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NYC Art from Boston firm turns heads

  • Published on March 10, 2017
NYC Art from Boston firm turns heads

Public displays of sculptures rarely evoke discussions of who sits on the board of directors of corporate boardrooms, or gender equality within financial services firms. This week that has changed as Boston-based State Street Global Advisors, working with their agency McCann, commissioned a head-turning statue that now sits in the heart of New York City financial district. This relatively small piece of art and the message it carries has captured public interest across the country.

The art is a bronze statue titled Fearless Girl, and it was placed on Wall Street earlier this week so that on International Women’s Day those visiting lower Manhattan would see her staring down another bronze statue, the familiar Charging Bull. With the placement of the Fearless Girl, a work of art is propelling a discussion about the lack of female presence in corporate boardrooms and female representation within the financial services industry as well.

The statue was placed by State Street Global Advisors as a way of highlighting the lack of women on corporate boards of directors. State Street is encouraging the public companies where they have invested funds to place more women in director’s roles. Although their effort is focused on the 3,500 companies in which State Street has invested, it sends a message to all organizations to be mindful of their leadership structure. State Street points to data showing the value of diversity on corporate boards. They list benefits ranging from higher stock prices, better valuations as well as returns on equity.

The art installation emphasizes hope for the future as well as a young woman showing that she belongs on Wall Street. It is the creation of artist Kristen Visbal, who runs a studio in Delaware that creates bronze sculptures.   Using a seven year old girl as a model, Visval created a persona that is easily identifiable, including having her hair pulled back, a dress and high-top sneakers. The plaque at the base of the sculpture reads, ‘‘Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.’’

While digital technologies have changed the process for art and design in recent years, the artistic process involved with creating sculptures has not evolved much in recent years. Artists and designers who tend to spend their day in Creative Cloud apps can see a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the bronze statue to gain an appreciation for the craftwork involved.

On its own board, State Street has more than 25% of its board seats held by women, and also has an exchanged traded fund that trades under the ticker symbol SHE, which is focused on investing in companies led by women. The fund also supports developing opportunities for female investment professionals.

Both State Street and McCann are clients of American Graphics Institute. Although AGI had no involvement with this project, we are certainly proud to work with organizations that have produced such a powerful piece of art.


About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.