ArtLifting Artist Inspires Harvard Undergrads to Create Art

ArtLifting Artist Inspires Harvard Undergrads to Create Art

Leading an art class at a world-renowned university would have been the last thing Kitty Zen, an artist who has struggled with homelessness for most of her life, could have imagined. Last Friday, she guided 25 Harvard undergraduates through an oil painting class.

The event was organized by ArtLifting and Crimson Commons, a student organization that facilitates hands-on interaction with socially-driven companies. Mackenzie Lee, a junior at Harvard College and President of Crimson Commons, said the event attracted a diverse group of students, who, in addition to participating in the class, were curious to hear Kitty’s journey from homelessness to celebrated artist.

The students listened as Kitty recounted how her parents put their life savings into their house, and when it burned down, were left homeless and without financial security. While living on the streets, she was quickly forced to take care of herself. An avid and talented artist, Kitty used to sell her work on a blanket in Boston Commons, the city’s largest public park. Despite the heavy foot traffic, she was lucky if she could sell her pieces for $20 to the few passersby curious enough to stop and look. Today, through the ArtLifting platform, Kitty’s original paintings have been sold for more than $1000 each and instead of resting on a wet blanket, her exquisite and highly praised work has adorned the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and on national television. “We were inspired and touched by Kitty’s success,” says Mackenzie.  “She is very selfless and brave in the way she communicates her story.”

At ArtLifting, we empower our artists not only by providing them a recurring income via the sale of their artwork, but by building self esteem and self worth through the creation of jobs. We were especially touched to see Kitty sharing her talent with the students at Harvard teaching and inspiring them to create art.

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