The creation and contemplation of art are powerful forces for bringing people together. As artists, we know that art can be powerfully cathartic and healing. We also know that there are people around us with limited access to the arts.

Have you felt compelled to use the power of your art to take an active role in building your community and giving back?

Here are five ways you can generate positivity by sharing your passion with those around you:

Be an Art Mentor

Mentorship programs are a powerful and direct way to engage with students in underserved schools. By partnering with a student as an arts mentor, you’ll have a key role in helping grow their creativity and confidence. You may even help someone discover a lifelong passion for art!

What’s better, these types of mentor and mentee relationships are mutually beneficial. Students in mentoring programs experience improved school performance and career prospects, while both parties consistently report greater self-worth and improved mental and physical health.

Art mentorship programs such as Redline’s ArtCorps encourage students to approach social justice in their community from an artistic perspective. To find mentorship opportunities in your community check out Volunteer Match.

Get Involved in Arts Education

Many of us first discovered our passion for art while making macaroni necklaces or marble paintings in art class. Arts education is critical to the academic well-being of students. Numerous studies show a strong connection between participation in the arts and improved attendance, academic performance, literacy, and math skills.

Unfortunately, many school’s art programs struggle due to lack of funding and cost-cutting forces teachers to dip into their own pockets to pay for materials.

Programs like Donors Choose connect you directly with a classroom in need. The site gives you the platform to make donations towards the purchase of art materials. You can search by local or national schools and address specific needs that you feel most passionate about. There may even be schools in your neighborhood that are in need of supplies.

Do you have a passion for ceramics? Here is a classroom in Denver in need of glaze.

Another option is to create your own classroom! Community centers and local libraries are always looking for new workshops and classes to offer. If you provide the materials, they’ll help fill the seats. Just be sure to provide them with details about what the class will entail and try to be flexible with scheduling.

 

Volunteer at a Local Museum

Volunteering at a museum in your area gives back in a big way—it also means you get to be around incredible art! Depending on the size of the museum, the work you take on could range from helping with curatorial duties to staffing openings.

Museums can be a great place to get inspired for your own work. There is also no better place to make connections in the local art community.

Donate Your Art Supplies

Do you have supplies in your studio that have been laying around gathering dust and cluttering up your space for years? Local art programs, schools, and hospitals are desperate for materials—your lightly used art supplies can make a huge difference.

CreativeLive Blog has an excellent list of places to donate used art supplies. Just one example of the organizations on this list is  A Little Something, based out of Denver. They use donated art supplies to provide refugee women with the tools they need to work creatively and build community.

Some organizations are also getting creative with how they donate supplies. Apple Pie Painting offers mobile painting classes and donates their extra supplies to The Dreaming Zebra Foundation—a foundation that brings art supplies to low-income schools.

Just think of all masterpieces that will be made with your old pastel set and proudly displayed on refrigerators for years to come!

Support Art Therapy Programs

Art can be powerfully therapeutic. It lets us communicate and process things we normally cannot give voice to in our everyday life. Art therapists rely on art to help people suffering from physical and mental trauma to not only work towards recovery but also work on something that brings them pride.

Art therapy is also remarkably versatile and can bring comfort to people in many different circumstances. Are you passionate about veterans issues? Consider making a contribution to The American Healing Arts Foundation for their work with veterans suffering from combat injuries and PTSD. 

Other art therapy organizations work specifically with refugees or chronically ill children. Donating to programs like these brings art directly to people who need it the most.

On a local level, keep an eye out for art shows or auctions that feature art created in art therapy programs. These works are beautiful, powerful, and support a great cause.

Artwork Archive is dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to manage your artwork so you have more time for what mattersmaking art. 

Interested in donating your art? Find out more about how the best way to go about donating here.