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Celebrating student artwork—and arts education

With major funding cuts and an increased focus on a STEM curriculum, arts programs across the country continue to suffer. Marx|Okubo wants to do something about that: We are committed to keeping the arts alive.

Our collaborative, creative teams know that a well-rounded education includes an understanding of arts-education programs, such as painting, photography, graphic arts, and sculpture, as well as curricula based in science, technology, and engineering.

To demonstrate support for saving the arts, we encourage all of our offices to reach outside of traditional work to connect with local communities. In Orange County, for example, we’re in our third year of supporting arts in schools by identifying and “renting” artwork from local students to display in our office each summer.

This year we picked various pieces from Garden Grove Unified School District students in third grade through high school. Individual team members get involved by personally selecting the artwork to be displayed in their workspaces. We’ve selected photography, collage, watercolor and oil paintings, and even computer graphics to brighten and enlighten the Orange County office.

One of the most special parts of the program is when Marx|Okubo employees get to engage with the creators themselves. Students and their families are invited to deliver the artwork to the Marx|Okubo office and explain each piece to our staff. This gives our team a chance to interact with emerging talent and offers the students an opportunity to learn about careers in architecture, engineering, and construction. Our intention is to celebrate the hard work the students have done in areas that often lead to careers in the built environment.

Students and parents have been both surprised by and deeply appreciative of the program. One young artist remarked, “I created my artwork without the intent of selling them, and to find out that someone has offered to rent one astounded me!” Another family of a student whose art was selected for the walls of Marx|Okubo said, “We were all thrilled that you have chosen her piece to be displayed in your office.”

So far, the program has had a very positive impact on these young artists, their families, and their art teachers—not to mention the Marx|Okubo staff. We can only hope that helping to build the next generation of well-rounded individuals will lead to great things.

For additional information on the Marx|Okubo Student Arts Program, contact gary_cohn@marxokubo.com