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Art as a reflection of people and society

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For generations, art has been central to religions, societies and cultures. Pictures and other artistic mediums have been used to tell a story and capture important moments in time. More than that, they cause people to think and reflect.

As a leader of a wealth management firm I am often asked why we sponsor an art collection. The simple response? It is a way to connect with our clients and the communities in which we live and work in a compelling and meaningful way. But the answer is much more than that.

We believe in the power of art to enrich our lives and enhance our communities. In 2011, RBC invested $2.4 million in grants to programs that support emerging artists. Visual arts have the ability to help shape our society, by reflecting it, criticizing it, or embellishing it.

RBC Wealth Management began collecting art in the early 1990s. It provided a way to connect with and reflect the society in which our employees and clients live and work.

One unique way we support local communities is by sharing our world-class contemporary art collection called “The Human Touch.” Each year, we present 40 pieces from the collection in museums and universities in select cities.

Currently, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is hosting “The Human Touch: Selections from the RBC Wealth Management Art Collection.” This exhibition opened on April 26 and will be available for public viewing until September 14.

But, this is no ordinary corporate art exhibition.

The 400-piece art collection features notable artists including Roy Lichtenstein, Luis Gispert, Willie Birch, Roland Fischer and Chuck Close. The pieces displayed in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art were specifically chosen to be enjoyed by the Eugene community.

With a focus on the human figure the collection ranges from serious to whimsical, from realistic to abstract, from paintings to three-dimensional works, from photography to works on canvas, and from large scale to small. Diversity exists among the artists who created the work, in the scenes depicted and in the human figures represented.

I have heard it said that a financial advisor must have the mind of an economist and the heart of a philanthropist. I will add that they need to have the soul of an artist.

When helping people to plan for their financial future it isn’t all about numbers. There needs to be a connection to the client and an understanding of who they are, what they want to achieve and what legacy they want to leave. In that respect, financial advice is both about finance and art.

Money is the currency for a person to obtain the basic necessities of life. But, art is the way we interpret life.

“The Human Touch: Selections From the RBC Wealth Management Art Collection” will be displayed at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art until September 14, 2014 containing forty major works by international contemporary artists. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, any college student with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students.

JTaftJohn Taft is the head of RBC Wealth Management in the United States.




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