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Art for Change Prize: Meet the Judges for the Americas

Advertising Agency
New York, USA
Global creative company M&C Saatchi Group and London’s iconic Saatchi Gallery have launched a new annual international art initiative – the Art for Change Prize. Meet the three creative powerhouses judging entries in the Americas

As part of a shared mission in making art, culture, and creativity accessible to everyone, this prize will stimulate dialogue around visual arts as a medium for positive global and social change and give exposure to emerging artists worldwide. 

Six winners from around the world will be decided by some of the best business and creative minds from the M&C Saatchi Group globally and eminent guest judges. In this Art for Change series, we hear from our regional judges. Find out what makes them tick artistically, what equality means to them, and what they are looking for in our winners.

Introducing M&C Saatchi's judges for the Americas: Nicholas Rotondi, executive creative director at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment North America, Lucas Crigler, creative director at SS+K, Part of M&C Saatchi Group, Andre Bato, founder, director and creative director at Andre Bato Corp.


1. Describe yourself in 3 emojis.

Nicholas> 🏎🔥🏥

Lucas> 🫀🌊🏳️‍⚧️

Andre>  A picture containing dark, night

Description automatically generated🦾😈

2. How would you explain your job to a child?

Nicholas> I work with companies to create things that inspire people, make them smile, and help them feel seen. 

Lucas> I help (brands) solve problems by inspiring, creating, and changing the way people think and behave. Sometimes we work on big, global problems like Superman does and other times the problems only affect New York City, like where Batman lives.

Andre> At my company we like to create things and shoot films.

3. Tell us what inspires you.

Nicholas> Morality / Integrity / Hope

Lucas> I’m inspired by human kindness and those people who selflessly sacrifice their time and efforts for the greater good of the world. I think that stems from my fascination with what makes people tick and behave in a certain way. I’m also incredibly inspired by music. The way that it can pull out some of the deepest emotions from within us—and the way it can bring people from all walks of life together. It’s an energy that can carry us in our darkest moments and uplift us even higher in our greatest. It’s a form of communication that transcends how we normally connect with each other, and I find a real beauty in that. All art can do that in some way, really.  

Andre> My team.

4. What excites you most about the Art for Change Prize?

Nicholas> There is so, so, so much amazing creativity out there that simply needs funding and a spotlight to be seen. This program lends an opportunity for both to artists who seek to change the world for the better with their work. 

Lucas> I’m excited to see the different artist’s perspectives from around the world and how they use their artwork to communicate that passion beyond the limits of a verbal or written language. 

Andre> What excites me the most about this prize is how it shines a light on emerging artists and creatives that want to make the world a better place through their work, and passion.

5. This year’s theme is ‘Equality’. What does ‘Equality’ mean to you?

Nicholas> Oxford defines equality as “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights and opportunities”. I’m inclined to agree with this, but only in its most idealistic sense. Equal needs to mean equal, full stop, and until it does, society (myself very much included) has quite a lot of work to do. 

Lucas> I have what you might consider a unique lived-experience as I’m a man with a trans experience. So I’ve lived “many lives,” if you will… part as being perceived (and treated) as a female, part as being perceived as a lesbian and now as being seen as my true self… a white, heterosexual male. So, 'equality' to me is simple. It’s a world where there’s no discrimination based on gender, race, sexuality, religion or identity. One where everyone has an equal opportunity at an education, secure housing and universal healthcare. One where our governments don’t police our bodies and no one is denied a job based on what they believe or how they look. 

Andre> Equality to me means everyone’s voice having the same value.

6. You’re judging entries for the Americas. What will you be looking for as a judge?

Nicholas> Authenticity to self, i.e. the type of creativity that only comes when someone fully embraces and explores their truest self. The mould breaks every time; each individual has something unique to offer the world. I love when, in creating things, people fully lean into themselves or discover new things about themselves (as long as the result of them doing so is not societally or culturally toxic). In the words of Bob Dylan: “All I can do is be me, whoever that is.”

Lucas> I’m going to be looking for the art that tells a story or holds a lot of emotion. I’d love to see work that enlightens me in a way that makes me rethink a perspective I have or inspires me to learn more about a view I knew nothing about. 

Andre> One of a kind and creative approaches in someone’s work. We are all different human beings with very unique perspectives, so the work that really excites me is always that which offers a new point of view, or a new way to approach a medium.

7. What does art for change mean to you?

Nicholas> Meaningful change requires emotion: hope, anger, excitement, etc. Historically, art is one of the most powerful means through which to generate emotion. Art and creativity are intrinsic to generating the changes the world sorely needs. 

Lucas> I think this contest could be the first link in a chain reaction of inspiration that will travel for generations to come, ultimately creating a more equal society of the arts. 

Andre> Art surrounds and impacts us day to day. Art for Change is that kind of art that has a positive impact on not only the artist but also the community that surrounds it. 

8. If you could steal one artwork from art history, what would it be?

Nicholas> There’s a little too much theft in creativity (today, and yesterday) so I’d prefer to “borrow, with consent”. Something by Henri-Cartier Bresson or Driely S.!

Lucas> I’m a big Dali fan! So anything Dali :)

Andre> Any Robert Motherwell 

Work from M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment NA