If past civilizations had never created art,
what would we know about them?
The Art of Saving Humanity aims to restore civility, dignity and acceptance through art programs that support emotional healing and livelihood opportunities, preserve cultural integrity, and promote cross-cultural communication for refugees and the communities within which they resettle.
Over 65.6 MILLION human beings are displaced from their homes right now due to wars, acts of terror, ethnic cleansing, and other persecution.
This is the highest number in recorded history.
Refugees spend an average of 10-20 years stuck in refugee camps and emergency housing.
Upon resettlement, lives are inexorably altered. The struggle to become self-sufficient in a foreign land is met by barriers of communication, acceptance, and understanding. Talent and skill are rarely utilized, as labor is often menial and opportunistic by necessity.
In a generation's time, arts practices can vanish.
Without the arts, cultures die.
Starting locally as a pilot program, the Art of Saving Humanity collects art supply donations, runs art workshops for King County refugees of all ages, and is working to create a permanent studio space for locally resettled refugees to gather for healing through art and freedom of creative expression. As the body of artwork grows and membership increases, we will be promoting resulting artwork through an online gallery and marketplace, booths at neighborhood farmer's markets, art walks, and public art exhibitions.
The sum of these efforts will work toward the following goals:
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To hand someone a blank canvas is to invite them to share their mind, their heart, their soul. It is a profound validation.
I think that is why this project ignites such a passion in people. There is something special about feeling personally connected to your neighbors, sharing stories and experiences through an open invitation.
Intolerance starts as a small seed of fear. If fed, it grows in strength, depth, breadth and reach. We are living in unprecedented times, with historic numbers of innocent people violently displaced from their homes and from their countries, only to be turned away by more fear and intolerance in a new country. Communication has ceased. Instead of sharing blank canvases and free expression, we are blocking one another with walls and weapons. It is impossible for civilization to progress in this manner.
While this project was borne out of a feeling of hopeless frustration, it immediately blossomed into a source of hope, optimism, and proactive support of and by the community. By simply facilitating an opportunity for people to help, an entire community sprung into action with eager enthusiasm. That positive energy and excitement has boomeranged from long-time resident to welcomed newcomer and back.
This is a livelihood program first and foremost, intended to repurpose old art supplies and equipment as an opportunity for self-sufficiency and preservation of arts practices. Helping people help themselves takes so little effort in relation to the payoff. Simultaneously building community relationships and understanding is a priceless side effect.
Art is a medium so powerful that it enables communication without boundaries. If anything can repair our diminishing humanity, it will be a deliberate, shared expression of our collective hearts and minds.
My goal is to reach out to every entity I can think of for collaborative assistance to grow this program and its impact as big as it can possibly get. There has been an overwhelming groundswell of support for this program, and I am far from acting alone in these efforts. The donors page lists many of the generous people in this community who make this project possible, though it leaves out many other sources of support. I ride on the coat tails of unsung gentle giants.
Kyle Reynolds, Founder
artist & scientist, researching extreme adaptations
It is our only universal form of communication.