The Reason Behind ArtLifting's Investment in Corporate Partnerships
March 17, 2017, 03 PM
2016 was a year of tremendous growth for ArtLifting. After securing $1.3 million in seed funding in July of 2015 from investors like Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, and Eric Ries, author of Lean Startup, our team has worked tirelessly to reach several milestones.
This past year alone, we onboarded more than 60 artists nationwide and now proudly represent 112 artists impacted by homelessness or disability in 19 states. We’re thrilled to support individuals whose perseverance and creativity inspire us every day. From Los Angeles-based artist Eric Santamaria who paints with the wheels of his wheelchair to war veterans who use art to heal, we’re excited to share their stories and life’s work with you.
Thanks to our rapidly growing customer base, we paid out a total commission in the six figures to artists. We’ve come a long way since our co-founders, Liz and Spencer Powers, bootstrapped $4,000 of their savings three years ago.
Deval Patrick, Managing Director at Bain Capital and former governor of Massachusetts, met with Boston-based artists Allen Chamberland and Scott Benner after purchasing their artworks for his office.
The key to our growth has been a resonance of our mission and business model in the corporate art market. More and more companies realize the importance of making socially conscious decisions and how these decisions affect company culture, including the art they put on their walls. It shows employees and clients that they are committed to giving back to their communities and fostering productive and positive work environments. What used to be a logistical process of decorating an office has become an opportunity to visibly showcase a company’s social values.
Today, with five licensing deals and over 70 corporate clients later, we feel confident that we can continue to grow our impact by connecting talented artists with companies that want to make a difference. We’re proud to count companies like Starbucks, Google, Microsoft, and Staples as partners in driving our mission forward.
In October 2016, we partnered with Google to open the first Art@Google exhibition featuring works by artist Scott Benner.
Our website now has a fresh new look to encourage businesses and individual customers to join our mission. Our curation and customer service teams are committed to bringing you the highest quality art and merchandise from some of the most talented artists in the country.
Thank you for being a part of this movement. We can’t wait to continue growing our impact in 2017!
ThinOPTICS x ArtLifting
December 16, 2016, 04 PM
ArtLifting is thrilled to announce a partnership with ThinOPTICS, the pioneering eyewear company that revolutionized reading glasses with its stemless lenses, to launch a Curated Collection of ten new cases designed by artists living with homelessness or disabilities. The partnership launched December 12th, 2016, and ArtLifting will receive 20% of the net profit from each case sold to benefit the artists directly.
“We’re thrilled to work with ThinOPTICS to expand our impact. Our artists’ beautiful artwork that will adorn ThinOPTICS’ innovative glass cases. The fact that these artsy cases are primarily placed on mobile phones means our artists’ work will be shared with thousands of people,” said Liz Powers, co-founder of ArtLifting. “We are excited to collaborate in sharing their stories and the wonderful work that we’re all doing together. The purchase of the curated ThinOPTICS cases and glasses directly benefits our artists by providing them with income, empowerment and hope.”
Each artist brings a different and inspirational background story, expression and aesthetic to the cases on which their designs are now showcased. Tim Strouss was left partially paralyzed on his left side after surgery complications and took up painting as a cathartic way to challenge himself; Alicia Sterling Beach aims to spread joy and keep herself active by creating art despite degenerative chronic osteoporosis and PTSD she developed in early childhood, which led to stints of homelessness throughout her life. In the face of adversity, each artist found solace and a form of sustainable income in showcasing their works via ArtLifting, and their designs now appear on ThinOPTICS sleek glasses cases – with Strouss’ also appearing on a matching pair of ThinOPTICS readers. In addition to Strouss and Beach, Randy Nicholson, Aneliya Kostova, David McCauley, Jeff Roysdon, Andrew Weatherly, Krishaun Williams and Mia Brown round out the list of artists whose designs are featured on ThinOPTICS Universal Pods, and each of their incredible stories can be found at www.thinoptics.com/artlifting.
“A Balanced Patriotism” by Tim Strouss
ThinOPTICS cases can be proudly displayed on the back of mobile phones and tablets or tucked conveniently inside wallets, purses and pockets because of their ingenious glasses design that makes them as thin as two credit cards and lighter than a nickel. The result of two years of innovation and over 200 prototypes, ThinOPTICS glasses have no stems, yet they rest securely and comfortably on the bridge of the nose using flex-grip technology. The lineup of classic colors that ThinOPTICS users have loved since the brand hit the market in 2014 are now further enhanced by the artwork of each incredible artist.
“When we set out to make ThinOPTICS, we only had a slight idea of the impact our product would have on its day-to-day users,” said Darren Lancaster, VP of Marketing and Co-Founder of ThinOPTICS. “And now, this incredible new partnership with ArtLifting allows our customers to have a profound effect on the lives of these artists who are facing struggles that most cannot imagine. That’s a great feeling – to be a part of something that truly incorporates the big picture, especially around the holidays when providing extra support to those who may not be as fortunate can make all the difference.”
The ultra-thin Universal Pod cases and matching glasses featuring “A Balanced Patriotism” by Tim Strouss and “Bipolar Inspiration” by Randy Nicholson retail for $29.95, and the subsequent eight designed cases that come with classic color ThinOPTICS lenses retail for $24.95. These designs and all ThinOPTICS glasses can be purchased at www.thinoptics.com/artlifting with the exclusive and limited collection launching just in time for the Holidays.
ArtLifting in the UBS Planet Art Lounge at Art Basel in Miami Beach
December 12, 2016, 04 PM
Nearly 70,000 tourists flocked to The Miami Convention Center last week for Art Basel--an international art fair with annual shows in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, Florida; and Hong Kong, China. Art Basel showcases contemporary artworks by established and newly emerging artists from across the globe. UBS, the title sponsor of Art Basel in Miami Beach, has a long history of supporting the communities in which it works. To honor the Miami community and its unique art culture, this year's UBS Planet Art Lounge featured ArtLifting's own David McCauley.
David is a mixed media artist. His work blends design, sculpture, typography, and repurposed materials. His urban contemporary artwork is held in prestigious private collections worldwide and has been featured internationally in solo and group exhibitions with such institutions as SCOPE Art Show, Galerie Lano (Paris), Cheryl Hazan Gallery (NYC), Projective Space (NYC), and The Richmond Art Museum. In 2008, David sustained a spinal cord injury at the C6 vertebrae that impaired his hand usage and paralyzed him from the chest down. To cope with the challenges that came with such paralysis, David turned to creating art.
David is also the founder of The Rise Up Gallery and The Little Haiti Laundromat Art Space. Both 501c3 non profit organizations have been awarded numerous accolades for their programs which provide art therapy workshops to the community and studio/exhibition space for artists.
As part of its sponsorship this year, UBS hosted the UBS Planet Art Lounge in the public-access area of the fair. ArtLifting artist David McCauley’s work was showcased through a wall vinyl and take-away coffee cups.
David’s reaction: “I've been fortunate enough to show work in other art fairs, but we all know that Art Basel draws the most prestigious artists, collectors, and gallerists through its doors. It’s humbling to have so many powerful players in the art world exposed to my work.”
ArtLifting is helping artists gain exposure, yes, but beyond that we are trying to show that art can be a driver of social change, that talented artists deserve a chance to have a career making art, and that everyone can contribute to society. We were thrilled to have a presence at Art Basel Miami, not as a traditional booth, but as a point of conversation in the Planet Art Lounge. We hoped this presence would open up a dialogue on the potential that art has to transform lives and communities.
Artists Give Thanks
November 24, 2016, 03 PM
This Thanksgiving, we asked ArtLifting artists what they were thankful for. Here’s what they had to say:
“For each day. For farmers who bring fruits and flowers to my urban life. For water. For forgiveness. For lovers of art. For you.” — Jo Jackson
“I’m soooo thankful after a long day having a home to go to. I see so many homeless people; it hits me hard.” — Judi (JMW)
“I am grateful that my art allows me to express my physical condition lovingly and with compassion. It helps me be compassionate towards others. I am grateful that my art touched others with beauty. I am grateful that I can be a part of Artlifting and illustrate that those with disabilities make up a community that is spreading perseverance through creativity. I am grateful that my art is a reflection of living as my true self.” — Cynthia Perdigao
“The ability through Art, to control the chaos that is my mind. The magic of focus on a single point.” — E. Lewis Basher
“I'm thankful for family and friends during this thanksgiving. I'm also thankful for god blessing me with the artistic talents to create my artwork. I'm also very thankful to be a Artlifting artist as well. I'm also thankful for connecting with a great friend this year. Everyday is a blessing. Everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving.” — Kevin Munster
“I'm thankful for another year of companionship from my senior dog, Murray.” — Jeff Roysdon
“I'm thankful for having found housing I can afford. I'm setting up my studio in the bedroom and soon will have new artwork to share. Thanks to everyone at ArtLifting for running an enterprise that gives me the confidence to keep creating!” — Laura Kupac
“I am thankful for sharing my passion for creating art and for the chance to share my passion with others. I am thankful for the support and encouragement that I receive from some very caring people.” — Andrew Weatherly
“I am thankful for the higher power, who stepped into my life and made it possible for me to earn more. As an artist, I am constantly compromising my worth for the buyer who is always lacking in finances. I would like to thank those who help me to stand my ground and defend my worth.” — Jeff Powers
“I am thankful for every breath I still take. For fresh air and water, friends, my sobriety, and trying to remain open-minded and teachable every day.” — Katie Hickey
“It's been an interesting year, while I've enjoyed continuing success with Artlifting, I have seen the passing of some dear friends and family. So I guess when it comes to being grateful I'd have to say I'm thankful for the gift of life and the blessing of having friends and family in it.” — Scott Benner
“My Grandma! She is 108 years old and I love her everyday. I love my family and my staff. I'm thankful that I can make art.” — Mia Brown
"I'm thankful for my health, both physical and mental, to all those who support and love me.” — Susan Spangenberg
“I am thankful in 2016 that I have found an art organization that is allowing me to showcase my art again. ArtLifting has given me the courage to open myself up again on a creative level where I am expressing wonderful and soulful art.” — Christine Nelson
What are you thankful for?
Art@Google: Scott Benner Exhibits Artwork at Google
November 13, 2016, 08 AM
On October 13th, ArtLifting and Google came together to celebrate the launch of a new art exhibition on Google’s Cambridge campus. Titled Lines In Motion, the exhibition features a curated selection of nine artworks created by Boston-based artist Scott Benner.
On stage with Brian Cusack, Industry Director at Google, ArtLifting Artist Scott Benner answers questions about his creations.
Google Real Estate Project Executive John Moran, who worked with ArtLifting to develop this partnership, explains that Google took an interest in featuring ArtLifting artists as part of a larger goal to “create spaces that inspire and help cultivate innovation.” He continues, “Our mission with Google is to create amazing work environments and experiences…We hope this artwork will positively influence the daily work of our Cambridge Googlers.” Equally important to Moran is the impact the Google Real Estate Project is making on artists in the local community. He declares, “the best part” of the partnership is “the social mission driving this work.”
The exhibition guide encouraged visitors to view the works "up close in order to fully appreciate their labyrinth-like design."
Benner began his relationship with art at a young age, doodling on graph paper left around the house by his father, an electrical engineer. After a series of events left him homeless and without a job, Benner found solace in art creation and saw that others were also touched by his work. Since joining ArtLifting, Benner has massed an ever-growing portfolio and has found housing. Benner does not, however, plan on stopping anytime soon: “My focus right now is really working on my art as a full-time thing. This is the first time in my whole life that I can focus this way.”
Benner proudly presents his work.
“We saw in this an opportunity to use art as a way of engaging the community, to get them exposed to an organization that we thought was doing something interesting in this particular community,” Moran said to Artsy's Abigail Cain in an editorial on ArtLifting's corporate partnerships. “It’s about highlighting something that was started here in the Boston area, bringing it into the campus to expand that exposure to our Google community and to see what comes of that.”
Google plans to feature two other local ArtLifting artists on its Cambridge campus in the upcoming year as part of a new partnership between ArtLifting and Google called “art@Google” and hopes to create similar exhibitions on its campuses across the country.
How I Used Photography to Cope with PTSD After War
November 11, 2016, 11 AM
Every year on November 11th, America honors the nation’s veterans on Veterans Day. There are 21.8 million veterans in the US, roughly 7% of the population, according to the 2014 Census Bureau. Sadly, often times the horrors of war follow the veterans home. More than 20% of troops who served in Iraq or Afghanistan have come home with PTSD, and 12% of America’s homeless are veterans. Art, for these veterans, is a place of refuge.
By Clyde R. Horn, PhD.
I'm proud that I answered the call to my country. Sacrifice and honor is a big deal to veterans. I'm proud to wear my veteran hat, Purple Heart insignia, and stand tall. Freedom is the backbone of America, and I'm part of the proud tradition of helping America stay free. I was in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. We flew in helicopters all over Vietnam, and we were dropped off for several weeks at a time into the jungles. Then, we returned to the Saigon area for several days for showers, hot food, and entertainment. Then it was back to the jungles fighting the enemy.
When I returned from Vietnam in 1968, it was hard times. Being in war changed my life, having come close to death many times, being wounded, and seeing death all around me. I was traumatized. I wasn't able to reveal I was a veteran for fear of being attacked. Thankfully, today that fear is no longer present. It makes me proud, and I often have tears leaking out of my eyes when people approach me with kindness and respect. Veterans Day honors the sacrifice of those who lived and died throughout the generations for this country.
When I came back from war, I had problems attaching along with relational issues. I became a loner, isolated, and struggled with a sleep disorder and high levels of anxiety. I was a functional mess. Art helped me channel those struggles into something productive. Art, for me, helps me go to safe places. Anxiety and trauma take away safety. It's disruptive and chaotic. Art is soothing, quiet, and relaxing. My photography is mostly nature based, so I feel grounded and in tune with the hum of the earth. Being calm to the forces of trauma helps me heal. Art literally helped me survive PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) by helping me refocus. I used my art to express emotions without words and utilized my creativity to find healing.
I am new to ArtLifting, but am honored to be part of an organization that elevates the homeless and disabled as productive human beings. To me, it exemplifies the oneness of humanity revealing we all have gifts that need to be seen and shared.
Learn more about Clyde here
ArtLifting thanks Museum of Fine Arts, Boston | Memorial Day Weekend
June 6, 2016, 07 PM
UPDATE: Final attendance count for Memorial Day was 9,661—a 12% increase over last year!
Four of ArtLifting's artists can now proudly say their work has been displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Elizabeth Belstraz, Allen Chamberland, Lori-Anne Fay, and Kitty Zen showed their original artwork in response to the Megacities: Asia exhibit during the Memorial Day Open House, which was the most highly attended day for the museum thus far in 2016.
Kitty, Elizabeth, Allen, and Lori-Anne shared their art with a diverse cross-section of Boston's population in the Shapiro Family Courtyard. Adults and children alike were drawn to the vibrant works and unique perspectives on urban life.
Patrons had the opportunity to discuss the pieces on display with the artists themselves, engaging in productive dialogue concerning homelessness, population growth, and the creative process.
ArtLifting would like to thank the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for recognizing the talent that exists in our community during its busiest day of the year and for bringing visibility to Kitty, Elizabeth, Allen, and Lori-Anne in a positive forum.
15 Gifts For Dad That Are Totally Better Than A Mug
June 3, 2016, 12 PM
Artists who live with homelessness or disabilities receive 55% of profits. Find more socially conscious gifts for dad here.
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Everyone's dad is different. Some love sports. Some love music. Some love cars. This Father’s Day, we’re presenting a curated collection of products that cover the spectrum, from baseball to rock & roll. Don’t settle for a mug this year—surprise dad with a gift he’ll be proud to show off.
Bears Stadium by Krishaun Williams
Jeff Powers knows what dads like—he is one. His captivating portraits render sports icons and music legends in a whole new light.
BONUS: If your dad’s a Red Sox fan, the opportunity to wish him a “Happy Father’s Day” via Big Papi is kind of hard to pass up.
3.) For the Jazz Connoisseur
Yellow Trumpet by Charles Blackwell
4.) For the Motorhead
Summer Ride by Allen Chamberland
Sleek lines. Smooth edges. Stunning design.
Yes, we’re speaking to the motorheads in the audience, but we’re also talking about Allen Chamberland’s intricate papercuts. They’re cut from single sheets of black paper, creating a depth and contrast that stop pedestrians in their tracks.
Harley Engine by Allen Chamberland
BONUS: If your dad really isn’t into art, tell him Allen ‘paints’ with an X-Acto knife. He’ll come to.
5.) For the Boat Enthusiast
Rigging by Allen Chamberland
Bon Voyage by Jeff Powers
The Old Pier by Allen Chamberland
6.) For the Dad Who Needs a New Phone Case
#7 by Douglas Pendleton
Untitled 5 by Scott Benner
Did your dad break the screen on his last phone? If the answer’s yes, he has to accept the logic here.
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Free shipping for Father's Day with code FATHERSDAY at checkout!
The Road to the MFA: Elizabeth Belstraz Mixes Media & Experience for Memorial Day Event
May 24, 2016, 03 PM
This Memorial Day, four ArtLifting artists will be presenting original artwork at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Their pieces are creative responses to the current Megacities: Asia exhibit, which is on display throughout the museum until July 17th.
Having faced adversity in one of America’s oldest cities, this ArtLifting quartet is more than ready to share their unique perspectives with the world. As a primer for next week’s event, we’ll be featuring multiple pieces about the artists so that you can learn more about their stories, their process, and the road that led them to the MFA.
Elizabeth Belstraz is a lifelong artist and—perhaps not so coincidentally—a graduate of The School of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She explains her process for creating artwork in response to the Megacities: Asia exhibit.
“The process is planned out: I look at the exhibit that’s already there. I do research. I’m choosing themes. It’s a lot of research—a lot of thinking, writing, drawing, planning, and distilling the most basic elements within those themes.”
Salem Willows Park
Elizabeth works heavily with mixed media, sculpture, and collage. She incorporated experiences from her past travels, finding themes and distilling them down to their foundational elements for the feature at the MFA.
“I think about my history in Boston. All the different apartments I’ve lived in, cities I’ve lived in, people I’ve lived with, and then all my experiences with the environment. What does Boston represent to me? I just have to get it down to the most simple symbols and concepts.”
Creating artwork in response to an exhibit at the MFA is certainly a challenge, but it’s within these challenges that Elizabeth finds one of her biggest strengths.
“Figuring out how I can solve a problem, whether it’s a design problem or a limitation with my health, I challenge myself to find a creative solution, and sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s exciting and fun to do that. Because I think, ‘Oh—can I make myself creative enough to do that?’”
“Surviving challenges, including those in the areas of health and housing, has led me on a transformational journey through the arts.”
Venus and the Sun
Elizabeth’s journey and ingenuity is on display on Memorial Day, May 30th at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. ArtLifting Spotlight Talks begin at 11:00 AM, and admission is free for the Open House.
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Photos by Ali Campbell
Artists Make Global Statement at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
May 16, 2016, 07 PM
We’re excited to announce that four of ArtLifting’s artists will be featured guests at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston this Memorial Day!
As part of its annual free Open House, the MFA is hosting a series of spotlight talks with Kitty Zen, Elizabeth Belstraz, Allen Chamberland, and Lori-Anne Fay. The artists will share speeches and commissioned artwork in response to the current Megacities: Asia exhibit. Having faced adversity in one of America’s oldest cities, this ArtLifting quartet are more than ready to share their unique perspectives with the world.
For ArtLifting’s artists, the opportunity to present commissioned artwork at the MFA—to one of the year’s largest crowds, in response to an internationally inspired exhibit—is nothing short of a dream come true and an astounding opportunity.
Share the important event here!
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Admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is FREE on Memorial Day, May 30th