How Can Art Lift You Up? ArtLifting Tells the Story

Is your home looking a little empty? Open the door to ArtLifting. This business offers underprivileged artists a chance to sell original paintings, prints and products online, generating much-needed income and providing a confidence boost. Supporting this effort will not only bring beautiful artwork to into your home but also support homeless or physically impaired artists as they create stability in their lives.

Why ArtLifting?

Boston’s Liz Powers was only 18 years old when she secured a grant from Harvard University to initiate art groups in homeless shelters in the Boston area. She was blown away by the display of talent she witnessed and became determined prevent these pieces from sitting in the closets and basements of shelters. So, in November 2013, she and her brother Spencer launched ArtLifting as a digital marketplace for these invisible artists. The goal was to share the artwork and give the artists an opportunity at financial stability so they can lift themselves into a better quality of life through their own talents, not handouts.

“As a society, it’s our challenge to open our eyes to look at talents that are often invisible and make them visible,” says Powers.

The company’s motto is “business for good.” Each time you buy a piece of art, the artist earns 55 percent from the profit of that sale. Then, 1 percent from each sale goes toward supporting art programming at shelters, disability centers and social service agencies. Although ArtLifting is all about making a social impact, it’s a financially sustainable business rather than a charity, and the remaining 44 percent goes toward their operations.

Initially, ArtLifting launched with just four Boston artists. Almost immediately the initiative gained media attention, resulting in thousands of dollars of sales and a spotlight for the talented artists behind the work. Today, the business has grown to include 72 artists from 11 states who are keen to share their work and talents, move past the stigmas and have a chance at supporting themselves independently.

The Artists

The personal journeys of the artists are an integral part of the business platform. Check out just a few of their stories:

  • Allen Chamberland’s physical limitations may restrict his job options, but not his creativity. He makes intricate paper-cut works with single sheets of black paper. “It makes me feel good when people enjoy what I do,” he says.
  • Kitty Zen was thrown into post-traumatic stress disorder and found herself homeless as a young adult. Through creating art, she restored her voice and supported herself financially. Today, she’s a professional multimedia artist, as well as an activist for nonviolence and an advocate for the homeless population.
  • Terese Hanley uses her photography and mixed-media artwork as a way to express, understand and share her experiences with bipolar disorder. “When I work, I am focused and happy,” she says, “Art gives me a release, a sense of accomplishment and something to share. Those are all important things to me.”

Bring Art Into Your Home

If your home decor could use a lift, you can find original artwork for under $1,000 and even as little as $600, whether you’re looking for an abstract, a cityscape, geometric pieces or animal to cover your walls — in acrylic, watercolor or ink. There are prints, too, as well as merchandise ranging from phone cases to tote bags, greeting cards and notebooks. And although you’ll certainly be making a difference in someone’s life, you’ll also be bringing beauty into your own.

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