Monday, November 16, 2015

Boston startup sells works by homeless and disabled artists

Liz Powers has a truly fascinating piece in the Huffington Post about ArtLifting, a Boston-based startup that sells art made by the homeless and disabled. 
"I want to maximize our artists' opportunity to earn their own income. Before we existed, many of the artists we work with had no outlet. The ones that did, were lucky if they could make $20 selling their originals on a street corner. We need to treat these artists with the respect that they deserve. Since we launched just a year a half ago, five of our artists have already gained housing. Original artworks have already sold for as much as $1700."
Liz and her brother launched ArtLifting in late 2013 with $4,000 of their own money. Today, the site features about 800 pieces of art from 52 artists across the United States — everything from smartphone cases and greeting cards to posters and original paintings. Fifty-five percent of the profit from each sale goes to the artist and the rest for the company to cover its costs.
"We want to treat our artists with dignity. They don't want a hand out - they want to earn their own income. As we've heard from many of our artists, the power to earn generates hope. We view ourselves merely as the vehicle that connects them with the countless customers who love their work."
ArtLifting finds its artists through local art teachers working in homeless shelters. Recently, the company landed a $1.1 million in seed funding from investors including Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie.

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