How is simple folk art like sweet cookie dough?
Folk art is as American as apple pie and the two can be a package deal – as we discovered when we acquired all-natural baked goods maker Immaculate Baking Co., last year.
Not only did we open our arms to their collection of cookie, biscuit, sweet roll and pie doughs, we also acquired their 50-piece collection of folk art.
General Mills employees got their first look at the works – mostly wood carvings, paintings and works on metal – at a special exhibition that opened last week and will run through Nov. 27 at the gallery space in our Minneapolis headquarters.
Visitors can see images of butterflies, children, musicians and even likenesses of Elvis Presley and B.B. King.
“It’s exciting for the company to see this collection, and see it all together,” says Lisa Melander, curator of the General Mills Art Collection. “It’s all folk art made by self-taught artists, mostly from the American South, and many of the artists are unknown.”
But how did such an invaluable art portfolio become a part of this sweet deal?
Scott Blackwell, founder of Immaculate Baking, has been a longtime champion of folk art and amassed quite a collection. Blackwell’s devotion to folk art went so far as decorating each package of Immaculate Baking’s products with images taken straight from his collection. General Mills will continue this tradition.
As many as 35 pieces acquired by General Mills are on display, created by artists such as Leonard Jones, R.A. Miller and Carl Dixon.
Two of Dixon’s exhibit works are featured on Immaculate Baking’s packaging. His painting of a vibrant, smiling girl standing under a tree with the sign “Sweet Georgia Brownie” adorns packages of Triple Chocolate Cookie Dough.
While another Dixon painting of a bicycle is featured on Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough.
Here is a slideshow featuring the pieces on display at our headquarters.
“It’s super fascinating to see original artwork in person that you now see on packaging,” says Lisa. “I’m sure that the artists didn’t think while they were painting that their works would wind up on a package of cookie dough.”
As the number of Immaculate Baking products continues to grow, so does the folk art collection.
Earlier this year, Angela Ma, integrated and interactive communications senior planner for Immaculate Baking, bought seven pieces of art in Atlanta, and another created by an artist and Facebook fan of the brand.
She says her team plans to use images from the new additions for new products slated to hit the market next year.
Two will be used in the spring. And likenesses from the other folk art pieces will be used next September, decorating packages of at least five more new products.