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ARTicipate

November 11, 2020

In the year 2000 I met Joani Share who was an art teacher at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Arizona. We were selected for the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund to learn about the education system on a three week trip. There were many other educators but it was the Art that initially connected us. We learned together on that memorable trip and have continued to stay connected visiting each other in Maine, Arizona and now California where Joani has retired. Joani continues to teach workshops for young and old (including her grandchildren) along with being an amazing painter. She is active in community and social justice topics raising awareness through her own art and collectively with the voices of other artists.

Like many other artists she’s using her creativity and knowledge to consider other ways to make an impact. Three years ago forming “stARTover” to collect art materials and supplies for artists who had lost so much in the wildfires that spread quickly through Napa and Sonoma in Northern California. Recently she emailed about ARTicipate.

From the website:

ARTicipate for Humanity is an evolving resource directory to help connect people, ideas, and projects by using art to foster the humanitarian spirit. ARTicipate is not limited by geography or timelines. 
You can ARTicipate by supporting the growing resource list, as well as by recommending an art organization or artist to join ARTicipate. 

Joani Share with a van fall of art supplies collected for artists who had suffered loss from the wildfires in California

Blog post from the ARTicipate site

Recently I attended one of my art groups through a Zoom session, and everyone was working independently on their own projects. As artists, we are used to working alone in our studios, but during this time of COVID, our need to connect with other creative thinkers seems more important than ever. As we worked and shared our projects during the Zoom session, I was fascinated to see what was being created. Various people in the group were making art to help organizations that contribute to the greater good, as a means of using art to help others. I saw blankets made for infants and toddlers, blue hats to stop bullying, and sewn art panels designed as a remembrance for people who lost their lives due to violence. Seeing my friends working passionately through their art to help others got me thinking.

Three years ago, I formed “stARTover” to collect art materials and supplies for artists who had lost so much in the wildfires that spread quickly through Napa and Sonoma in Northern California. I contacted a number of friends, and local art organizations to gather supplies, and store them until arrangements could be made for a huge pick up. We urged fellow artists to donate, new or gently used art materials so that the artist recipients would be able to make artwork with proper equipment and supplies, not just the dregs of someone else’s studio. It was important to help the artists who lost everything to feel supported, and to lift their emotional spirit, when so much of their lives had literally gone up in flames. We spread the word, and over an 8-week period so many art supplies were gathered that I needed to rent a U-Haul truck to make deliveries. I contacted art organizations in both Napa and Sonoma who knew the hard hit individuals and offered to house the donated supplies, categorize them and help distribute everything to those artists in the greatest need. 

Through “stARTover” we were able to help those artists get back to work and make art a part of the recovery and healing process. “stARTover” was local, and had a limited timeframe, it was literally meant to help artists to begin creating as soon as possible. The outpouring of generosity from the area showed how quickly a community could come together. If we can build an art community on a small scale, what can we do if we go bigger?

After the Zoom session with my art friends, I decided to reactive ARTicipate as a way to connect artists, individuals and organizations to make a difference and as a way to form an artful community that is not limited by time or specific geographic areas. I hope that ARTicipate can become a resource and bridge to make the connections needed to bring artists and organizations together. I see ARTicipate as a living resource directory that can grow and connect people through art. Like “stARTover,” I sincerely hope that the art community will come together to connect people, ideas and projects by using art to foster the humanitarian spirit.

If you’re interested in participating or having your students get involved in ARTicipate please check out the website at https://articipate.com and/or contact Joani Share at joani.share@gmail.com. You can apply to be part of the site on the website under Contact.

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