ART – The #ART component of Business-Art-Technology for 2018. The next set of #BAT2018 awards.
Previously we recognized the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, founded in 1929, as an organization worthy of #BAT2018 note. Now let’s explore what it takes to be heard. Winning organizations captures our imagination and move us to action. Whether the message is subtle or loud, we take note because a vision of possibility appeals to us. Cancer is a myriad of diseases and the painstaking attention to detail and large funding requirements need solid coordination.
MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research was formed just 8 years ago to bring together biologists, chemists and engineers. These top-of-field researchers and post docs come from focus areas of chemical and mechanical engineering, material and computer science in a collaborative approach to develop new insights and new tools to diagnose, treat and or prevent the disease.
Their ranks are filled with people elected to the National Academy of Engineering, Sciences or Medicine and five current or former faculty members have been awarded the Nobel Prize. I’ve had the opportunity to hear and speak with Nobel Laureate Phillip Sharp, a geneticist. He was keynote speaker at the 8th annual Kendall Square Association meeting and used humor and video clips to drive home the message to the audience: Research is Important. The money spent today delivers life-saving miracles down the road through meticulous research and collaborative efforts. The time-frame is a long one and the fundraising efforts to put money directly in the hands of researchers is often convoluted and confusing. Fundraising costs and overhead often eat away at the net sum delivered to a laboratory.
One way Phillip Sharp reached beyond the boundaries was to get involved with the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Stand Up to Cancer initiative as chair of their Scientific Committee. Just imagine the exchange of skill sets when Hollywood and a Nobel Laureate collaborate.
On the ground floor of the building in which he and his collaborators work is a public gallery. From the outside it looks like an art exhibit with these huge wall hangings. Executive Director Anne E. Deconinck explained that the annual Koch Institute Image Awards were established to recognize and publicly display the extraordinary visuals that can give scientists and non-scientists alike a glimpse into what was previously the nearly invisible biological world. There’s engineering and biology and a bit of humor because upon close inspection of the works, you find inspiring titles like “shape shifters: cancer cells in motion” and “Hashtag no filter: visualizing breast cancer conversations.”
The public galleries help educate and engage the non-science public. The images are amazingly effective. What might have been viewed as an everyday object to scientists with limited audience is now a cloth printed window display into their world. Most importantly, it is now understandable and viewable by the public, a necessary part of transforming health by supporting and funding research.
Traveling with me on my most recent trip to the Koch Institute was Maine Acrylic artist Maria Castellano-Usery looking to gain additional insights to accelerate the fundraising efforts of her Brushstrokes with Impact™ program. Where Koch is a research institution using social media and visual displays to humanize and raise awareness for the need of everyday citizens to support research, Maria is an artist using real-time events and social media to raise funds for and increase awareness of critical programs in the underfunded areas where an engaged citizenry rather than government entities can make a difference.
Both The Koch Institute and Maria Castellano-Usery create strong community engagement through social media, posted content and video. They key in on effective communication with a clear, concise message that uses visuals. Each in their own way are raising awareness and encouraging a community to support and take action. Their work today insures tomorrow’s health miracles will happen.
Business, Art and Technology are working seamlessly here. The internet is a great equalizer – and amplifier. It doesn’t matter if you are a large institution with lots of walls to overcome or an individual contributor with a message to share, B- A – T spell success on many levels.
For compelling use of Art, I give a #BAT2018 award to artists like Maria and institutions like the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.