Perhaps “Arts Advocate” isn’t the picture you’d paint for a lumber company, but that’s exactly what we are here at Hampton. We believe that by investing in art-related programs and initiatives, we’re helping to create more vibrant communities and a stronger, more creative workforce.
Our commitment to the arts began with John and Carol Hampton. Both John and Carol, an artist herself, believed that the private sector has an important role to play in improving access to the arts. You can see their legacy and generosity on display at the Hampton Opera Center and through two significant arts collections at the Portland Art Museum. The Hampton brothers, Jamey and David, are no strangers to creative arts. Jamey pursued a career in dance theater and co-founded BodyVox, a well-known dance company in Portland with his wife in 1997. Jamey and David Hampton also perform together regularly in their band, The Brothers Jam. Both brothers sing and play guitar and can be found performing at venues throughout the Portland metro area, including–from time to time–the Hampton corporate office.
The arts are important not only for personal enrichment but professional development. Research and experience have shown that exposure to arts helps young people develop stronger observation and critical thinking skills and leads to a more innovative, inclusive society. At Hampton, creative-problem solving is a way of life and contributes to more efficient systems and the production of higher quality, more sustainable wood products. We believe that integration of artistic and design-related skills and activities into other critical areas of study, such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) will help the next generation tackle pressing environmental and social issues and help us stay competitive in a globalized marketplace.
Unfortunately, with inadequate school funding, as we see throughout the Pacific Northwest, arts programming can fall by the wayside. In rural communities still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, opportunities to experience the arts are also diminished. In times such as these, we need to think outside-the-box and find new ways to partner to address the needs in our communities.
In 2019, we will focus on expanding opportunities for arts education and engagement in the rural communities in which we operate. By investing our time and resources and forging new partnerships with rural schools and other local organizations, we hope to increase access and exposure to the arts and open up new possibilities for local youth. While we’re in the early stages of planning for this new initiative, I look forward to updating you on our progress in the coming months. We’re excited to build on the Hampton Family’s longstanding involvement in the arts community in the year to come.