Fighting Poverty with Art--Cats for a Cause
What sucks even more is that in a pretty awesome country like America, where just about everyone can have cool things like cellphones, their own car and unlimited candy bars, there are still people struggling to survive.
And sorry, but I ain't talking about the $100K a year folks budgeting their groceries so they can afford a trip to Jamaica. I'm talking about the people who sometimes have to choose between buying groceries at all or paying a utility bill...
I'm talking about the people who have to decide between toilet paper or cold medicine so they can drag themselves to work the next day.
I could probably write a series of posts about the realities faced by the working poor, especially in rural areas (and I probably will, in the upcoming year).
I already wrote about how "poor people" financial advice such as "earn more money", "get a better job" "just hustle more" "go back to school" "move to a better location" or "learn to be happy with less stuff" isn't particularly helpful in certain situations.
But today, let's keep it a bit light. Because today, I want to talk more about using art to relieve poverty, my Raggedy Cats, and 3 ways you can help fight poverty too:
Art for good. Helping Low Income Families with Art Sales
Everyone Needs a Cause
And helping people who are struggling is definitely mine. At the moment, my focus is local.
And yes. I know that turns off a lot of people. Who cares if they help some so-and-so in some nowhere town in that one state that looks like a frying pan?
Hey, I get it. I would love to be able to eradicate poverty everywhere. I figure we are all bound together economically and what we do in one place eventually has a ripple effect elsewhere.
I see a great need here. So that is where I am starting.
And my weapon of choice, is...art.
If you've peeked on this site before, then you may have seen me mention that 25% of all my art sales is set aside for charity.
Mostly, we support local poverty relief by:
- Donating to the food bank
- Participating in coat, toy, clothing and food drives
- Buying into events that raise money for helping families (people who have medical emergencies, accidents, house fires, etc.)
- Supporting local vet clinics that provide low-cost pet care for the elderly and low-income families.
And pretty much anything similar on an as-needed basis as it arises. Even if that just means handing someone some gas money.
We also let our daughter choose places to donate as well, and she has a soft spot for the Children's Miracle Network and St. Judes.
So what does all that have to do with those Raggedy Cat Drawings?
Art vs. Poverty. Why Raggedy Cats are Special
The Raggedy Cats were born specifically to be a series of designs to raise money to support low-income families.
The cats represent humans, and issues or circumstances they might face, but there is a whole lot more to the images than just showcasing hardship.
There is love, kindness, generosity and a range of other emotions involved. Mostly, I try to capture the essence that most people who live below the poverty line don't want to be there. They struggle and scrape and try to get ahead as hard as possible.
For the artwork, I've stuck with simple forms and loose shapes. I use a number of recurring elements, such as patches on clothing, and drooping whiskers.
Again, focusing on the emotion rather than artistic showmanship. I started with rustic colors and textures, and will be doing a second version in brighter, clean colors too.
Currently, I have 6 completed Raggedy Cat scenes, and over 50 sketches ready to be finished out. There will be a lot of focus on them in the upcoming year.
About Buying My Art
(For now my designs are only available either as a digital download, or as products posted to POD (print-on-demand) sites.
I've done this to make my artwork affordable and attainable for a wide range of budgets.
At the moment, I've opened a whole store on Zazzle just for the Raggedy Cats. I'm currently working on creating products there, so check back often, and if you like a design, but don't see it on a product you like, just contact me here and let me know.
Here is a list of places where my art is for sale (not all places have Raggedy Cats, but they all have cats of some sort. And I donate from any piece of art that is sold, (good news if you aren't a cat person!):
The Raggedy Cat Shoppe
Zazzle Shop (J. Kinsey Designs)
(Note: Most of these sites carry the same designs. I did this because a lot of people prefer different POD sites when they order artwork.)
Art Vs. Poverty...What Can You Do?
Everyone can help make a difference. Maybe you volunteer in your own community, donate to your church or other organization that has charity programs, or have a special foundation you support.
If not, and you are interested in helping via art:
You can support small business and a cause by purchasing some of my art, knowing that a large percentage will go to fight poverty (and you get some unique decor, so extra plus).
If you are an artist or designer, you can help fight poverty with art too. If you do, link up. I would love to promote your work.
You can share this post. If buying art is not in your budget or my art is not really your thang, you can still help by sharing this post with others who might be interested.
Other ways you can help use art to paint out poverty:
- Search for artists and artisans who support charities with their works.
- Donate art supplies to local youth centers and organizations to help children.
- Donate money to art programs
- Share art by aspiring indie artists (just browse any of those art site) on your social media to help them gain exposure.
- Organize crafting or art parties and sell the items for charities
Whew! Thanks for sticking with me through this post. It wasn't easy to write. I hope you enjoy the Raggedy Cats as much as I do.
*Note: I am not in complete control over pricing on print-on-demand sites. POD sites charge a base rate, and add my fee on top. Therefore, the percentage that goes to charity does NOT come from the whole price, but only the profit I personally make (which is usually 5%-10% of the sale price.*