Looking back, moving forward
At Pond5, we are committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This philosophy underpins our daily operations and inspires the relationships we build with our creative community. We believe in the transformative power of art and the importance of fostering opportunities for underrepresented artists. In honor of Juneteenth, we take the opportunity to shine a spotlight on justice and representation. Our past drives have led to fulfilling partnerships, allowing us to see firsthand that bridging access gaps helps artists achieve remarkable things for their communities while enriching the global creative landscape.
This year, Pond5 and Shutterstock are donating $20,000 to two fantastic organizations that are making a difference. These are NBAF (National Black Arts Festival), our collaborators since 2020, and our new partners, Reel Works, who are training the next generation of filmmakers.
National Black Arts Festival
NBAF is an NPO with a 35-year legacy of fostering opportunities for Black artists to realize their potential. They’re shaping a more equitable and impactful arts ecosystem that values the transformative impact that Black art has made on our world and uplifts and supports the contributions of rising artists. Their robust programming includes initiatives in music, dance, film, fashion, theater, and visual and literary arts. They also recently introduced the Artist Project Fund, offering cohorts the opportunity for financial investment, providing community support, networking opportunities, and educational resources. The NBAF Next Gen Artist Program is a youth arts education initiative that provides public high schoolers with structured artistic experiences. These include mentorship, workshops, and professional arts opportunities. Behind all this is a passionate team on a mission to provide exposure, educate, engage, and entertain audiences with art and artists of African descent.
“NBAF seeks to ensure that the art and stories of Black people are highlighted and celebrated,” said Stephanie Owens, Executive Director of NBAF. “We are committed to our work that focuses on equity and impact as we uplift the beautiful contributions of Black artists. We are truly excited to continue this work in our 35th year of multidisciplinary programming alongside partners like Shutterstock and Pond5.”
In the spirit of NBAF’s inner vision, “Moving in Unity. Creating in Excellence”, we are excited to help support their next goal: larger-scale, festival-style events. And the work doesn’t stop after Juneteenth. Since our initial connection in 2020, Pond5 and NBAF have hosted an artist workshop together introducing their cohorts to stock content and what it means to become a contributor. We’re excited to pursue additional collaborations in the future.
Interested in learning more about NBAF? Check out this 2022 recap.
We’re making our first donation to Reel Works and are excited about what we can achieve together. Reel Works is creating equitable solutions within the entertainment industry by forging new pathways from classrooms to careers. As one cohort puts it: In an industry with the reputation of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” young talents can enter open doors they would never have had without the support of a caring, professional network.
Reel Works aims to benefit underserved students of all backgrounds in New York City and beyond. Especially in the remarkable way they ignite passion among those who have never touched a camera before. These same individuals feel they have a “found family,” pursuing big dreams with new life and career goals. Through mentorship with professional filmmakers and practical opportunities, Reel Works is creating the next generation of creators who will show the world as it is. Alums have gone on to study at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, work at Condé Nast, and build award-winning film portfolios.
The impact Reel Works continues to make is striking. We therefore consider them the perfect organization to collaborate with, together with Shutterstock. We look forward to continuing our partnership beyond Juneteenth.
“Here at Reel Works, it is our mission to help bridge the opportunity gap within the entertainment industry by creating new pathways from classrooms to careers for students of all backgrounds in New York City and beyond,” said Keisha Katz, Director of Workforce and External Partnerships. “It is an incredible honor to be recognized by Shutterstock and Pond5. With the help of their support, we are proudly able to continue amplifying our young artists’ inclusive, barrier-breaking stories and ensure their voices are heard.”
Watch this video to hear what the young creators they support have to say.
We are proud to support NBAF in uplifting and celebrating Black artists. And it is an honor to help Reel Works support 1700 underserved students this year in pursuing their dreams. We hope our donation and our continued partnership will help amplify their voices and pave the way for a more inclusive creative landscape. Together, we move forward with a vision of unity, excellence, and a shared belief in the power of art to inspire change.