Feb 14, 2023

TD Bank and Mural Arts Philadelphia

by: Chad Eric Smith

Since 2020, the Philadelphia Fellowship for Black Artists has been sponsored by TD Bank, which has extensively supported Mural Arts efforts to elevate Black artists and help create a career path within Philadelphia’s arts community.  We asked Shelley Sylva, TD’s Head of Corporate Citizenship, about the TD Ready Commitment. Check out her answers to our questions below!

The TD Ready Commitment is targeting $1 billion in community giving by 2030 to organizations working towards a more inclusive and sustainable tomorrow.  How does TD Bank’s commitment to Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Fellowship for Black Artists help improve the lives of Philadelphians? 

One of the key focus areas of the TD Ready Commitment is called “Connected Communities,” and a large piece of that is really about opening doors for opportunity in arts and culture and elevating diverse artists. Our support of Mural Arts Philadelphia does exactly that.

Philadelphia is my hometown; of course, I’ve always known how art is part of our DNA, and much outstanding talent is grown here. But it’s important that the world knows. TD’s support of diverse artists helps ensure that the world has the opportunity to see and appreciate this history in the making, which in turn elevates the city I love.

Why is it important to TD Bank that people, especially artists of color, feel more confident about their financial future?  

We know our communities are better off when all of us feel secure. When we created the TD Ready Commitment, we did so based on data that made it abundantly clear that many groups were lacking the tools and tactics to feel confident. One group, in particular, was Black artists – historically, they simply didn’t have the same opportunities, so we wanted to provide that access.

How do TD Bank’s efforts to support arts and culture organizations like Mural Arts amplify diverse voices and create a sense of belonging? 

Supporting projects and initiatives that help people come together, get involved, and feel a sense of belonging is a big part of the TD Ready Commitment. And representation is critical – seeing diversity in arts and culture helps others know they have a voice and encourages them to be open and present.

Why does TD Bank think the arts and culture sector is vital to the greater economy? 

Because it’s been proven time and again that art adds value! When people come together and socialize with art as a central focus, it affects local businesses, which stimulates job growth, leads to upticks in tourism, and, in turn, has an exponential effect on other industries and communities. There are some who argue art is just a “nice to have,” but art is an additive that is vital to the economic health of the world around us.

Mural Arts believes that “Art Ignites Change.” What kind of positive social change would TD Bank like to see occur as a result of its partnership with Mural Arts?

We want to see barriers lowered and an increase in opportunities for those who’ve historically faced barriers to certain careers – not only in the arts but across the board. We know that when people are included and engaged– when they feel fully empowered and really connected to the world – good things happen.

Last updated: Feb 14, 2023

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