The Art For Aid Project in 2020 - What we have done. What we will do.

Colleen Gray Art For Aid blog news update

Colleen Gray-artist/founder

I was told once by a seer that I am a navigator. I laughed. I’ve been lost more times than a map has lines - but she was right; I am a finder of things, a collector of solutions, able to bridge needs with gets. In truth, I’m not much more than a glorified procurement and shipping agent. But I’m good at it.

The Art For Aid Project is successful because you believe in the power of art to bring healing and inspiration - perhaps in this, we are all navigators. Your generosity and support has put thousands of dollars worth of art supplies and culturally relevant learning tools into the hands of Indigenous youth. I don’t have enough space here to put a dent in the list of things you’ve donated to bring creative happiness to youth in remote Indigenous schools in Canada.

Your donations have put coveted Manga pens in to the hands of young people, canvases in front of painters. You’ve gifted young people with finger paint, clay, playdough, stickers, colouring books, fine art pens, watercolour tools, carving implements and so much more - so, so much more. You’ve helped to build a fully equipped sewing program in Natuashish, and equipped a fundraising art contest in Garden Hill. (I will be working on getting more pictures to share with everyone).

You give Indigenous students the art supplies that ignite the imagination.

At Christmas time you supported Lesley’s House in Iqaluit - a place where young people can go when they just need a place to decompress, grab a snack, do some art and find peace. The contributions you make to this work have a far reaching ripple effect. When Covid 19 hit we shipped out the last of our art supplies to keep as many kids as we could out of the grips of boredom for a little while.

Between shipping and collecting, we have spoke to hundreds of students in the Ottawa and surrounding area about the beautiful places in remote Canada where students face the challenges of insufficient art tools in their classrooms. The students in the local schools that I speak with are often inspired to do more or connect in some way. They do this through our BearHeart Contact Cards. Schools can download the template and print it for their students. Youth then draw a picture or write a note to students that may be thousands of miles away. The schools mail them to us and we include their messages in our supply shipments.

We are currently working on getting professional video production cameras ready to be donated to a school this year. Collections are about to begin for 2 more sewing programs that will be heading into northern schools. A fresh rafter of art supplies will have to be sterilized to pre-empt any chance of a Covid 19 outbreak in an area that may not have the strongest medical response system.

We are a self-funded project. I take no salary, we are volunteer run, and we do not receive government funding. We support our demanding shipping and operations budget through the sale of my artwork and art products. We are proud to be self-funded and publicly supported through donations from people who recognize the value in the work we do at Art For Aid. this said, my greatest supporter and champion, my husband Fred, is the boat that keeps me floating. I could never do this at the level I am without his unwavering support.

This good work is making a difference in helping Indigenous students enjoy and explore art. There is so much more to do. But there is also so much gratitude in my heart for the tremendous generosity of spirit that this project benefits from. YOU make this happen through your support and encouragement.

Chi miigwetch. Thank you deeply for supporting The Art For Aid Project and for supporting equal art opportunities for all youth.

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