Foundation through our move to the Navy Yard. Here’s a rough overview of how it worked:

  1. GSK was formerly located in Center City Philadelphia in a large building with lots of beautiful art
  2. We’ve since moved into a brand new building in the Navy Yard with lots of space for collaboration, but no walls for all the  beautiful art
  3. We donated an  important piece of art  to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and sold the rest to our employees and at auction
  4. The proceeds from these art sales and a contribution from the GSK Foundation allowed us to partner with The Barnes to provide $500,000 to endow an educational program  which brings arts education to disadvantaged children in grades K-8

After Deirdre brought us up to speed on the how, the mayor took the stage to tell us the why. I was really impressed to see how engaging he was with the children. Not only did he get a resounding “GOOD MORNING” from the students in the crowd, he then corralled them to say in sync “Thank you Miss Deirdre” after he explained his excitement about the endowment. His command of the room helped both children and adults alike focus on what the venture means – it’s a public private partnership, it’s an investment in our children, and it’s one step closer to ensuring art is a standard part of the curriculum for every school in Philadelphia.

The remainder of the event went on to remind me how excited I am to officially start my position and  continue to update you on our partnerships with communities. Looking forward to writing more soon!

More details around the specific programs can be found in our press release here. Or sample an art lesson with this fun infographic .