Pharrell Williams and American Express Platinum to Host Gala Benefiting Arts Education

by Charles Manning

Today, American Express and Pharrell Williams announced an expanded partnership and joint commitment to raise awareness and support to bring more arts education to schools nationwide. As part of the collaboration, American Express Platinum and Williams will host a fundraising event, called the Yellow Ball, with an all-star lineup of collaborators, headlined by Missy Elliot, on September 10, at the Brooklyn Museum to benefit Young Audiences Arts for Learning. American Express will also gift $1 million to Young Audiences, the nation’s largest arts-in-education network whose work strives to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts.

Artwork by Daniel Arsham, a member of the American Express Platinum Collective. (American Express)

According to research commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts, students’ involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, more community service, and lower dropout rates. Despite this positive impact, there is still a critical need to increase support and funding for arts education in schools nationwide.

Williams has been the creative director of the platinum card since 2016, helping to influence, inspire, and inform the access, experiences, and services offered to platinum card members. In addition to co-hosting the Yellow Ball, WIlliams designed a limited edition yellow platinum card to thank U.S. consumer platinum card members who support arts education through the Yellow Ball. Eligible card members may request a limited edition yellow platinum card, which will replace their existing card, when they purchase a ticket to the Yellow Ball.

“Music and the arts have been part of my life since birth, but it was my teachers Mr. Warren, Mrs. Warren, and Mr. Sharps, who exposed me to so many different kinds of music, that it expanded my mind and my imagination,” said Williams in a statement. “I would not be where I am today without music and arts education in my school as a youth. This is why I am so grateful that American Express is working with me to make sure we keep arts and music in our schools, accessible to all, where it belongs.”

Through his expanded role as an American Express global ambassador, Williams will also be featured in American Express’ new global brand campaign in a commercial that highlights how the company backs him as he travels the world to find inspiration for his music.

“As an artist, creator, and business owner, Pharrell is the perfect person to bring to life our new global brand platform, which reflects the blended lives that our customers lead today. We are so excited to feature him in our new campaign and to partner with him to support the arts,” said Elizabeth Rutledge, American Express’s chief marketing officer. “The color Yellow was selected and inspired by Pharrell, who views the color and event as helping to shine a light on the need for arts education and its ability to pave the way for a brighter future.”

The event will offer guests various experiences that celebrate and raise awareness for the arts including:

  • Access to a multi-room immersive art installation by American Express Platinum Collective member, and renowned artist, Daniel Arsham. The installation will take guests through three unique experiences that celebrate and demonstrate the importance of arts education for design and creativity.
  • A multi-course dinner experience curated by American Express Global Dining Collection chef Dominique Crenn, designed to be a creative and artistic expression of the cuisine.
  • Musical performances by Missy Elliott, A$AP Ferg, DJ Stretch Armstrong, and more.

To purchase tickets and learn more about the Yellow Ball and the limited-edition yellow platinum card, please visit: Ticket supplies are limited.

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