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Commerce team members support LGBTQIA+ nonprofits in Annual Art Show & Fundraiser.

Earlier this year, nearly 100 team members brought Commerce Bank’s 4th annual 6x6 Team Member Art Show & Fundraiser to life. The event was presented by PRIDE, Commerce’s LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group (ERG). The fundraiser featured original, six inch by six inch works of art created by Commerce team members that were anonymously critiqued by a panel of team-member judges and auctioned off to the highest bidder, with all proceeds going to LGBTQIA+ focused nonprofits.

Commerce’s PRIDE ERG works to provide an open forum where LGBTQIA+ and allied teammates with a shared interest can aspire, develop and collaborate to reach their highest potential. PRIDE’s 600+ members represent Commerce in our communities and serve as a key resource for specific consumer and employee insights.

Jay Johnson, senior video production specialist with Commerce, shared how the show came to be. “A group of folks in PRIDE had been toying around with the idea of an art show for a while. We eventually connected with Robin Trafton, Commerce’s Art Curator, who had the wonderful idea of limiting the show to pieces that are six inches by six inches, and it’s been a big hit ever since. Giving people one criteria — in our case, size — really helps people to focus on the medium and the message.”

Another bit of serendipity ended up being the pandemic. “We were just kicking things off in 2020, and originally we were going to host the event at one of our corporate facilities in St. Louis and then potentially also in Kansas City” Johnson added. “The pandemic forced us to go virtual, which ended up meaning that employees across our 12-state footprint could participate. Now we do a hybrid event, but folks can join virtually from anywhere in our network.”

2024’s event featured 28 pieces by 17 Commerce teammates, raising more than $3,000 for five LGBTQIA+ oriented nonprofit organizations that play a vital role in protecting the health, wellbeing and safety of LGBTQIA+ community members across Missouri and Kansas:

Commerce Bancshares Foundation also contributed funds to each of the winners’ nonprofit of choice.

“It’s so rewarding for me to see all of this creativity coming from different parts of the bank,” said Johnson. “The artists who participate come from all over the bank — from legal and the mailroom to accounting — and the level of skill and creativity just blows my mind.” Pieces have ranged from painted stone to stained glass and even woodworks. Johnson is such a fan of one of the artists that he commissioned a piece for himself, outside of the show.

Commerce congratulates and appreciates all of the team members who put time, talent and treasure into making this year’s event such a success!

2nd Place – Kelly Cunningham
Unity Can Move Mountains

3rd Place – Aaron Jackson
Virtual Sunset & Alien Ocean (tied)

Virtual Sunset (L) and Alien Ocean (R) by Aaron Jackson 

Audience Choice – Kelly Cunningham
Unity Can Move Mountains

1st Place – Fallan Wahlert 
Peaceful Night

Fallan Wahlert – Peaceful Night

Disclosures:

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