As an artist, you’re probably asked to contribute (read: donate) stuff to all kinds of causes, everything from charity auctions to civic dinners to disaster relief drives. Sometimes this is a perfect opportunity for you to give back to your community, and sometimes maybe it’s not exactly how you want to get involved. I asked my artist friends on Facebook what ways they’ve found to give back to their own communities, and, as always, I got some great responses. I’m guessing you’ll find at least one here that will resonate with you, especially if you’re like a lot of us and feel as Mary does. She says, “I have been open to the idea but haven’t really found a niche.” Here are some niches–we’ll start out with ways to get involved helping children.
Cheryl says: “I’ve donated items to silent auctions to raise money for art programs in a private school that can’t otherwise afford it. Unfortunately, it never seemed to bring a lot of money, but I also attended the event and bid on other people’s contributions. As a whole, the event raised a good amount.”
April says, “The things that I am most pleased with was painting murals in the bedrooms of a safe shelter for children. When children need to be removed from a dangerous home they are placed in this beautiful home until they can be put in a foster home. I did one room in a farm scene and another one in jungle. I was so pleased with them. It made me feel wonderful to help such an amazing ministry.”
Sonia Mara says, “I volunteered at a group home for boys running craft projects. There were 3 challenges. I never taught crafts before so coming up with a curriculum was difficult. Finding Boy related crafts when you are into “pretty crafts” was a challenge. Finding crafts that wouldnt frustrate them as they have a lot of emotional issues. When projects went over well it was very satisfying.”
Annie says: “I participate in an art fair once a month and there is a free art tent for kids where i volunteer to teach. I also volunteer at family art night in the Children’s Hospital. I especially enjoy working with the kids because they are the future of creativity and keeping arts alive!”
Denise says, “I have designed and made several quilts for the Children’s Grief Center of El Paso. Family members made a 12″ x 12″ block in memory of their loved one. They were all incorporated into the quilt. Have also taught journal making to Gifted and Talented students at the Ysleta ISD GT Summer Camp. This year we made file folder journals using various papers and office supplies. I have also done zentangles with the students at my school.”
Jessica says: “I’ve donated pieces of art to several auctions (Hurricane Sandy, Newtown, the Oklahoma tornado), and have also donated my time and materials to teach art journaling to troubled teens. The teens love this means of expression…”
Neva wrote: ” The school where I teach art has a program where adults are paired with special buddies who could benefit from one-on-one time with an adult. I was paired with a fifth-grade boy who is not into art but loves NASCAR. We spent a few meetings with him educating me about car racing. Then he made a surrealist painting/collage of himself driving a famous race car. At first I wasn’t sure how we would connect. But it ended up being a really fun time for both of us, I think.”
Michele says, “My full time job is as a high school English teacher, but the artist side of me can’t help but add art to my lesson plans. Incorporating art type projects like life size body biographies, sculpting with Play Dough, stationary designs, etc has helped me reach students on all learning, and attitude, levels. The results have been outstanding. Art in the classroom has opened doors of opportunity for my students and me.”
As always, there was more than could fit in one post, so come back on Friday for more suggestions–these more geared to getting involved helping families and adults.
For more suggestions about ways to give back, take a look at Art Saves: Stories, Inspiration and Prompts Sharing the Power of Art by Jenny Doh.
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