words/images Judith Ecochard
For us, grades K-4th grade were misery, not totally awful like middle school aka the Black Hole, but significantly so...and our saving grace was always 2x/week art class and gym...
And sadly enough-those are usually the first things cut out of a school budget...with many teachers- and all the ones we know, buying materials for their young students with their own funds.
A long intro to a vital organization that helps under-served kids and their families in the Big Apple...Free Arts NYC-a nearly 15 years young NGO that offers mentoring and arts programs-so that hopefully, these individuals benefit from not only an educational arts curriculum that inspires and fosters self-confidence---but is also FUN!
What a terrific way to re-launch/debut its flagship store in the U.S. A.---fashion/functional/comfort brand Clarks (we just reviewed the Fall 2012 collection)...ably guided by JIM SALZANO, CEO-MELISSA POTTER-over from the U.K. and marketing chief MARGARET NEWVILLE...
|10% of sales' proceeds generated go to Free Arts NYC through June 1st, 2012|
The Free Arts NYC program paired rather stylishly with footwear/accessories company ...via its Clark's Original desert boot---with the kids putting their own stamp on the classic kicker---with their imaginative inspirations ---originating from a place they would like to go to.
We had a nice chat with Melissa Potter, CEO of Clarks, who clued us in a just how worldwide the company's distribution is---with its own stores-hundreds of them- all over the world...including India (lots of sandals are popular there), South America, China and Japan.
This 23 year veteran of the company (WOW, that's impressive too, imho)...also told us that the best-selling styles are universally appealing...that a fashionable, comfortable shoe will appeal to any woman, anywhere.
"Who wouldn't want that?"
Happily, we think there are a lot of styles from their summer 2012 collection that will appeal to anyone who knows the value of being able to chicly walk around- all day- without pain imposed.
|Savvy-the Union Jack inspired|
|Prince WIlliam's wedding/military shoe- ...re-interpreted|
|we love the wedge...on the Wallabees|
|Melissa Potter(l) and Margaret Newville, Sr. VP of Marketing|
|Jim Salzano, Exec. V. P.-Emphasized how Clarks' mission included participating (meaningfully, we think) as active members of local communities|
|Liz Hopfan, Executive Director, Free Arts NYC|
|Reasons to be cheerful---happy, creative kids, for sure|