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In what ways can I use art to impact the world?

I have the skills and techniques for it, but I don't really have a purpose for them.

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Addi’s Answer

Hi Colin! It's so exciting to hear you want to use your art to make a positive impact. Contrary to common belief, the arts play a critical role in making change, and no ripple is too small.

You can break it down into 3 categories: "Volunteering, Fundraising, and Awareness".
- Volunteer your skill: offer your work or skills for free to nonprofits or organizations that otherwise could not afford to hire a creative. This can look like designing a logo for a nonprofit, painting a mural for a shelter, creating posters or other assets.
- Fundraise: Some artists take commission spots or create products to sell with the specific intention of donating the sales to a nonprofit they care about. Others will donate work or their skills to auctions or events that are fundraising (for example: donating a custom pet portrait to an auction where the money goes to an animal shelter).
- Use your creativity to raise awareness: Art is a powerful communication tool. In our digital world, creatives also have a platform to spread awareness about the issues they care strongly about, and possibly expand another person's understanding and empathy.

Addi recommends the following next steps:

Think about some causes or issues you care about, and write them down.
Start with a cause that means a lot to you and find local organizations that supports that cause.
Reach out to the org and ask what support you can offer (Volunteering, Fundraising, Awareness) - it's important to ask first, as some organizations want fundraiser or awareness-raising to be very intentional.
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Ellen’s Answer

Hi Colin;
Good question! Artists and designers impact the world in a variety of ways, big and small, obvious and not so obvious: from our buildings and the design of our cities (architects and landscape architects, interior designers), to advertising and public service announcements (graphic designers, photographers), to the movies (cinematographers, costume designers, hair and makeup professionals, and set designers), to what we wear (fashion and textile designers), to the design of everyday items like cars, cellphones, and furniture ( product and industrial designers), to what our websites look like (graphic designer website designers), to the "Fine Art" artists (painters, mixed media artists, sculptors, photographers, conceptual artists) whose work we see in museums and galleries. These are just some examples, and all of the artists and designers working in these areas have the potential to impact and influence our lives on many levels.

So, there are a lot of choices of areas in which to use your art skills and techniques. You might start to think about your passions: are you an environmentalist, or are you interested in social justice, or are you a friend of animals, or is there another cause you feel strongly about? For example, if you felt strongly about the environment, you could be an architect designing buildings that rely only on solar power, or you could be a fashion designer who uses recycled fabrics, or a filmmaker whose documentaires focus on industrial pollution, or a photographer, or an artist, or a graphic designer whose work focus on the loss of natural habitats. All these have the potential to have an effect on how we view our environment. You could apply this to any cause you are interested in.

So....... what are you passionate about; what your art skills and interests, and how do you want to use them to get the word out to make our world a better place? This is an important calling for artists and designers, so happy to know a young person is thinking along these lines. Best wishes!

Ellen recommends the following next steps:

An organization on Instagram features graphic designers who create posters about social issues, go to Instagram and check out @amplifierart.
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Larry’s Answer

Hi Colin,

I congratulate you for asking a question about purpose. It's a big world out there and artists tend to interpret their environment by expressing their gut reaction to the people, things and experiences they encounter. I suggest you Google and read about the famous and controversial artist, Thomas Hart Benton. He felt such a profound connection with common Americans, that he traveled on foot to explore our country and meet complete strangers as his way to understand his environment. I'm not suggesting you do the same, but Benton's life might be of inspiration to you as you consider what your purpose might be. I wish you great success on your journey. Good luck.
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