50 jewelry companies spearheading Art Smith scholarship to support black jewelry design students – JCK

Jewelry brand agency Bicoastal For Future Reference and jewelry designer Brent Neale Winston announced Wednesday that they have co-founded a $ 50,000 endowment to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) that will create scholarships and ongoing mentorships for supporting black students participating in the school’s jewelry design program.

The Art Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund, named in honor of the late black jewelry designer Art Smith, one of the leading modernist jewelers of the mid-20th century, is funded by a coalition of 50 fine jewelry brands and public relations agencies. known (see the full list in the graphic below).

“People of color are historically under-represented in the jewelry industry and our goal is to reverse that statistic, with your help, one student at a time,” read the foundation’s landing page. “We stand in solidarity with the black community and with all victims of racism. We will continue to invest our time, energy and resources to support historically marginalized communities, and we will increase our efforts to fight for the systemic changes that are so urgent. “

Randi Molofsky, co-founder of For Future Reference, tells JCK, “Education is the great equalizer, so we wanted to invest our money in a sustainable initiative that would support students for years to come. “

Molofsky added, “The lack of black jewelry designers in the jewelry industry is, frankly, a major problem, and change starts with access. By creating an open endowment, the money is reinvested and grows with all generous donations from the industry and beyond. “

Art Smith scholarship fund
The list of brands that have contributed to the Art Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund

Arthur George “Art” Smith (1917-1982) was born to Jamaican parents in Cuba. His family moved to Brooklyn, NY, in 1920, and Smith showed artistic talent from an early age. After graduating from Cooper Union, he took an evening course in jewelry making at New York University, which in conjunction with his friendship and eventual apprenticeship with Winifred Mason, a black jewelry designer who is became his mentor, put him on the path to his adult artistic life.

He specialized in bold, wearable sculpture that was worn and loved by modern dancers and famous clients, including Duke and Ruth Ellington. Influenced by surrealism and African motifs, his pieces in silver, brass and copper were designed to move with the human body.

The Art Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund is now open to donations of any size. Donate directly here.

Above: jewelry designer Art Smith (photo courtesy of For Future Reference)

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