The Heart of Neiman Marcus foundation (HONM) was launched in 2013 with a goal to promote and support youth arts education. For many public schools across the country, arts education is often times one of the first programs to be eliminated when they face budget cuts. Our goal is to not only raise awareness of the funding need, but to align with organizations that can augment and reach as many K-12 students as possible, particularly those that do not traditionally has access to the arts education and experiences (which historically is the lower socio-economic population). Research shows that students who receive an arts-infused curriculum tend to matriculate and graduate at higher rates, score higher on the SAT, and become more creative problem solvers and engaged civic leaders. We strive, along with our partners, to level the playing field and give all students an opportunity to explore and develop their creative skills so that they can thrive and reach their greatest potential.
Our CEO, Karen Katz, has been quoted as saying "Among retailers, Neiman Marcus is unique for our incomparable corporate art collection. We create a memorable shopping experience by offering extraordinary merchandise and gracious service in stores that are filled with extraordinary artwork."
NMG's Food Services division (which includes the award winning Zodiac restaurants) wanted a creative way to highlight the HONM youth arts education program in their restaurants and cafes across the country in the 42 markets in which we operate. The "Designing heART healthy" initiative was born and included both the culinary and visual art disciplines.
They launched a partnership with Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) and Medical City Dallas (MCD) to conduct a healthy recipe contest with area high school students. As part of the standard curriculum of the Texas ProStart program, students learn the art of cooking and restaurant management. The recipe contest further develops their culinary skills and teaches nutrition and healthy alternatives. The winning recipes would be featured on the children's menu/placemat.
Additionally, HONM partnered with Girl Scout of Northeast Texas (GSNT) to conduct a contest in which girl scouts from the Dallas-Fort Worth area would compete to have their design featured on the children's menu/placemat. GSNT developed a curriculum that not only aligned with the arts, but with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).The girls could choose from one of four themes (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter).For completing the curriculum, each girl earned a Neiman Marcus Butterfly patch. This was truly a collaboration of multiple business units and nonprofit partners coming together to highlight both the culinary and creative arts…and incorporating STEM as a bonus.
This initiative not only achieved our goals of reaching as many kids as possible to educate about art, it also served as a platform to educate the general public that there is a need across the country for arts education. Additionally, the healthy recipe contest highlighted the shift to more conscious consumption…even for kids.
Students from three Dallas-area schools competed in the healthy recipe contest and six recipes were selected. The art contest notice was sent to almost 30,000 girls in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of which, 1,700 registered to participate. In the end, over 600 pieces of art were received to be judged and ultimately there were four winners all between the ages of six and ten.