Fifth Third recently hosted an evening of art and culture that featured an exhibition of the work of renowned artist Brian Washington. The event, hosted by the Bank’s Inclusion and Diversity team, focused on including minority, veteran and LGBTQ+ performers, artists and vendors.
Washington, a self-taught, world-class artist who also is an award-winning attorney and an advocate for the arts, displayed several works from his collection “The Continual Struggle: The American Freedom Movement and the Seeds of Social Change.” The collection emphasizes the struggle for equality and racial reconciliation in American society. Also at the event, Volare, a Cincinnati-based dance company, performed a mambo style piece, and Jazz at Dusk, a Cincinnati jazz band, performed live music. Art created by local emerging artists was also on display.
“Just as art plays an important part in our social fabric, so does Fifth Third Bank,” said Tim Spence, Fifth Third’s president. “We have a responsibility to help build stronger, more inclusive communities and to stand up for equity, equality and inclusion in myriad ways. One of those is supporting artists who remind us how far we’ve come and how far we must still go in this continuous struggle for equality and racial reconciliation.”
Fifth Third Bank has a strong legacy of supporting the arts. During challenging socioeconomic times, Fifth Third has maintained its support of the arts, and the Bank’s leaders through its history have recognized the power of the arts to heal, communicate important messages, bridge divides and enhance the social aspects of the communities it serves.
“The Banking on Inclusion through Art event provided a unique approach to bring culture and the arts to the community,” said Stephanie Smith, Fifth Third’s chief inclusion and diversity officer. “Art has played a part in Fifth Third’s history through good times as well times of strife. We are honored to continue supporting the work of artists that provoke us to ask questions, consider diverse perspectives, and help build a stronger and more equal community and sense of belonging.”
In addition to hosting the recent inclusive art event, as Fifth Third implements updated technology and more relaxed elements to its banking centers – collectively referred to as Next Gen design – the Bank is also collaborating with ArtLifting to add artwork to some of its Banking spaces.
ArtLifting is a public benefit corporation that creates opportunity, empowerment and validation for artists impacted by housing insecurity and disabilities. “A key goal of Next Gen is to create a modern environment in which our customers feel welcomed and comfortable,” said Vikas Srivastava, assistant vice president and retail design lead in Enterprise Workplace Services. “Through our work with ArtLifting, we are displaying art that is often inspired by overcoming adversity and that our customers can relate to. Whenever possible, it is created by local artists. This adds a layer of personalization and connection in the space, and it supports our efforts to be diverse and inclusive.”
ArtLifting creates a platform for artists who traditionally have been underrepresented in the contemporary art market. Each artist has a unique perspective, style and story based on the diversity of their experiences, talents and innovative processes. The powerful combination of their artwork and stories inspires communities and drives social change. Every artist earns 55% of the profit from the sale of his or her work, and 1% from each sale goes into a fund that provides art supplies to art groups nationwide.
“Providing our employees, customers and communities with the opportunity to explore the arts in our spaces demonstrates our support of local and diverse talent, and it also allows the people who we serve to see themselves represented where they bank,” Smith said.
To learn more about Fifth Third Bank’s inclusion and diversity efforts, please visit www.53.com/diversity.