It isn’t often that one encounters a person who has an innovative concept designed to promote artists and their work while benefiting charitable organizations. In the year 2010, however, I was presented with a simple direct message through the Twitter social network from a Norwegian artist that would forever modify my perception of art marketing and charitable contribution. It said simply,
Have you seen #TwitterArtExhibit yet?
Up to that point in time, I was utilizing the Twitter social network to simply promote my artwork and the work of others with whom I was connecting. It never occurred to me that this virtual network of artists could actually evolve into a world-wide physical art exhibition.
Such was the dream of visionary artist David Sandum. The artist’s original concept was to bring 140 creative individuals from around the world together to form a physical art exhibition. Each of the 140 artists was to represent one of the 140 characters of which Twitter posts are composed. Artists who utilized the Twitter network were invited to simply mail a postcard-sized piece of original hand-made artwork to Moss, Norway where David labored to create a physical Twitter Art exhibit. The sale of each of the works of art was intended to help procure funds to purchase books for the children’s section of David’s local public library. I believe David was surprised at the generous response of the artists with which he had been connecting through Twitter as he received far more post-card sized artwork than the originally conceived 140 artist limit would have yielded. I personally sent two pieces to help benefit the charitable endeavor and I know I wasn’t the only one to contribute multiple works. Amazingly, nearly 260 artists from 24 countries were represented at the first Twitter Art Exhibition and the media response was phenomenal. It became readily apparent that when a community of artists is presented with an opportunity to provide assistance through the simple donation of hand-made works of art, there is no shortage of generosity. The end result of the exhibition was a pile of new children’s books for a library whose budget for such things had been severely reduced.
On the heels of a very successful first Twitter Art Exhibit, Mr. Sandum was motivated to attempt to further his artistic and philanthropic vision by calling for artists to submit work to benefit another needy organization in his area of the world. The second Twitter Art Exhibit implored artists who utilized the Twitter social media service to submit artwork to benefit the Moss, Norway Women in Crisis Center. Based upon the success of the first charitable exhibition, as one might expect, an even larger number of participants answered the call. Three hundred sixty artists from 32 countries came together to form an exhibition whose sale proceeds generated nearly $4000 USD to aid the Women in Crisis Center’s cause. More and more artists are beginning to see how a simple painting, collage, or woodblock print can change the lives of people in a way that could never have been imagined. By coming together as a creative community, artists are able to collectively change the lives of those who need help the most.
It should be clearly obvious that David’s concept for artistic promotion and charitable contribution could not be contained by the geographic boundaries of his home country of Norway. The concept is simply too innovative and the power of its charitable nature would naturally have to compel it to evolve into a world-wide endeavor. With the recent call for artists for the third permutation of the Twitter Art Exhibit located in Los Angeles, California, USA, one realizes that it is not the locale, but the need that dictates were the Twitter Art Exhibit will reside.
For the year 2012, the Twitter Art Exhibit is banding artists together to benefit Art Division. This non-profit organization is dedicated to training and supporting underserved youth within the Rampart District of Los Angeles who are committed to studying the visual arts. In a densely populated at-risk area of Los Angeles, this organization is providing a beacon of light to 18-25 year old individuals who can be given the tools and individualized education necessary to pursue a successful career within the art world.
As can be seen from the previous Twitter Art Exhibitions, one can expect an even larger number of artists from around the world to be represented. 100% of the proceeds from the event will go to benefit Art Division and this simply would not be possible without the support of not only the artists who contribute artwork, but also the volunteers who donate their valuable time to create exhibition labels and hang the artwork to create the show. Couple this with the incredible month-long donation of space at the Exhale Unlimited (E.U.) Gallery in Los Angeles’ Chinatown area and you have a recipe for amazing success. It is rare for a charitable event to actually present 100% of its earnings to an organization and the amount of labor required to create a successful artistic exhibition is enormous. The volunteers and organizers (Nat George and Virginia Arce) that are making this event possible deserve a huge amount of appreciation.
If you are an artist who utilizes the Twitter social network to promote your artwork and connect with other artists and wish to participate in the amazing charitable work being accomplished through the Twitter Art Exhibit, visit http://twitterartexhibit.org/ and stop by the current call for artists to see how you can help. The last two images in this article are the paintings that I am personally contributing to this noble effort and I know that many more are necessary in order to make this a successful exhibition. Stop by the aforementioned website and consider doing your part to aid an amazing organization.Tagged with: #twitterartexhibit, art, charity, donation, exhibition, global, twitter