What is the Artisan Abroad Program?
In a world where monetary incentive seems to supercede interest, we often find ourselves devoting our lives to profit rather than passion. Individuals from moderate income households tend to be discouraged from expressing creativity because a career in the arts does not present one with the financial opportunities to lift them out of their current situation.
In regions that are behind their modern industrial counterparts, innovation and creativity are the most important factors driving the economy. These are issues we have grown an interest in and an area we seek to address. We recently got to listen to Kelsey Timmerman talk at at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Timmerman is author of “Where am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes”. The talk sparked a product design venture competition at the school, and we were inspired to enter. Our Artisan Abroad Program proposal placed second in the social impact category and allowed us the opportunity to make our vision a reality. Learn more about proposal here.
The Artisan Abroad Program was created to inspire local artists from developing countries around the world to pursue their interests in art. Our program provides a platform where individuals can showcase their artistic talents and begin entrepreneurial endeavors. The program also promotes cross-cultural artistic expression and knowledge, aesthetic tolerance, creative practice, and encourages entrepreneurial interest amongst local artists.
We hope that through the Artisan Abroad Program, we can contribute to supporting the economy and improving the socio-economic structures of a community while mitigating poverty and giving people control over their own destiny.
Why Sierra Leone
Many countries in West Africa, including Sierra Leone, are rebranding their global image. But many have yet to figure out a sustainable process that benefits its citizens and the economy. Sierra Leone is quickly becoming a desired location for business opportunities, mainly for its abundance of natural resources. While this is deemed to be good, citizens have yet to see the socio-economic benefits translate to the general population. With such promising projections and potential, it is important the government and its citizens take the necessary steps to develop the tools and resources to effectively participate in and benefit from the development of this country.
Take for example, the case of Mr. Selu. He has created a local business by capitalizing on his artistic strengths.
What is the First Collection All About?
The first collection is called “Color Couture”. We went to Sierra Leone to design limited edition t-shirts that are available for sale on our website. We recorded each step of this program as a documentary film student interested in Africana studies. This film will help consumers understand the background and stories of artists like Selu. We also hope people develop an interest in how the shirts were made and, most importantly, the impact of the Artisan Abroad Program.
How can you and/or artists get involved?
Purchase collection here: Color Couture Collection.
Email us with leads and/or artists outside of the US at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out images from the first collection here: Color Couture Collection.