Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." — Nelson Mandela
HOW IT STARTED:
I founded Absolutely Art: A Project for Change (formerly Art Aid International) in 2005 with the intention of serving global areas in need through art in myriad forms: art itself, art education, and utilizing art as a means of fundraising to support education for young people experiencing the joy of school for the first time.
WHERE WE HELP:
Over the last eight years, Absolutely Art has focused specifically on Ethiopia, raising in excess of $74,000 to fund projects in there and providing art education to more than 1,000 children.
WHY ART EDUCATION:
We strongly believe that art is critical to youngsters' fundamental development in many ways.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Donations help fuel our work, and no amount is too small! You also can help by purchasing artwork from my Africa series, from which 50-100% of proceeds go to Ethiopia Reads.
FOR MORE INFO:
Absolutely Art Facebook
HOW IT STARTED CONTINUED:
Absolutely Art works with nonprofits and fundraises on behalf of those organizations. Over time, our mission has not changed, nor our commitment wavered; our desire to make a difference has only deepened. We firmly believe in the power of art and in Nelson Mandela's words. Education truly is the ultimate means of changing children's lives — and, by extension, the world.
WHERE WE HELP CONTINUED:
Less than half of its population — 42% — is literate, and the average education halts at the fifth-grade level. Children will walk miles and endure all kinds of pain to get themselves to school. Families often have to pick which of their children will get the joy of education, since one-quarter of the population earns less than $1 per day, which barely covers basic necessities, let alone advanced schooling.
But beyond the cold, hard facts that make it obvious why we chose Ethiopia, I feel that the country, in many ways, chose me. I could never have foreseen how deeply I would fall in love with Ethiopia and the people there. I stumbled across a program based on art operating out of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, and traveled there to see what it was about.
Even though I was aware that there's a need everywhere — from my own hometown to places across the globe — the extreme need of these people, the ones right in front of me, became known to me, unfolded before my very eyes. That changed everything. What was previously only a nebulous concept crystallized into faces and names: Hana, Yohanas, Feruza, Ferdos. And so, I made a commitment to this particular area of need. I cannot single-handedly change the world, but to these children, I can make a difference — and that is how the world ultimately does get changed!
WHY ART EDUCATION CONTINUED:
• encourages self-expression
• bolsters self-esteem
• fosters a sense of independence
• promotes peer interaction
• prompts children to explore their environments in a sensory capacity
• strengthens decision-making abilities
• develops hand-eye coordination and self-evaluation skills.
HOW YOU CAN HELP CONTINUED:
Donations from supporters are integral to powering Absolutely Art and the opportunities that the organization and its partners provide to determined children. Even the smallest contribution becomes enormous to someone who considers a pencil a treasure. With your gift, we can put more crayons in tiny hands, more paint on tiny fingers and more smiles on tiny faces. We can open minds, heal hearts and inspire hope. For as little as $21 — the equivalent of a small dinner out, or a few gourmet lattes — you could send a child to school for a month. For $252, you could fuel an entire year's worth of education for a student. Just imagine what more could do!
My experiences in Ethiopia also have inspired a line of artwork focused on the people and landscapes of the region, which I use to raise funds for the cause. All proceeds from sale of the Africa paintings and prints, plus half of proceeds from sales of merchandise featuring that artwork, goes back to Ethiopia Reads.
We are grateful for your support!