While Statoil may have a strong focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives, the arts are also a key area of sponsorship for the Norwegian company. With the recent announcement of a post-secondary arts scholarship, and a sponsorship of a major music festival, the company is making its mark in the arts community in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The main objective of Statoil’s arts sponsorships is that there’s a focus on youth talent development,” says Kyra Grue, communications analyst at Statoil Canada Ltd. “Giving young people the opportunity to learn and excel in the areas of science, education, sports and culture is the foundation of Statoil’s global Heroes of Tomorrow sponsorship program.”
This year marks Statoil’s second as the presenting sponsor of the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival. “Through this sponsorship we’re able to help promote local and national folk artists, which we hope will in turn bring a positive impact to the local economy,” Grue says.
This sponsorship also provides a platform for encouraging the development of young talent. At this year’s festival, the Statoil MusicNL NewFound Talent Contest took place on the Neil Murray Stage for youth performers. Statoil also hosted a contest which gave youth who are passionate about music the chance to win a songwriting workshop with an established folk musician. This year’s musician was iconic Canadian children’s performer Fred Penner.
ArtsSmarts is another of Statoil’s key arts sponsorships, in partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education’s Cultural Connections Strategy, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association. “The program focuses on increasing the presence of cultural content in educational curriculum, and fostering links between arts and school communities,” Grue says. “By encouraging students to actively participate in the arts, we can help develop their intellectual skills and enhance their appreciation of the arts community in the short and long term,” she says. “The program also supports local artists by integrating them into the curriculum.”
One component of ArtsSmarts of which Statoil is particularly proud is the Statoil ArtsSmarts scholarship, which provides $2,500 to a high school student heading into an arts-focused, post-secondary program. “The scholarship reflects Statoil’s values and allows us to support a new graduate as they go on to explore a career in the arts,” Grue says.
Jane Soucy of Gander is the winner of the 2015 scholarship, which will go towards her studies at Memorial University’s School of Music. Soucy has acted as a piano instructor with the Kiwanis Music Summer Camp. She has also spent time teaching at the Entertainment Factory Summer Dinner Theatre and with her local dance studio this summer where she led 11 classes in ballet. Soucy continues to take five hours of dance and two hours each of vocal, piano, guitar, choir, and drama training per week, and volunteers her time with various projects and charities.
With a global arts program also a part of their corporate giving, Statoil makes arts and youth support a business priority around the world.
“Statoil believes that engaging with art and supporting young and emerging artists contributes to cultural development in the communities where we do business,” Grue says. “By pursuing arts-focused sponsorships we can help keep Newfoundland and Labrador’s rich heritage alive and be part of the cultural legacy of the province.”