Arts and culture

RBC Wealth Management supports educational project recently launched into space


RBC Wealth Management and City National Bank’s support of education and the arts community is out of this world.

The two companies recently made a $50,000 pledge to the Nevada Museum of Art in support of the Orbital Reflector project, created by 2017 MacArthur Fellow Trevor Paglen that was launched into space in December 2018.

The Orbital Reflector is a satellite without commercial, military or scientific purpose, consisting of a sculpture constructed of a lightweight, reflective material and housed in a small box-like infrastructure known as a CubeSat. Upon reaching a low-Earth orbit of about 350 miles, the CubeSat was designed to open and release the sculpture, which will self-inflate like a balloon. Sunlight reflecting onto the sculpture will make it visible from Earth to the naked eye, and will appear like a slowly moving artificial star as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper.

RBC Wealth Management has partnered with the Nevada Museum of Art on various projects for more than 10 years, but the Orbital Reflector idea was especially exciting, says Peter Bessette, director of the RBC Wealth Management Reno, Nev., branch.

“This project in particular was great because it provides such a great learning opportunity for children,” Bessette says. 

prototype of orbital reflector by nevada museum of art

Prototype for Trevor Paglen: Orbital Reflector, co-produced and presented by the Nevada Museum of Art, on view in the Donald W. Reynolds Grand Hall at the Nevada Museum of Art. Credit: Nevada Museum of Art

The Orbital Reflector brings art and design-based thinking to the forefront of STEAM education, an approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking. Once in orbit, the Reflector was created to be visible from the ground, and will provide an online learning platform for students in grades 9-12. Nevada schools were able to view the launch of the satellite from their computers, and will use curriculum organized by the museum’s educational coordinator.

Blending science, art and education, the Reflector is an innovative, one-of-a-kind idea that was easy to support, says Paul Stowell, senior vice president at City National Bank.

“From a philanthropic standpoint, this is very powerful,” Stowell says. “It is a great example of how two brands coming together can be exponentially more beneficial.”

At an event last fall, RBC Wealth Management and City National Bank clients learned about the Orbital Reflector project, and how it represents the two companies’ support of the Nevada Museum of Art.

“This is a cutting edge idea,” Bessette says. “Bringing our clients together with the museum and making them more aware of what a beautiful resource they have is a great opportunity.” 

rbc and city national bank colleagues at orbital reflector event

Executives from RBC Wealth Management and City National Bank join representatives at the Nevada Museum of Art for the Orbital Reflector Event.

City National Bank Member FDIC. City National Bank is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.