Art is not a luxury.
Most school districts are severely under-funded. With more and more funds being funneled to "No Child Left Behind" remediation, arts funding has suffered greatly. As an example, in the past few years, only 83 cents per child per year was allocated in the School District of Philadelphia for art-making supplies. This situation reached a crisis in Philadelphia with drastic cuts in academic art programming. We passionately feel that something must be done to save art making in our public schools.
Click through the Keynote presentation below:
Fresh Artists is an innovative concept of student-centric philanthropy. Children create art, donate images, and meet their financial benefactors in highly visible "corporate spaces of success". Fresh Artists is a new model of civic engagement where recipients of corporate generosity, the children, are full and equal partners in the common goal: to save access to art making for all children.
In 2005, we were asked "to bring the voices of the children" into the School District of Philadelphia's new 850,000 square foot Education Center at 440 N Broad by filling it with student artwork. We chose to use large photographic enlargements of the art rather than the small original pieces, given the scale of the building and the scope of the project. Each time a piece student work was installed someone would come up to us and say, "I love that! Can I buy one?" After two years of saying, "no, they're not for sale", we realized that these brilliant reproductions of student art enlarged to a grand scale were highly desirable. Individuals wanted them. Companies wanted them.
We realized that the children themselves could play an active part in fixing the critical shortage of funding for their art education: make their art available to people and corporations who will invest money in inner city schools. Create an innovative, new model of social entrepreneurship, a nonprofit organization to design and implement this vision.
Thus we founded Fresh Artists, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, created
to help save art making in K-12 public schools.
A core goal of Fresh Artists is the philanthropy of children, to facilitate the direct civic engagement of children by creating a tangible opportunity for them to give to each other. Fresh Artists does not "sell" children's art. We accept donations to fund the delivery of art supplies and innovative programs for needy schools and give thank-you gifts of nominal value, e.g. photographs of children's artwork, to our generous donors. The children participate fully by knowingly donating their artwork for this purpose.
Our model is patterned after all public television and radio stations' fundraising. They accept donations to fund their missions and give the choice of a tote bag, golf umbrella, travel mug, etc. as thank-you gifts of nominal value. Our photographs of children's artwork are our thank-you gifts of nominal value.
Fresh Artists also addresses a perennial challenge for all nonprofits: creating a sustainable funding stream. Although foundation support and special event money is essential to most nonprofits, best practices in fundraising tell us that the ideal model is to cultivate and engage "Major Donors" who will fall in love with the organization, and, with encouragement, remain in love, growing their support each year. Fresh Artists is shaped around this "Best Practice" by creating the opportunity for donors to engage with the young people they are helping by actively exhibiting their artwork. The artwork the children provide to donors is meaningful, vibrant and useful as office environments need attractive decoration. Exhibiting their artwork connects the donors to the children. Donors may also re-gift the artwork to charities of their choosing, and participate in our multi-year program of "refreshing" their workplace by donating their old art panels into other nonprofit's facilities, co-branded with Fresh Artists.
We are thrilled to present Fresh Artists, a smart, sassy, and strategic solution to empty public school art supply shelves and dull, bare business walls!
More About Us
What People Are Saying
- In an unprecedented, entrepreneurial fashion,
Fresh Artistsstrives to find the funds and resources necessary to ensure the presence of a robust art education program in our severely under-resourced public schools. The importance of such an enterprise cannot be overstated. more...
- Michael W. Schantz, Ph.D.
- The Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director and Chief Executive Officer Woodmere Art Museum