The protests that have going strong over the last two weeks throughout the United States and around the world have produced results. Local governments as well as big and small businesses are beginning to work on the issues of systemic racism and racial equality in any number of ways.
In one-special program launched this week a group of 50 jewelry designers and jewelry related businesses united in an effort that looks to the future. The group funded the first $50,000 of the Art Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund at FIT. The program is named in honor of the beloved Black mid-century modernist jewelry designer who lived and worked in New York City.
Jewelry designer Brent Neale, who is an FIT alumni spearheaded the program with her team at the For Future Reference showroom Randi Molofsky and Meaghan Flynn Petropoulous. The designer explained that the program has received the full support of Charles Russell, Art’s longtime partner, as well as that of Mark McDonald who runs Art’s estate.
Brent wrote in an Instagram post when the announcement of the fund was made on June 11, 2020:
As I’ve been listening I’ve been thinking about the industry I’m in – Fine Jewelry. We need more POC voices. How can I help that happen? What’s something concrete and lasting? What if we as an industry could establish an endowment at FIT that would create ongoing scholarships and mentorships to support black students attending the Jewelry Design program. As it turns out we can and did. We are so proud to announce alongside 49 jewelry industry brands the Art Smith Memorial Scholarship Foundation.
People of color are historically underrepresented in the jewelry industry and our goal is to turn that statistic around — one student at a time. The Endowment is now off the ground and is open for additional donations of any amount, so please contact us directly if you’d like to contribute. As it grows so will the ability to give back to even more students.
If you are interested in making a tax deductible donation to the fund go here for the easy to fill out online form.