CBS News Profiles Two ArtLifting Artists on National Segment March 15, 2015 17:27

That was a very exciting weekend for ArtLifting as two of our artists, Scott Benner of Boston and Kimberly Williams of Fort Washington, MD were featured on CBS News. The segment aired on approximately 80 local stations across the U.S. throughout the weekend. You can view the full story here.

Kimberly is one of many talented artists we have been able to partner with as a result of our successful Kickstarter campaign last year. So far, funds raised from the campaign have enabled us to expand our network of artists to three new cities including Washington D.C., San Francisco, and New York City.

Drug and alcohol addictions left Kimberly homeless for nearly nine years. When she began painting at Miriam’s Kitchen in Washington, D.C., where free art classes are offered to shelter participants, the healing process of creating art became her most powerful tool for combating her addictions.

“Art is what I do [as] opposed to taking a drink,” Kimberly says, “art is what I do [as] opposed to getting high.” In December, Kimberly sold a three-piece painting to Creative Office Pavilion, a furniture dealer based in Boston, via ArtLifting. The painting set now hangs in one of their conference rooms in the Boston Design Center for office visitors to admire, learn about, and be inspired by. The confidence and income that Kimberly gained through this sale gave her a tremendous emotional boost and allowed her to buy a Christmas gift for her four-year-old son, an avid painter as well. The Washington Post profiled this story last December.

As part of her first collection on ArtLifting, Kimberly is featuring 14 pieces.  Her work consists of abstract designs with vivid colors and high contrast. Her work embodies her life’s struggles as well as the beauty that can result from hardwork and dedication.  Here is one of her featured pieces, an acrylic painting called Triptych Part 1. The original is 16 x 20 in size and can be purchased for $500. Customers can also purchase prints and posters of the original in various sizes.

The other artist that CBS featured wasScott Bennerof Boston. When Scott lost his job as a crane operator during the 2008 recession, his expensive medical bills forced him to sell his home and live on the street. To distract himself from the stress and uncertainty over his future, Scott turned to drawing which has always been a hobby of his and at which he is incredibly talented. Scott had never considered that others might want to buy his art. When a director ofFather Bill’s shelter in Quincy, MA read about ArtLifting, he encouraged Scott to approach us. Below is one of Scott’s signature hand-drawn pieces,Untitled 10, which is 7.25 x 8.5 in size and can be purchased for $500. Scott spends anywhere from tens to hundreds of hours creating his drawings.

Scott has been selling his work on our site since August 2014 and has seen tremendous success as a result. Last September, he was invited to have his own dedicated gallery showing at Makerbot on Newbury St. for which Makerbot 3D-printed custom iPhone cases textured with patterns from Scott’s drawings to sell to store visitors during the event. Even more exciting, as a result of the income and confidence Scott has gained from selling his work through ArtLifting, he has secured housing again. When asked why he creates art, Scott says “art is a place where I can make what I want to see happen.”

At ArtLifting, our mission is to empower homeless and disabled individuals through the celebration and sale of their artwork. Empowerment can come in many forms and manifests differently for different individuals. We measure our impact in part by the confidence our artists gain as a result of being treated like professionals. This confidence stems directly from sharing art they created amidst challenging life circumstances with the outside world. As Kimberly says in the CBS News segment, “if you keep going and it’s something that you really really love to do, something good is going to happen.”

For more information on our impact, check out our impact page.