Arts For Life

All over the world there are people who use their arts skills to build and sustain communities. They find ways to teach, to share both knowledge and wealth, and bring people together to work with and sustain one another. And there are others who help them. Do you know of people and organizations who do this? Let’s bring them together here, for everyone to see.



HerHands is, among other things, a resource that show us how others can help craftswomen from poor areas in places like Latin America, Asia and Africa. Take a look at the virtual slide show under ‘Events’ to learn more about the women involved and how they use the talents and skills they have to feed and educate their children, improve their own and their families lives and contribute to their society.

(Picture of Guatemalan woman using backstrap loom taken by Infrogmation cropped and color-corrected by PKM 27 June 2007)



Bead For Life helps women in Uganda sell their beads around the world to raise the money they need to start small businesses with which they can support themselves and their families. The organization makes it easy for people to help raise funds by holding bead parties, in the United States and internationally, by providing all the information and resources needed.

(Photo: Bundles of African beads sold on the market in Kumasi, Ghana
Taken by ZSN, distributed under GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0 License.)


FUNARTE (La Fundación de Apoyo al Arte Creador Infantil) was created by a group of artists in Nicaragua who wanted to use art to work with children and adolescents, to help those struggling with poverty and the after-effects of conflict learn to live in peace and harmony with and within their communities and families. They use the process of creating art to help children develop creativity, a strong sense of identity, self-esteem and independence. Their work is supported by several groups around the world, including Pueblito Canada. Their web site is in Spanish, but many pages have an English translation at the bottom.

This post on the Haverford blog talks about FUNARTE’s work, it’s importance, and it’s effects.


Ten Thousand Villages was founded more than 60 years ago, and is a pioneer in the global fair trade movement. It was established to help artisans in developing countries find markets for their arts and crafts in North America, and works with artisans to help them establish a sustainable market for their products. It’s practises are based on the principles of cash advances, prompt payment, a fair price, and nurturing a long-term relationship with each artisan.


Arts for Children, Toronto, provides arts programming – dance, drama, music, visual arts, dub poetry, film-making, photography – for children and young people in low-income areas, taking the programs to them and working with them in schools, community centres, libraries, shelters, churches, hospitals and Toronto Community Housing buildings. Many of the programs are designed to help those involved reach out to and learn more about their communities, while helping them to develop new skills and build a new understanding of themselves and their abilities.


Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach – An Arts Umbrella Project:
Established by Sarah McLachaln through her foundation, Music Outreach is a free music program for youth in Vancouver’s inner-city.  “The school is dedicated to helping young people find their voice. It’s a nurturing environment that encourages students to achieve, to explore their creative potential and to develop a sense of community that will inspire them to succeed in life.”


The Haiti Art Cooperative:  a network of non-profit projects with programs in Haiti serving Haiti’s poor.  Their projects all purchase art at fair trade prices from artists in Haiti that they have developed long term relationships with.  They work together to sell art, and use the proceeds to fund their programs.   At the same time their purchase of art from artists in Haiti supports individual artists in their personal and artistic lives, and they share the beauty of Haiti’s culture with others.


3 responses to “Arts For Life

  1. Pingback: How Buying Beautiful Things Can Help a Whole Community « Blog

  2. Warms my heart and spirit to see local indigenous art explained and portrayed as it is here. you have a great post and blog

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