BY: SWIKAR OLI
Buy some art and help someone in need—that’s the mutually beneficial idea driving ArtLifting, a startup that recently raised $1.1 million and provides a platform for homeless and disabled artists to sell their art.
Liz Powers, who started Artlifting, has found paintings through art therapy sessions in homeless shelters, “including about 20 in the Boston area,” The Boston Globe reports. Powers says her business gives homeless and disabled artists the opportunity to earn cash and gain some confidence.
“ArtLifting has [allowed me to] believe in myself and lifted me up to totally be proud of myself,” Judi Dahlquist, an Artlifting artist from Chicago, told Chicagoinno. Dahlquist has been in and out of hospitals since her early-twenties and had to end her hopes of being a dancer and an actress. But now, ArtLifting has given her the chance to still make money through art. “It’s like I’ve got to pinch myself,” she added, “Is this real?”
ArtLifting’s main website sells posters and case covers that start at $35 USD, but the website also has some original paintings ranging from a few hundred dollars to over five thousand. Fifty-five per cent of that money goes to the artist. So far, Airlifting is representing 50 people, and five “have received housing and are no longer homeless,” according to TechCrunch.
Stephanie Wright, who curates the works, told the Harvard Crimson that “in deciding which pieces of art to accept onto the ArtLifting platform, I rigorously evaluate each piece based on my perception of its technical intricacy and saleability.” Art stands out not just for its aesthetic also but also the concept and the artist’s story. This is what makes the art unique—their stories of struggle are much like fingerprints.
“Pink Lady” by Priscilla
Ten artists of the Boston-based startup were also selected to display their art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
ArtLifting says it is staying for-profit so they don’t have to be tied to gaining grant money. With the $1.1 million seed, of which Tom’s Shoes’ creator was a backer, ArtLifting will expand to reach more potential artists.
“Goddamn” by Jeff of Boston
“Elegance” by Cynthia
“Go Deep” by Elizabeth D’Angelo
“Peaches” by Kasey
Image sources: instagram.com