In a proactive effort to continue to give back to the local community, Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC commissioned a 345 square foot (32 square metre) mural inspired by the Hotel’s local Historic Georgetown neighbourhood. The artwork that beautified the behind the scenes employee area was completed by Zenaviv, a social enterprise that inspires hope and creates brighter futures for children with autism or special needs by celebrating their unique abilities, promoting their talents and improving their quality of life. The organisation’s mission, touching personal backstory and tie to the local community made it the perfect fit to create this special piece.
“We are excited to partner with Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC to provide an avenue for these individuals with autism to express their unique abilities,” says Harish Bikmal, co-founder, Zenaviv. “This opportunity and recognition of the special talent of special needs children brings more exposure, and could help address one of the biggest concerns for most parents of individuals with autism – the future of their kids. Such efforts by Four Seasons gives the parents hope and confidence of a better future for their kids.”
Zenaviv was founded in 2016 in honour of Himal Bikmal, a 16-year-old boy with low functioning autism, but also with outstanding artistic talent that allows him to express himself. His father Harish Bikmal and 18-year-old brother Saket Bikmal founded the organisation. Their mission is to transform the perception of people with autism from one of deficiency to one of talent and productive abilities.
“Zenaviv’s goal is to improve the lives of talented individuals like my brother,” says Saket. “In doing so, we plan to partner with community conscious businesses like Four Seasons to mutually bolster their social innovation efforts and image, while providing Himal and others like him with viable income streams.”
While it was the first time that Four Seasons Hotel Washington commissioned a piece of artwork of this size for the employee area, as well as the first time that Zenaviv added a wall painting to their portfolio, the planning and execution took less than two months. Himal Bikmal and Lee Jaworek, along with their art therapists Heather Hewitz and Caitlin Mason and volunteer Scott Daniel Day, painted a total of 21 iconic Georgetown buildings.
“It has been an honour to work with such an outstanding organisation in our local community,” said David Bernand, General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC. “We enjoyed welcoming Himal and Lee to our Hotel and seeing their Georgetown inspired mural come to life. The mural is an inspiration to all of us at the Hotel of what can be accomplished when supporting each other and looking beyond first impressions and perceptions.”
Himal personally handpicked his favourite architectural structures including Four Seasons Hotel Washington, ENO Wine Bar, Michael Kors, Market Street Diamonds, PNC Bank, Pizzeria Paradiso, Georgetown Cupcake, Walking Company, Dean and Deluca and Georgetown Veterinary Hospital among many others. However, Himal’s all-time favourite was the Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop because of his love for strawberry ice cream.
“As parents, we will cherish for life - the smile on his face while painting, the pride of accomplishment in his eyes with every building completed, and improvement in self-esteem,” shares Harish Bikmal.
The team at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC will act as ambassadors for Zenaviv to the local community and among Four Seasons hotels and beyond, so that the recognition of their hard work and dedication towards this important cause can be even further recognised, embraced and celebrated.
Zenaviv’s mission is to increase opportunities and financially support painters with special needs. Artists earn more than 60 percent of the profits from the sale of their art, improving their self-esteem, helping them to secure their financial future and improving their overall quality of life.