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A woman stands in front of paintings in a building.
Yvette, an artist who works with ArtLifting, has two paintings on the 30th floor at 3 Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A woman stands in front of paintings in a building.
Yvette, an artist who works with ArtLifting, has two paintings on the 30th floor at 3 Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Diversity & Inclusion
October 26, 2021

ArtLifting brings the work of artists from historically marginalized communities to Wells Fargo’s corporate collection

The works of nine artists are featured in the new Connections space on the 30th floor and 31st executive floors of 3 Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The smile on Yvette’s face was bright, much like her paintings hanging on the 30th and 31st floors of 3 Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The particular painting, eliciting this particular smile, represents an inspiring moment in Yvette’s burgeoning career. A few feet away from her work is a 1986 painting by famed artist — and her favorite — Andy Warhol.

“I never would’ve thought it,” she said. “My paintings hanging near Warhol? I’m just blessed. I thank everybody.”

The work of Yvette and eight other artists featured on the 30th and 31st floors is there thanks to Wells Fargo’s association with ArtLifting. Founded in 2013 by siblings Liz and Spencer Powers, ArtLifting is an organization championing artists who have been impacted by housing insecurity and disabilities.

Through the sale and celebration of their artwork, ArtLifting artists earn an income for the work they are creating, as well as gain confidence, which spreads to all aspects of their lives.

Paintings in an office building with a woman walking by.
Founded in 2013 by siblings Liz and Spencer Powers, ArtLifting is an organization championing artists who have been impacted by housing insecurity and disabilities. Eleven original artworks by its artists hang on the 30th floor at 3 Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina. Click to expand.
Watch Wells Fargo’s ArtLifting virtual tour
The 11 original artworks procured by Wells Fargo for its corporate art collection include didactic labels — additional educational information added for visitor knowledge — with the use of braille. Click to watch a video with more information on the paintings and artists. (2:33)

“If it wasn’t for ArtLifting I don’t know where I’d be,” Yvette said. “Those people need a lot of kudos for believing in people like me.”

The artists behind the 11 original artworks Wells Fargo purchased from ArtLifting live with a variety of disabilities and experiences, including AIDS, cancer, autism, retinitis pigmentosa, bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety, depression, formerly homeless/living with housing insecurity, military veteran, and immigrant. Additionally, seven are women and five are Black artists, all from diverse segments of our society that are underrepresented in corporate art collections.

“The art world is traditionally a monolith," said Christina Bailey, chief growth officer at ArtLifting. “That’s why Wells Fargo purchasing ArtLifting’s artwork for your collection — and installing it in a newly designed and collaborative space — is incredibly meaningful. You all are differentiating yourselves by saying ‘We value different perspectives and lived experiences. We value inclusion.’ It’s powerful.”

Two people stand to the left and right of a painting.
Christina Bailey, ArtLifting’s chief growth officer, and Addi Spearman, the company’s Director of Customer Success, worked with Wells Fargo to pick 11 original artworks for its corporate collection. Click to expand.
A woman sits beside her artwork.
A common refrain from artist Yvette is “don’t be afraid of a little color.” Her customed-designed shoes, she said, were born out of that philosophy. Click to expand.
"Wells Fargo's generosity of spirit in partnering with ArtLifting has a very direct and positive impact on the lives and livelihood of artists like myself." - Cheryl Kinderknecht

Yvette is a 20-year veteran of the Army and lives with PTSD.

“When I first learned about ArtLifting, I didn’t think my disability counted,” she said. “And I never thought my art would be in a building like this. It’s amazing. I’ve been creating art my whole life, since high school really, even though I don’t have any formal training. It’s something that’s always been in my spirit.”

In addition to the pieces from ArtLifting artists, the collection includes didactic labels (additional educational information added for visitor knowledge) with the use of braille.

“Instead of defining people by their circumstances, we should define them by their talent,” said ArtLifting co-founder Liz Powers. “Everyone has talents, and those talents, if recognized, can collectively have a huge impact on the economy and individuals’ feelings of self-worth.”

Artworks on the wall as a man walks by.
“Fantasies of an Introvert” by Aneliya Kostova, a native of Bulgaria now living in New York City, is shown in the foreground. She calls art an “the best way” to express her feelings. Click to expand.
Artwork hangs in a conference room as a man walks by.
“Untitled” by Yvette is displayed in an executive conference room on the 30th floor of 3 Wells Fargo in Charlotte. Click to expand.

Abbie Wilson and Emily van Zyl, construction portfolio managers based in Charlotte, selected the pieces while collaborating with the design architect and Wells Fargo Connections and Workplace Experience teams.

“Emily and I are really proud of how it turned out,” Wilson said. “Anyone who has visited the space has given positive remarks about the art. It’s beautiful and works with the overall design. More than that, we think the lesson we learned is applicable to everyone at the company — you don’t have to look in the usual places to find great things.”

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