MY MUSEUM: PNC was recently recognized as one of the country’s top supporters of the arts. Why do you feel it is important to support the arts in Birmingham?
JIM HANSEN: Arts and culture are truly part of the economic fabric of any city, state, and region. If the arts, culture, and entertainment scene is vibrant and well supported, more than likely our restaurants are busy, performance venues are booked, residents have jobs, and commerce and economic development are happening. What’s more, this vibrancy lends itself to the betterment of the area, making it a great place to live, work, and play. We have been fortunate to establish relationships with various well-respected partners, and many have been with arts and culture organizations. PNC entered the Alabama market in March of 2012. As one of the largest financial institutions in America with over 57,000 employees operating in 19 states and the District of Columbia, we have a 160-year tradition of reinforcing and enriching the communities where we do business. Our mindset is that arts and business are not separate entities—they’re integral. It’s our business, as well as our employees’ and clients’, to have quality arts in our community.
MM: How are PNC employees positively affected by your involvement at the Museum?
JH: Supporting and being involved with the Museum allows our employees to become more engaged in the Birmingham community, and also experience how our corporate philanthropy provides opportunities for others. They recognize the importance of this support, and find ways to continue to give back, both individually and as part of our organization.
MM: In addition to supporting the arts, PNC is extremely philanthropic in the Birmingham community. What do you look for when choosing to support an organization?
JH: Birmingham has an incredible reputation for philanthropy as a result of decades of commitment from many corporate leaders, families, and more. As such, we always look forward to doing our part to support the community and creating opportunities for businesses, families, and individuals—our employees included. We find there are great organizations that make a tangible difference in our community. We look fororganizations with a history of leadership in the community, efficacy, innovation, and those with an appetite to be placemakers.
MM: As a relatively new company in Birmingham, how do you think the Museum plays a role in attracting and retaining businesses?
JH: The Birmingham Museum of Art is one of the cultural icons of this city. From the high quality exhibitions to the expansive collection, and also the great programming by expert staff, the Museum is truly a remarkable asset to have in Birmingham. It helps make the city a great place to be, which we hope companies recognize and reflect upon as they work to recruit talent and expand their businesses. We are truly fortunate to have this institution here in the center of our city.
MM: Delacroix and the Matter of Finish opens in February and the Museum is thrilled that PNC is the presenting sponsor of this exhibition. What draws you to support the BMA through sponsorship?
JH: Through PNC’s long-standing partnership with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, we had the opportunity to access and present a special exhibition at the BMA in summer 2012 titled Warhol and Cars: American Icons. When we asked Director Gail Andrews and her team to consider taking the exhibition on, they not only agreed, but also did a phenomenal job executing the entire project. From that point on, we knew we had a fantastic long-term partner in the Museum. It was such a great experience showcasing Warhol, we signed on as presenting sponsor of Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project. This was a great opportunity to renew our partnership with the Museum and support the 50 Years Forward commemoration throughout the city.Now we are very excited about Delacroix and the Matter of Finish. It’s such a treat to have the works of this European master artist in Birmingham and, once again, the Museum has found a way to bring unique and impactful artistic programming to the Magic City. We are always able to realize the benefits of supporting the Birmingham Museum of Art, and look forward to all Delacroix and the Matter of Finish will bring to our community.