By Kristin Mack Deuber
Most people don’t think of an art college as an economic driver for a community, but James E. Kunk begs to differ. Kunk, regional president of Huntington Bank and treasurer of CCAD‘s board of trustees, believes that CCAD has made Columbus a more vibrant, diverse, and interesting place to live and work, which are all key elements for building a strong economy.
Since 1988, Huntington has made significant investments in CCAD to help create facilities and common spaces, making the campus more attractive for student life and business opportunities. These include contributions to CCAD’s Design Studios on Broad and the Loann Crane Center for Design.
“CCAD has created a true campus setting that engages and enhances the community,” says Kunk. “They’ve also transformed the area around the campus, creating a distinct art district on the fringes of downtown Columbus.”
Huntington’s most recent investment was the lead gift in support of the college’s new MindMarket, a creative hub where students and alumni will engage with entrepreneurs and the business world (search “MindMarket” on the CCAD blog for more about the MindMarket initiative). This generous donation further reflects the bank’s commitment to economic development and education in Columbus.
“CCAD’s MindMarket is a transformational program that will continue to position the college as a cutting-edge leader,” says Kunk. “It will provide students with real-world business education from industry experts, all while preparing them to enter the workforce upon graduation. Whether it’s a team of designers developing websites and company portals or the next wave of fashion to hit the runways, students can learn about business development and processes in real time.”
Huntington has also provided individual opportunities for CCAD artists and designers. In 2011 the bank sought out local artist and CCAD alumna Kirsten Bowen (Illustration 1989) to create a painting to augment Huntington Bank’s “Welcome” brand positioning. The painting, which was featured at the 2011 CCAD Senior Fashion Show, is currently displayed on the executive floor of Huntington’s headquarters in downtown Columbus.
In addition to the painting, Huntington leveraged Bowen’s artistic skills to create a scarf design for the bank’s colleague career apparel line. The result has received great feedback from Huntington associates for adding a fun and stylish piece to their work wardrobe.
“There has always been a prejudice that you can’t make a living as an artist,” says Bowen. “Having strong partnerships with businesses like Huntington Bank provides students and alumni with opportunities and helps us shake our bohemian reputation.”
Huntington also employs CCAD graduates in a variety of capacities from branding and advertising to developing its web presence, allowing the bank to engage with its customers both online and offline in creative ways.
“Huntington is an advocate for what CCAD is creating,” says Kunk. “The college is a true catalyst for Columbus’s creative class, and we are proud to be partners with such a driving force in our community.”
Published in print twice a year, CCAD’s IMAGE magazine shares stories about our creative community, whether here in Columbus or around the world—what we’re doing, thinking, and planning next. The IMAGE blog brings those stories online for transmission at the click of a mouse.