RALEIGH -- The next Picasso may just be found at a State Employees Credit Union branch.
Recognizing the credit union's support of the arts, the North Carolina Art Education Association has recently presented SECU with a "Friends of the Arts" award.
Nominated by Little River Elementary School, SECU was recognized for its ongoing commitment to the arts demonstrated by its display of student artwork in its branches.
According to Little River Elementary Art Teacher Barbara Bailey-Smith, what began as a simple phone request for a small display of student artwork has turned into a two-year partnership with its local credit union.
"The exhibits have been well received by SECU staff, the community, visiting artists--with cameras in hand and supportive family members," said Bailey-Smith. "Our student artists are honored at school with a posting of the exhibit, certificates and an announcement to the entire school."
Since 2004, SECU has been partnering with public schools to highlight student artwork. SECU's over 200 branches are working with the state's 2,249 public elementary, middle and high schools to promote and encourage young North Carolina artists. The partnership has not only allowed SECU to increase its reach into the education community, but has also given approximately 20,000 children the opportunity to showcase their talent.
"State Employees' Credit Union has always had strong ties to the educational community in the state of North Carolina, but it is usually with teachers and administrators as members of SECU. Since our credit union is also a strong supporter of youth through its FAT CAT and Zard programs, school artwork partnerships give us an opportunity to put the spotlight on the real reason our education system exists--the students," said SECU Education Services Senior Vice President Leigh Brady.