ArtLifting is a social enterprise that provides an online marketplace for individuals in art groups at hospitals and homeless shelters. Through both the celebration and sale of their artwork, ArtLifting sets out to empower homeless, disabled, and other disadvantaged people. Pocket Robin caught up with Liz Powers, co-founder and “chief-happiness-spreader” to find out what inspired the birth of this company and her vision for the future.
During her college years, Liz wrote a thesis exploring the social benefits of art therapy programs which later propelled her into setting up art groups in women’s shelters. There were many art therapy groups in existence however Liz couldn’t find an outlet; a place for the artists to share their work.
She believed this to be a vital piece of the jigsaw in order to truly empower artists, so in 2011 she launched “City Heart”, an annual art show in Boston. It offered a professional marketplace for local shelters to sell their artwork to customers.
(Dante cooking up a storm)
With the additional help of Liz’s brother, Spencer Powers, City Heart was showcasing a massive 70 artists by 2012. They weren’t going to stop there however. Why restrict it to just an annual exhibition? Why not provide this service all year round?
The answer to this question was “ArtLifting”. Founded in October 2013, it is low-profit limited liability company (“L3C”), which means it is a business driven by a social mission. ArtLifting offers an online marketplace, selling to retail customers and direct to the corporate world.
Instead of providing one off hand-outs, ArtLifting provides disadvantaged individuals with the opportunity to earn an income and it is Liz’s dream to see this social business model spread.
As a customer, you are not just buying a piece of art; you are helping to turn somebody’s life around. One ArtLifting artist has secured housing after 10 years of homelessness, gaining confidence and pride in her talent before achieving this accomplishment. What’s more, a percentage of each sale is invested back into the art groups throughout the hospitals and shelters, helping ArtLifting reach even more artists.
Check out ArtLifting.com to visit their gallery and read up on some of the artists’ incredible journeys.
We wish the ArtLifting the best of luck for the future and look forward to seeing this rolled out worldwide!