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Commerce Bank Launches First-Ever Online Art Exhibition Supporting Local Communities, Artists

‘What Matters Most’ art commission inspires hope, positivity

St. Louis, MO – April 23, 2021 – Commerce Bank has launched What Matters Most, a commissioned art project and online exhibition, one year following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of the Covid-19 global pandemic. In its inaugural year, What Matters Most sought to inspire joy and creativity following a year marked with extraordinary changes, challenges, and uncertainties for many. Commerce worked with local art organizations in eight metropolitan areas within its retail banking footprint who recommended an artist in each of the eight areas. These artists were given an illustration commission to create new, uplifting artwork based on the artist’s experience of the past year. The artists were asked to create a piece inspired by a theme, seen below, which is connected to Commerce Bank’s purpose statement.

Since its founding, Commerce has had a long tradition of supporting the arts and is committed to helping people do what they’re dreaming of and take care of the things they love. The What Matters Most project provided an opportunity to reinforce the healing power of the arts, its cultural importance and its ability to connect people and communities.

“Now more than ever, as we’ve passed the 1-year anniversary since the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, it’s crucial to remind ourselves of positivity and to find things that inspire us and lift our mood,” said Paula Petersen, Director of Specialty Consumer Lending and Strategic Services. “As we find new ways to connect and pull closer together, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been, and the uncertainty we’ve faced. It is in this spirit that Commerce sought to tap into the power of the arts to foster creativity and energy that can help shine a light on what matters most. This project was a wonderful opportunity to do just that, all while supporting local artists and the communities where we live and work.”

Images of the finished artwork and the artists’ statement is displayed in an online gallery,, and promoted on Commerce Bank’s Instagram page. To learn more about the project, the art organizations that supported the effort and the featured artists, visit

Theme: On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Nearly a year has passed since that time, and for many, life as we once knew it has changed. We’ve been social distancing, wearing masks and Zooming our way through meetings and social gatherings for almost 365 days. The events of the past year have caused many of us to take a step back, re-evaluate priorities and shift our focus to what is most important.

As you view life in 2021, what matters most to you? What lifts you up, what inspires you, what keeps you going? Art is a way to communicate when words are hard to find, and a way to bring us all together as we look to provide a message of hope for the future. Share your art with us and help bring meaning to what it is you feel matters most.

At Commerce Bank, we believe the human connection, inspired through art, is just as important as any financial matter. We want to inspire new art to mark this time and the experiences we’ve had, both together and apart, over the past 12 months. Through your artistic expression, tell us...what matters most?

About Commerce Bank

With $33.3 billion in assets1, Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBSH) is a registered bank holding company offering a full line of banking services, including payment solutions, investment management and securities brokerage. Commerce Bank, a subsidiary of Commerce Bancshares, Inc., leverages more than 150 years of proven strength and experience to help individuals and businesses solve financial challenges. In addition to offering payment solutions across the U.S., Commerce Bank currently operates full-service banking facilities across the Midwest including the St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas, Springfield, Central Missouri, Central Illinois, Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Denver. It also maintains commercial offices in Dallas, Houston, Cincinnati, Nashville, Des Moines, Indianapolis, and Grand Rapids. Commerce delivers high-touch service and sophisticated financial solutions at regional branches, commercial offices, ATMs, online, mobile and through a 24/7 customer service line. Learn more at

1. As of March 31, 2021