Global Inspirations: Gus Harper

Reporting from:  East Africa

Local Contact:  Gus Harper

What kind of work did you do in East Africa?

I traveled to East Africa with my psychologist friend Heather Connolly and began teaching art to kids who normally never get a chance to make art or use art supplies. While I taught the kids in orphanages and refugee camps how to make murals and paint faces, Heather used their art experience as a vehicle to begin rehabilitation therapy. Most of the kids we worked with had lost their parents to warfare and had also been abducted. I was hoping to bring them a bit of happiness and normalcy while Heather aided in the healing process.

What have you seen there that inspires you artistically, creatively or otherwise?

The resilience of the people there made me appreciate the gifts we are given. And quite honestly, the kids’ art was spectacular. It inspired me to make more art when I got home. And, of course, I made several drawings of the kids I met while traveling. I made prints of one of my “poetic” pieces to help raise money for Exile International, a Nashville based charity that helps bring art and therapy to kids around the world.  You can see a video of this print being made at here.

What can our readers do to support the work you are doing and/or other needs in Nepal?

I have been working with the help of some really great organizations. One of the best that combines art with rehabilitation is Exile International. You can visit to contribute.


Gus Harper is a 39-year old full time artist living and working in Culver City, California. Today he’s sharing a few snippets from a journey he took to East Africa in the summer of 2010. Visit to see his work.


Christine Mason Miller is a writer and mixed-media artist who loves to travel, wander and explore, whether on her own or vicariously through others. Her next book – Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World – will be released in November 2011 by North Light Books. Visit her at Eager for more of her travel musings? Visit


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