T'is the season for giving, and there is no better time to donate to an arts initiative or organization now that you have all that extra cash (thanks grandma!) We asked writer, Kira Cook to help us put our heart where the art is, check out the following organizations and get to giving. Got an organization or art-related cause to share? Comment below!
In this festive time of giving and getting, consider donating to an arts foundation this holiday season. Happily, a lot of attention is being paid right now to where we put our attention and our money. How about: for every two or three gifts you purchase for a loved one, then proceed to donate the amount of one gift? It's a philanthropic and fresh way to start a new year: put your money outside of your own life and contribute to that of another. Or, consider making a donation in your loved oneÃ¢â¬â¢s name. It's a thoughtful, anti-consumerist gesture that does infinite good for the people who comprise the eternally financially struggling art world.
Now, I'm not saying you should pull a George Costanza and give everyone in your life cards saying you've donated to THE HUMAN FUND in their name, but...I kinda am. Just make sure THE HUMAN FUND is real, and art-specific, which are among the first programs to lose funding when the government tightens the purse strings.
Read on for a list of wonderful organizations to put your money where your art heart is.
Nest is a decade-old non-profit that's committed to bringing business development and advocacy to global artisans and homeworkers. By helping advance the social and economic reality of artisans all over the world, Nest empowers women in communities where their class and gender traditionally keeps them economically feeble. Nest also helps to alleviate poverty and transform local communities via the donation of new facilities, upgraded equipment, language classes, and mentorship programs.
Donate here: https://nest.givingfuel.com/nest-online-donations
MOBILE LIBRARY IN GREECE
Megan Kelly and Claire Typaldos volunteered in Greece with the refugee organization Lighthouse Relief, and noticed the grave need for books in the refugee camps. With over 50,000 refugees and migrants stuck in Greece alone, children are going uneducated for months on end whilst teens and adults have had to halt their own education. The pair are trying to raise $15,000 to bring a mobile library to Greece that can travel between all the different refugee camps, bringing books and education to people unmoored of country, home, and schools.
Created in Portland, the Dreaming Zebra Foundation's goal is to promote greater access to the arts for children and young adults worldwide. Your donation, in partnership with the Global Alliance for Africa, can go towards purchasing musical instruments for orphans and at-risk children affected by the Sub-Saharan AIDS pandemic.
For just $30, you can sponsor a young artist and help bring music and music education into his/her life!
One for you, one for me is my approach to giving museum memberships for the holidays. It's an incredibly thoughtful and unique gift, but also one that keeps on giving for a whole year, your gift recipient will reap the benefits of hundreds of events, exhibitions, and general arts programming given by their local museum. Just don't forget to get one for yourself, too. I find that once I invested in a membership, I went to the museum about four times as much as I did without one. It's a great excuse to get more involved in the global arts community and to bone up on your art knowledge in the process.
An individual membership to LACMA in Los Angeles, for example, is only $60 for the entire year. It includes tons of perks such as members-only preview days, gift shop discounts, and complementary tickets to special exhibitions.
You can also directly donate to a museum's Education & Outreach Fund, which usually emphasize bringing greater cultural awareness to a wide audience of underserved children, students, and families.
More on that here: http://www.lacma.org/node/22351
URBAN ARTWORKS, SEATTLE
Urban Artworks has been building Seattle's at-risk youth a sense of self-sufficiency and self-motivation with their public arts programs for the last two decades. Their mission is to "create public art that empowers young people and transforms communities." What's more powerful than that? Everybody is a winner with this organization, as the at-risk youth have something meaningful on which to spend their time and physical and creative energy. In turn, the Seattle community at large benefits from the gorgeous large-scale murals and public works of art that this organization creates.
Learn more and donate at: http://urbanartworks.org/
BRIGHT LITE MAGAZINE
Buying your loved ones a subscription to an independently-funded start-up magazine is a wonderful way to invest in the arts. Consider getting your niece or cousin a subscription to Bright Lite magazine this holiday season. Created for pre-teen girls that focuses on young creative's, this magazine relies on creative submissions from young girls all over the world, including photography, creative writing, crafts, and art. The goal of every issue is to give young girls "a place to express their experiences and reflections on a central theme"
A 1-year subscription is $65 -- get it here: http://www.brightlitemag.com/
LOCAL ARTS AGENCIES
Every state has a Commission on the Arts, which is the state-wide wing of the National Endowment of the Arts, an independent leg of the government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artist excellence. Whereas the Commission on the Arts are government-funded, each state's website has a list of local arts agencies. These are invaluable resources for both local artists and those looking to donate to local art agencies that need financial help.
Here is Arizona's list: http://azarts.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/AZLocalArtsAgencies_2017_20160719.pdf
A great way to interact with a financially struggling arts project in real time is to head over to Kickstarter Explore tab and peruse the Art, Crafts, Dance, Design, Fashion, Music, or Photography sections. The opportunities to support a bourgeoning creative project are truly endless, and makes all the difference between the project eventually seeing the light of day "and thereby affecting countless others" or not.
Get started here: https://www.kickstarter.com/
Alternately, you can peruse the projects on Hatch Fund, which is a crowd-funding site expressly for artists. Boasting disciplines such as Architecture & Design, Dance, Literature, Music, Visual Arts, and Theater Arts, you can peruse by projects that resonate with you personally and make a donation, thereby enabling their projects to come to fruition.