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by Maggie Newell

Christmas in July

“Leon and I are the farm-tomarket part of CAP,” Cheves says. “He coordinates the original art that the kids make and works with the art volunteers and teachers. My team and I turn that art into products to sell, which raises funds for our pediatric programs.”

While you’re sizzling steaks and lighting fireworks, this energetic group is like elves spreading holiday cheer.

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h, summertime. Time for beaches and barbecues. Fireworks and fireflies. Holiday cards and ornaments. Wait – ornaments? Now? Yes, now. In July, the heat at the Children’s Art Project (CAP) has nothing to do with the scorching summer and everything to do with production deadlines. And, like many children who await a red-suited man every December, CAP employees look forward to the arrival of holiday goodies every July. Just like they have for 38 years.

Farm to market

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The journey from art to card takes at least two years and begins with the kids at our Children’s Cancer Hospital. For the 2011 holiday season, CAP features art created by our youngest patients from April 2009 to March 2010. Leon Benavides, CAP’s art volunteer coordinator, orchestrates the art teachers who work with our pediatric patients. Throughout the year, he checks in with Angela Cheves, CAP’s associate director of marketing, to make sure she has the variety of art needed to create one-of-akind holiday cards every year.

By the numbers When Benavides submits the original art to Cheves, the numbers game begins. “For the 2011 holiday season, our pediatric patients gave us about 150 pieces,” Cheves says. “Unfortunately, we can’t turn all of them into cards.” The folks invited to CAP’s annual volunteer appreciation luncheon in March are the first to see the kids’ creations. Volunteers, community partners, donors and others involved with CAP get to vote on the new artwork. “About 500 people vote at the luncheon,” Cheves says. “It’s definitely the big reason everyone comes.” Next, Benavides showcases the art in the Main Building, Floor 1, by The

Aquarium. He leaves the colorful display up for a week and collects votes — about 100 every day — from employees as well as patients and their family members. Benavides then tallies the votes from both events to find out which designs made the biggest impressions.

Making the cut In the fall, Cheves asks for the vote tallies and works with her team to start culling the field. “August is the first time we really take a look at the art that’s been submitted and how it ranked,” Cheves says.“We put the top 50 on a wall in our conference room and start asking things like, ‘Do we have enough Hanukkah cards? Do we have enough Western cards?’ ” Cheves and her team look for six themes: traditional, angels, religious, corporate, whimsical and Western. Then, they use their years of experience and intuition to select 50 creations to turn into test marketing pieces. “Making that cut in the fall is the hardest part,” Cheves says. “These kids put a lot of heart into their artwork.”

Time warp At any given time, folks are working on three different years of Children’s Art Project (CAP) holiday items. In July 2011, • Angela Cheves, CAP’s associate director of marketing, is receiving the finished products for 2011 • Leon Benavides, CAP’s art volunteer coordinator, is tabulating the ballots for 2012 • Our pediatric patients are crafting creations for 2013

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Messenger July/August 2011

Opposite page: 1. Ruth Reynolds, communications designer; Angela Cheves, associate director; and Sandy Lazeroff, program manager, surrounded by cards and ornaments based on artwork done by young patients for the Children’s Art Project. 2. LaTroy Jones, volunteer coordinator II, works with volunteers in the Fannin Holcombe Building basement. 3. Volunteer Sam Harris tapes up a box. 4. From left: Mother and daughter volunteers Lauren and Susan Porter put together card assortment packs with the help of fellow volunteers Salomon Schein and Beth Cook. 5. Cook opens a pack of holiday cards. 6. Schein puts card packs into the appropriate boxes. 7. A volunteer packs Christmas cards into boxes. 8. and 9., Andrew Mayfield (in the black hat), coordinator, warehouse; and Larry Melton, customer service representative, stack boxes in the warehouse. Messenger July/August 2011

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by Maggie Newell

Christmas in July

“Leon and I are the farm-tomarket part of CAP,” Cheves says. “He coordinates the original art that the kids make and works with the art volunteers and teachers. My team and I turn that art into products to sell, which raises funds for our pediatric programs.”

While you’re sizzling steaks and lighting fireworks, this energetic group is like elves spreading holiday cheer.

A

2

3

h, summertime. Time for beaches and barbecues. Fireworks and fireflies. Holiday cards and ornaments. Wait – ornaments? Now? Yes, now. In July, the heat at the Children’s Art Project (CAP) has nothing to do with the scorching summer and everything to do with production deadlines. And, like many children who await a red-suited man every December, CAP employees look forward to the arrival of holiday goodies every July. Just like they have for 38 years.

Farm to market

1

4

9

8

6

5

The journey from art to card takes at least two years and begins with the kids at our Children’s Cancer Hospital. For the 2011 holiday season, CAP features art created by our youngest patients from April 2009 to March 2010. Leon Benavides, CAP’s art volunteer coordinator, orchestrates the art teachers who work with our pediatric patients. Throughout the year, he checks in with Angela Cheves, CAP’s associate director of marketing, to make sure she has the variety of art needed to create one-of-akind holiday cards every year.

By the numbers When Benavides submits the original art to Cheves, the numbers game begins. “For the 2011 holiday season, our pediatric patients gave us about 150 pieces,” Cheves says. “Unfortunately, we can’t turn all of them into cards.” The folks invited to CAP’s annual volunteer appreciation luncheon in March are the first to see the kids’ creations. Volunteers, community partners, donors and others involved with CAP get to vote on the new artwork. “About 500 people vote at the luncheon,” Cheves says. “It’s definitely the big reason everyone comes.” Next, Benavides showcases the art in the Main Building, Floor 1, by The

Aquarium. He leaves the colorful display up for a week and collects votes — about 100 every day — from employees as well as patients and their family members. Benavides then tallies the votes from both events to find out which designs made the biggest impressions.

Making the cut In the fall, Cheves asks for the vote tallies and works with her team to start culling the field. “August is the first time we really take a look at the art that’s been submitted and how it ranked,” Cheves says.“We put the top 50 on a wall in our conference room and start asking things like, ‘Do we have enough Hanukkah cards? Do we have enough Western cards?’ ” Cheves and her team look for six themes: traditional, angels, religious, corporate, whimsical and Western. Then, they use their years of experience and intuition to select 50 creations to turn into test marketing pieces. “Making that cut in the fall is the hardest part,” Cheves says. “These kids put a lot of heart into their artwork.”

Time warp At any given time, folks are working on three different years of Children’s Art Project (CAP) holiday items. In July 2011, • Angela Cheves, CAP’s associate director of marketing, is receiving the finished products for 2011 • Leon Benavides, CAP’s art volunteer coordinator, is tabulating the ballots for 2012 • Our pediatric patients are crafting creations for 2013

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Messenger July/August 2011

Opposite page: 1. Ruth Reynolds, communications designer; Angela Cheves, associate director; and Sandy Lazeroff, program manager, surrounded by cards and ornaments based on artwork done by young patients for the Children’s Art Project. 2. LaTroy Jones, volunteer coordinator II, works with volunteers in the Fannin Holcombe Building basement. 3. Volunteer Sam Harris tapes up a box. 4. From left: Mother and daughter volunteers Lauren and Susan Porter put together card assortment packs with the help of fellow volunteers Salomon Schein and Beth Cook. 5. Cook opens a pack of holiday cards. 6. Schein puts card packs into the appropriate boxes. 7. A volunteer packs Christmas cards into boxes. 8. and 9., Andrew Mayfield (in the black hat), coordinator, warehouse; and Larry Melton, customer service representative, stack boxes in the warehouse. Messenger July/August 2011

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Down to the count

Wall paper: The CAP team mounts mock-ups on a white board to map out its holiday lineup.

Color their world

The pen is mightier …

Once 50 pieces are selected, Cheves and her team work with a vendor in December to turn them into digital files. “The art can be on construction paper or copy paper, and it can be large or small,” Cheves says. “And, some of the elements might need some tweaking. This is when we add the finishing touches.” Like changing a sidewalk from brown to blue. “We had an adorable winter scene with a brown-and-tan sidewalk winding up to a house. But a lot of people thought the sidewalk looked like a snake. In the end, we changed it to blue.” Brown or blue, color is key. “We’re very demanding about the digital color files,” Cheves says. “I’m passionate about being as true to the child’s artwork as possible.”

With digital files in hand, CAP creates 50 sample cards for test marketing. Now, the question changes from “Which art do you like?” to “Which card would you buy?” That means writing card messages. A writing team led by Nancy Walker, CAP’s sales and marketing manager, creates two messages per card and asks folks to rate the messages as well as the card. And, they’ve learned the hard way that the pen is pretty mighty. “One year, we had a card that ranked low in test marketing. It suddenly became a top seller because we changed its message after test marketing,” Cheves says. “There’s an expression that the art attracts you to a card, but the message closes the sale. I think that’s very true.”

With sample cards in hand, all CAP sales managers and their teams start test marketing in February. They solicit votes on CAP’s website, from displays at retailers, from the top 30 imprinting corporate customers, from displays on campus and through two focus groups at the CAP Uptown Boutique. “We see a big difference among customers about what they want,” Cheves says. “Something our direct mail and corporate folks want may not be what consumers want. We try to make sure everyone gets something they like.” It’s all down to the voting, the test marketing and the intuition of Shannan Murray, CAP’s executive director, Cheves and the leadership team to make the final decisions. They select 23-26 of the 50 designs to become part of the final Holiday line. Some designs are produced in large quantities as standard cards, while others are available only through the online ordering system. A select few are produced as deluxe cards with lined envelopes.

Timing is everything By the end of February, the holiday card offerings are set, and it’s time to order millions of envelopes. But what colors? And how many? Once that’s determined, CAP places the envelope order in April to make sure they’ll arrive

Art and soul Our pediatric patients have given the Children’s Art Project its art and soul for 38 years. In that time, • The project has raised more than $29 million for programs supporting our pediatric patients and their families • More than 300 patients have seen their art transformed into cards • The youngest patient to have art on a card was three years old • Two patients have had 15-16 pieces turned into cards, but one patient, Emily, has seen 19 of her pieces on cards (You know the turkey? It’s hers!). Now a cancer survivor, she’s also an ambitious college freshman. Read more about these amazing artists at www.childrensart.org. 10

Messenger July/August 2011

Hot off the presses. From left: Cards on the press; Sandy Lazeroff and the pressmen look over a press sheet; Lazeroff compares the approved color proof to the pulled press sheet; flats of printed cards ready for cutting, folding and packaging.

by June 15 so the vendor can start packaging the cards and the envelopes together. And the cards? The final files go to the printer in May, and printing begins in early June. Then, after more than two years of watching and waiting, the packaged cards arrive between July 1 and Aug. 1, filling the month of July — and several warehouses — with holiday cheer.

A global effort But CAP is more than cards. In early January, the team starts to think about what else to produce. Ornaments? Scarves? Jackets? Books? All these decisions need to be made quickly to ensure inventory starts hitting the floor in July, especially because some key vendors aren’t in the U.S. “Christopher Radko ornaments come from Poland, and the ceramics come from China,” Cheves says. “We have to make sure it all gets here in time so that when our preview catalog goes out in August, we can deliver what our customers order.”

Harmonic resonance Like a well-tuned orchestra, the CAP team and its vendors create a multifaceted masterpiece every year. After all the balls are set in motion in May, Sandy Lazeroff, CAP’s production services program manager, works with each vendor to check all the manufacturing processes along the way

and make sure the orders arrive as promised. Francoise Shih, CAP’s associate director of business operations, makes sure all the purchase orders are confirmed and that CAP is following the institution’s buying rules. Kelly Renner, CAP’s direct mail and internet sales manager, starts sharing the new lineup with her customers. Susan Molin, CAP’s retail sales and marketing manager, hits the streets with samples and visits retailers. And Walker lines up home and off-site shows for the fall months.

And Cheves? She’s gearing up for the 2012 holiday season. “I love my job,” Cheves says. “I love the creative side, the people side and the business side. I was the fourth person here, and 24 years later, it’s still exciting for me.” m

Scan the QR code with your smartphone to meet the young designers of CAP’s 2011 artwork.

2-D to 3-D with foresight The most fascinating production feat may be the ornaments. They require patience, time and a lot of imagination. “We have a great drawing of a Santa, but what does his back look like?” Cheves says. “Does he have long, flowing hair? Is he bald? What about the belt? There’s some interpretation in taking a drawing and making it into a physical object.” From a child’s drawing, a Radko artist creates a clay model. The artist takes several photographs of the model and emails them to CAP for review. Several emails and phone calls later, a glass prototype is delivered. Once that’s approved, Radko goes full steam ahead with production. Messenger July/August 2011

11


Down to the count

Wall paper: The CAP team mounts mock-ups on a white board to map out its holiday lineup.

Color their world

The pen is mightier …

Once 50 pieces are selected, Cheves and her team work with a vendor in December to turn them into digital files. “The art can be on construction paper or copy paper, and it can be large or small,” Cheves says. “And, some of the elements might need some tweaking. This is when we add the finishing touches.” Like changing a sidewalk from brown to blue. “We had an adorable winter scene with a brown-and-tan sidewalk winding up to a house. But a lot of people thought the sidewalk looked like a snake. In the end, we changed it to blue.” Brown or blue, color is key. “We’re very demanding about the digital color files,” Cheves says. “I’m passionate about being as true to the child’s artwork as possible.”

With digital files in hand, CAP creates 50 sample cards for test marketing. Now, the question changes from “Which art do you like?” to “Which card would you buy?” That means writing card messages. A writing team led by Nancy Walker, CAP’s sales and marketing manager, creates two messages per card and asks folks to rate the messages as well as the card. And, they’ve learned the hard way that the pen is pretty mighty. “One year, we had a card that ranked low in test marketing. It suddenly became a top seller because we changed its message after test marketing,” Cheves says. “There’s an expression that the art attracts you to a card, but the message closes the sale. I think that’s very true.”

With sample cards in hand, all CAP sales managers and their teams start test marketing in February. They solicit votes on CAP’s website, from displays at retailers, from the top 30 imprinting corporate customers, from displays on campus and through two focus groups at the CAP Uptown Boutique. “We see a big difference among customers about what they want,” Cheves says. “Something our direct mail and corporate folks want may not be what consumers want. We try to make sure everyone gets something they like.” It’s all down to the voting, the test marketing and the intuition of Shannan Murray, CAP’s executive director, Cheves and the leadership team to make the final decisions. They select 23-26 of the 50 designs to become part of the final Holiday line. Some designs are produced in large quantities as standard cards, while others are available only through the online ordering system. A select few are produced as deluxe cards with lined envelopes.

Timing is everything By the end of February, the holiday card offerings are set, and it’s time to order millions of envelopes. But what colors? And how many? Once that’s determined, CAP places the envelope order in April to make sure they’ll arrive

Art and soul Our pediatric patients have given the Children’s Art Project its art and soul for 38 years. In that time, • The project has raised more than $29 million for programs supporting our pediatric patients and their families • More than 300 patients have seen their art transformed into cards • The youngest patient to have art on a card was three years old • Two patients have had 15-16 pieces turned into cards, but one patient, Emily, has seen 19 of her pieces on cards (You know the turkey? It’s hers!). Now a cancer survivor, she’s also an ambitious college freshman. Read more about these amazing artists at www.childrensart.org. 10

Messenger July/August 2011

Hot off the presses. From left: Cards on the press; Sandy Lazeroff and the pressmen look over a press sheet; Lazeroff compares the approved color proof to the pulled press sheet; flats of printed cards ready for cutting, folding and packaging.

by June 15 so the vendor can start packaging the cards and the envelopes together. And the cards? The final files go to the printer in May, and printing begins in early June. Then, after more than two years of watching and waiting, the packaged cards arrive between July 1 and Aug. 1, filling the month of July — and several warehouses — with holiday cheer.

A global effort But CAP is more than cards. In early January, the team starts to think about what else to produce. Ornaments? Scarves? Jackets? Books? All these decisions need to be made quickly to ensure inventory starts hitting the floor in July, especially because some key vendors aren’t in the U.S. “Christopher Radko ornaments come from Poland, and the ceramics come from China,” Cheves says. “We have to make sure it all gets here in time so that when our preview catalog goes out in August, we can deliver what our customers order.”

Harmonic resonance Like a well-tuned orchestra, the CAP team and its vendors create a multifaceted masterpiece every year. After all the balls are set in motion in May, Sandy Lazeroff, CAP’s production services program manager, works with each vendor to check all the manufacturing processes along the way

and make sure the orders arrive as promised. Francoise Shih, CAP’s associate director of business operations, makes sure all the purchase orders are confirmed and that CAP is following the institution’s buying rules. Kelly Renner, CAP’s direct mail and internet sales manager, starts sharing the new lineup with her customers. Susan Molin, CAP’s retail sales and marketing manager, hits the streets with samples and visits retailers. And Walker lines up home and off-site shows for the fall months.

And Cheves? She’s gearing up for the 2012 holiday season. “I love my job,” Cheves says. “I love the creative side, the people side and the business side. I was the fourth person here, and 24 years later, it’s still exciting for me.” m

Scan the QR code with your smartphone to meet the young designers of CAP’s 2011 artwork.

2-D to 3-D with foresight The most fascinating production feat may be the ornaments. They require patience, time and a lot of imagination. “We have a great drawing of a Santa, but what does his back look like?” Cheves says. “Does he have long, flowing hair? Is he bald? What about the belt? There’s some interpretation in taking a drawing and making it into a physical object.” From a child’s drawing, a Radko artist creates a clay model. The artist takes several photographs of the model and emails them to CAP for review. Several emails and phone calls later, a glass prototype is delivered. Once that’s approved, Radko goes full steam ahead with production. Messenger July/August 2011

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Children's Art Project Article Spread