American Express to gift US$1 million to benefit Young Audiences Arts for Learning and co-host Yellow Ball fundraiser with Pharrell

American Express and Pharrell Williams announced an expanded partnership and joint commitment to raise awareness and support to bring more arts education to schools across the US.

As part of the collaboration, American Express Platinum and Pharrell will host a fundraising event, called the Yellow Ball, with an all-star lineup of collaborators on 10 September, at the Brooklyn Museum to benefit Young Audiences Arts for Learning. The credit card brand will also gift US$1 million/£780,000 to Young Audiences, one of the largest arts-in-education network in the US whose work strives to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts.

According to research commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts, students’ involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardised test scores, more community service, and lower dropout rates. Despite this positive impact, there is still a critical need to increase support and funding for arts education in schools across the country.

Pharrell has been the Creative Director of the Platinum Card since 2016 helping to influence, inspire and inform the access, experiences and services offered to Platinum Card Members. In addition to co-hosting the Yellow Ball, Pharrell designed a limited edition yellow Platinum Card to thank US Consumer Platinum Card Members who support arts education through the Yellow Ball. Eligible Card Members may request a limited edition yellow Platinum Card, which will replace their existing Card, when they purchase a ticket to the Yellow Ball.

“Music and the arts have been part of my life since birth, but it was my teachers, Mr Warren, Mrs Warren and Mr Sharps, who exposed me to so many different kinds of music, that it expanded my mind and my imagination. I would not be where I am today without music and arts education in my school as a youth,” said Pharrell Williams.

“This is why I am so grateful that American Express is working with me to make sure we keep arts and music in our schools, accessible to all, where it belongs.”

Through his expanded role as an American Express global ambassador, Pharrell will also be featured in the brand’s new global campaign in a commercial that highlights how the company backs him as he travels the world to find inspiration for his music.

“As an artist, creator and business owner, Pharrell is the perfect person to bring to life our new global brand platform, which reflects the blended lives that our customers lead today. We are so excited to feature him in our new campaign and to partner with him to support the arts,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, Chief Marketing Officer, American Express.

“We encourage our Card Members to join us in celebrating and backing this important cause at the Yellow Ball later this year.”

The Yellow Ball was named and inspired by Pharrell, who views the colour as representing hope and optimism and is meant to help to shine a light on the need for arts education and its ability to pave the way for a brighter future.

The event will offer guests various experiences that celebrate and raise awareness for the arts in collaboration with partners of Pharrell and American Express Platinum, including:

American Express Platinum Collective member, and renowned artist, Daniel Arsham will create a multi-room immersive art installation that takes guests through three unique experiences that celebrate and demonstrate the importance of arts education for design and creativity; American Express Global Dining Collection Chef Dominique Crenn will curate a multi-course dinner experience designed to be a creative and artistic expression of the cuisine; Musical Performances by headliner Missy Elliott, as well as A$AP Ferg and DJ Stretch Armstrong.

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