PepsiCo’s Lifewtr brand is joining with prominent Black artists to immortalize Black protest art while helping fund supplies for 100 lesser-known creators.
The centerpiece of the effort is what Lifewtr calls a “digital time capsule” titled Black Art Rising. It’s an online exhibition established to document artistic responses to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
Among the artists who submit original creations, 100 will each win $500 to offset the cost of art supplies, plus inclusion of their work in Black Art Rising. Since the program began earlier this month, more than 2,500 have shared their creations on Instagram using #BlackArtRisingContest and tagging @LIFEWTR.
Artists don’t have to be Black to enter the contest, according to Michael Smith, head of marketing communication, PepsiCo Water+ Portfolio.
“The program obviously lends itself to African Americans and Black people for sure,” Smith tells Marketing Daily. “But I think we’re really looking for any work from anyone who feels inspired by the movement for social justice and can help depict the impact of the protest movement on our society.”
At its launch, Black Art Rising featured works from eight artists who have commented on racial justice. They include Tobe Nwigwe, a hip-hop performer whose works reflect his difficult upbringing as a first-generation Nigerian in Houston.
In this video shared by Lifewtr, Nwigwe performs “Make It Home,” in which he talks about how “the world can be toxic. Especially when your skin looked like chocolate. At one point they sold us for profit.”
Lifewtr, Nwigwe and “special guest judges” will decide the winning contest entries—most of which have been in the form of drawings and paintings.
“We’re getting a lot of imagery that shows people holding up their original work, so it feels much less like someone just posting something in their Instagam feed,” Smith says.
The other seven (mostly visual) artists who are featured in Black Art Rising are Temi Coker, Reyna Noriega, Thomas Evans, Shae Anthony, Dr. Fahamu Pecou, Max Sansing and Lauren (Lo) Harris.
Lifewtr will soon announce how people can win works of art displayed in Black Art Rising.
Separately, PepsiCo today announced that the PepsiCo Foundation is providing a $10 million grant to fund the Black Restaurant Accelerator program with National Urban League.
PepsiCo said the program will “boost approximately 500 Black-owned businesses over the next five years” by providing current and aspiring Black restaurateurs with access to capital, training, mentorship and other support services.