From the moment students arrive at School of Economics at UMB, they’re welcomed with colorful art by Kansas City artists. The primary entrance for the students, parents and teachers participating in School of Economics’ immersive financial education program includes climbing stairs inside a UMB building located in the heart of downtown Kansas City. Thanks to the imagination and talent of Antonio “Toni Picasso” Burton‡, visitors are engaged and entertained during their ascent by this story of a working emoji.

When we were selecting artists for this project, it was critical to find people who were as inspired by School of Economics’ mission as we are at UMB. From our first meeting, Antonio’s passion for making financial education fun and exciting was evident. We asked him for an inclusive and vibrant concept, and he definitely delivered!

You might be wondering why Antonio chose an emoji to tell his story. The answer is simple — regardless of your age, native language or gender, we can all relate to emojis. They’re universal, they’re fun and they’re the perfect character to tell the story of a dollar. Hundreds of kids have visited since the School of Economics began piloting its program in May and they’ve named the emoji EJ.

Platform one

The emoji featured on platform one of the School of EconomicsEJ is excited about their job and ready to get to work earning money to support their dreams and their future. Come along for a virtual ascent up to the School of Economics at UMB and read the story of a working emoji.









Platform two

EJ’s been hard at work earning and saving money. Now they’re thinking about options for investing and growing their hard-earned money.









Platform three

The emoji featured on platform three of the School of Economics

EJ’s planning for the long term. EJ is investing their money as they plan for retirement.










Platform four

The emoji featured on platform four of the School of EconomicsInvesting can be an effective way to build a bridge that helps make your goals and dreams become a reality. The decisions we make now can have a lasting impact on our families and can help us to build a legacy and path to a bright future.








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