ING Unveils Benches Painted By Atlanta Area Celebrities And Artists

Bench-Art to Raise Money for Atlanta College of Art And Other Atlanta-Based Non-Profits

Apr 28, 2003

Baseball legend Hank Aaron was among celebrities whose artistic creations were unveiled today at a noontime event sponsored by ING, a leading financial services company. Twenty-four benches in all were revealed to the public at Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta, after having been delivered in large, orange crates at sunrise on April 24. Other local celebrities who contributed painted benches were City of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Ambassador Andrew Young, Hilda Santo-Tomas of TLC's "Trading Spaces," Cindy Wilson of the B-52's, Amy Carter, and WSB-TV news anchor Monica Kaufman, as well as 17 members of the Atlanta artistic community.

(Photo: NewsCom:

"These benches represent the fresh thinking and creative ideas that both Atlanta and ING stand for," said Shaun Mathews, ING Executive Vice President and host for the unveiling event. "Anyone who has seen our commercials on TV knows that an ING bench is a place where exciting and unexpected things can happen. We created this bench-art program in order to benefit local nonprofit organizations and introduce ourselves to the Atlanta community in a fresh, fun and creative way."

The benches painted by celebrity artists will be sold to benefit a charity of their choice. These charities include the Atlanta Children's Museum, Atlanta College of Art, ArtsCool (City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs Summer Arts Program), The Carter Center, Children's Hospital of Atlanta, and Athens' Aids Foundation. The proceeds of the benches painted by talented students, alumni and faculty of the Atlanta College of Art will benefit the College's programs.

"We were pleased to partner with ING on this endeavor and have been thrilled by the wonderful artistic creations of our students, alumni and faculty members," said Ellen Meyer, President of Atlanta College of Art. "The ING Bench served as an unusual canvas for what I view as truly fabulous artistic interpretations, and it mirrors the innovative ways we educate, reflecting our vision and philosophy."

Officials from ING, Atlanta College of Art and City of Atlanta joined the artists and celebrity-artists who were on-hand today to present their benches to Atlanta residents. Over a hundred ING employees were on-site to join people working in the offices surrounding Woodruff Park to view the unveiling event over their lunch hour.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for our ARTSCool Apprentices who aspire to attend the Atlanta College of Art," expressed Camille Love, Director of Bureau of Cultural Affairs for the City of Atlanta. "Under the guidance of Mayor Shirley Franklin and ARTSCool instructor Natalie Brandhorst, a wonderful bench was created that expresses Mayor Franklin's love for the City of Atlanta."

Tom McInerney, CEO for ING's US financial services businesses, noted, "ING appreciates the support of Hank Aaron and all our celebrity partners and the City of Atlanta as well as the Atlanta College of Art and their amazingly talented artists. Supporting charitable and arts-related causes is a passion embraced throughout ING's global network -- this program has enabled us to share this passion with the Atlanta community."

"ING is all about bringing fresh thinking to the marketplace," McInerney emphasized. "We are committed to standing out in the sea of sameness for the financial services industry."

Atlanta College of Art Artists and Designers

Courtney Adams, Larry Anderson, Robin Bernat, Clara Blalock, Mariah Cagle, Marcia R. Cohen, Emily Diehl, Martin Emanuel, Chris Fraker, Lisa Hart, David Jordon, Kenneth Kortmeier, Nikolay Lyutskanov, Eric Mack, Laura Mitchell, Fahamu Pecou, and Elizabeth Turk.

ARTSCool Artists

Jessica Caldas, Torry Holmes, Trevor Holmes, Elliot Ozell, Ayanna Smith and Nthando Thandiwe.

About Atlanta College of Art

Atlanta College of Art (, founded in 1905, is the oldest private college of art and design in the Southeast. A founding member of the Woodruff Arts Center, ACA shares its campus with the High Museum of Art, Alliance Theatre Company and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. A major cultural force in Atlanta, it extends programs to the public through ACA Gallery exhibitions, community education and the Georgia Artists Registry. ACA is home to two gallery spaces providing students with a public forum for exhibition of their own works and exposure to works by contemporary artists from around the world. ACA will soon open its $15 million Renzo Piano- designed 150-unit residence hall and state-of-the-art sculpture building (spring 2003).

About ARTSCool

ARTSCool is an arts-based employment program developed and coordinated for youth ages 14 to 18, and is designed to provide young people with arts and job training, a salary, and positive cultural experiences in order to enhance their personal development. In exchange, program participants, called apprentices, work with professional artists to create marketable artwork that is sold and exhibited throughout the year. Proceeds from sales are reinvested in the program. ARTSCool also has a companion program -- PRE'SCool -- which provides preparatory arts instruction for youth ages 11 to 13.

About ING

ING is one of the largest financial services companies in the world -- and is a leading provider in the U.S. and global markets. ING's U.S. financial services operations ( offer a comprehensive array of products and services include: retirement programs, mutual funds, life insurance, fixed and variable annuities; employee benefits and financial planning. ING U.S. Financial Services is part of Amsterdam-based ING Groep N.V., which has operations in 65 countries around the world.

About the ING Bench-Art Program

The ING Bench-Art program developed from an interest in introducing Atlanta to ING in a fun, fresh and creative way -- while highlighting the talent and contributions of local artists and celebrities for the benefit of the Atlanta College of Art and other Atlanta charities. Seventeen local artists, reflecting alumni, students and faculty of the Atlanta College of Art, and local celebrities: baseball legend Hank Aaron, City of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Ambassador Andrew Young, Amy Carter, Hilda Santo-Tomas of TLC's "Trading Spaces," Cindy Wilson of the B-52's, and WSB-TV news anchor Monica Kaufman joined ING in the Bench-Art program. ING's Bench-Art program was based on artistically painted versions of the ING Bench -- a prominent and popular feature in its advertising campaigns. Twenty-four benches were unveiled to the Atlanta public -- revealing a fantastic range of artistic interpretation and talent.

  CONTACT:  ING: Cindy Schaus - +1-515-698-7607,
            ING: Dana Ripley - +1-770-980-3317,
            ING: Betsy Helgager - +1-404-688-0415,
            Atlanta College of Art: Kelly Robinson - +1-404-733-5008,
Photo: NewsCom:
AP Archive:
PRN Photo Desk, 888-776-6555 or 212-782-2840

SOURCE: ING Americas

CONTACT: Cindy Schaus, +1-515-698-7607, or, or
Dana Ripley, +1-770-980-3317, or, or Betsy Helgager,
+1-404-688-0415, or, all for ING; or Kelly Robinsonm
+1-404-733-5008, or, of Atlanta College of

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