Bulgari is upping its partnership with Save the Children. During the pandemic, the jeweler provided enough funding for more than 1,300 U.S. students in underserved areas to receive arts education and programming. Now a portion of those students will exhibit their works in a museum setting to mark World Children’s Day.
While Bulgari has worked with Save the Children since 2009, the two entities’ arts education initiatives first began in 2019. Until that point, Bulgari had a successful product line specifically geared toward the cause — donating 10 percent of its sales to Save the Children, and ultimately resulting in more than 100 million euros of funding.
But the Arte di Bulgari program, as it is called, was devised as a more actionable way to help — aside from just donating money.
“We started transitioning this over the last couple of years, we looked to give even more bandwidth beyond just the product aspect of it — looking globally and also locally. We wanted to give something more concrete and that was education and arts programming,” said Bulgari president for North America, Daniel Paltridge.
The Arte di Bulgari program tasks Save the Children with administering arts programming to students in the Houston and San Bernardino County, Calif., areas. The program kicked off in 2019, and took on extra meaning during the pandemic, when children were sequestered from friends and in-person learning opportunities.
While students in Houston are back to in-person learning, the program’s participating California school districts are still learning in a remote format — pushing Bulgari to find a project that could suit both learning styles.
The latest assignment in the series is named “Wish in a Bottle,” and sees students drawing their hopes for the world and placing them into a plastic bottle. The program was such a success that Bulgari plans to roll it out worldwide, to global markets including Italy, Spain and Germany where the company also spearheads children’s causes.
“I think kids at that age start to form ideas and need avenues to express themselves. I think if you can tap into them at that age and get them excited about something it sets them up for success,” said Paltridge.
From Nov. 20, the Children’s Museum Houston is exhibiting all 600 regional participants’ works. The artists range in age from about five to 11 years old.
Arts education is among one of the first programs to see budget cuts in underserved areas and Paltridge said that in the Arte di Bulgari districts, “[Arts education] is either underfunded or not part of the curriculum.”
He added that the two U.S. regions were chosen in conjunction with Save the Children, which pinpointed school districts where “they don’t have a huge array of after school activities available. But also the school districts are eager to get involved, we need them to have a willingness. We found that in California and Houston kids were very excited but also educators themselves take passion in the projects.”
Save the Children’s vice president of U.S. programs Betsy Zorio, added in a statement: “Today’s children are tomorrow’s artists, engineers, teachers and business leaders, and we are so excited to collaborate with Bulgari and Children’s Museum Houston to be able to engage children in artistic expression and shine a spotlight on their hopes for the future…Arts programs for children can have a significant, positive impact on their development, yet far too many children have limited exposure to the arts.”