As the holiday season draws to a close, we are reminded of how the spirit of giving extends beyond our family and friends to the communities in which we work and live. Within the design profession, there are a host of opportunities to use our creativity to collaborate with community organizations whose missions are to serve those in need. For many of these groups, financial support to sustain the quality of their services has become increasingly more difficult to raise. They often have to develop innovative programs to gain visibility for their causes and attract both donors and volunteers. The contributions made by our employees have helped these organizations with fundraising and outreach efforts, and through their talents and skills, have been able to share the gift of design.
For the past 12 years, Huntsman has participated in We Care, an annual holiday event sponsored by Herman Miller. For this event, architecture and design firms in 27 cities around the country join together to volunteer their time and skills in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of America. Teams comprised of designers host craft stations, where kids make personalized gifts. At the start of the holiday season, Huntsman staff in both New York and San Francisco joined leading design firms to bring their expertise and passion for design to work with over 450 school kids in creating unique gifts – everything from jewelry, holiday themed tee shirts, photo frames, to wall clocks. At the end of the day, the children who participated in the event brought home armloads of handmade gifts.
Where the kids find delight in creating handmade gifts, designers get the opportunity to access their inner child, play with their creativity, and make time for our community. It also gives them a chance to encourage kids to use their imagination and to access their creativity for a thoughtful gift. It stresses the adage that gift giving is about meaning more than commercial value. “It is such an exciting event for the children, and they are so appreciative for the opportunity to make these gifts,” adds Huntsman’s Brandye Johnson, “not only for their loved ones, but for themselves as well.”
For CANstruction, a national fundraising event whose proceeds benefit local food banks, building creative sculptures out of food cans is leveraged as a marketing tool to draw the public in and create awareness for the organization. CANstruction holds annual design and build competitions to construct giant sized structures made entirely out of canned food. In more than 100 cities in North America, the structures are on display to the general public the week before Thanksgiving.
San Francisco CANstruction proposed the theme of the Cannes Film Festival for 2012, which required entries to tie back to the international film festival. Paying homage to its client Pixar Animation Studios, Huntsman teamed with GCI General Contractors and Rutherford & Chekene Engineers to construct a sculpture inspired by the film “Up,” the first animated feature film to premier at Cannes. Comprised of more than 5,300 cans of chicken, tuna, beef stew, crab meat, and assorted vegetables, the “Up” structure represents a whole greater than the sum of its many parts – an idea that is reflected in the event itself with 13 other structures in the competition. The event raised more than 70,000 cans of food which were donated to the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks.
From all of us at Huntsman Architectural Group, we wish you the best in the new year.