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Indepth Arts News:

"Call to Artists: Art is a Powerful and Universal Communicator"
2000-07-01 until 2000-07-31
Beverly, MA, USA United States of America

As a communications medium, artists can convey any message on health, protection of the environment, sustainable agriculture, etc. by using their individual art discipline as the tool. The idea is to have volunteer artists work with a non-governmental organizations in a developing country to help that non-governmental organizations deliver their message more effectively. Art Corps is currently seeking such artists. This project came about after the Director of New England Biolabs Foundation visited several non profit organizations in developing countries. Most of the NGOs (non profit organizations) visited had the same weakness. Although their message, be it in health, education, or sustainable agriculture, was valid and adequately funded, it only marginally reached the people it was supposed to help.

Ideally, the artist will involve some residents with the art project. Including children to create a skit about health, or commissioning women to embroider an environmental theme are two examples of how the villagers can be involved. While it won't always be possible to get direct involvement from the population, presenting the message in an entertaining and memorable way is a first step.

Did you know that:
Some women in a village in Guatemala refused to take small bottles filled with chlorinegiven to prevent the spread of cholera?
80% of the people in a village in Nigeria do not take free medicine to treat and prevent river blindness?
Conservation groups in Brazil regularly teach the villagers that cutting too many trees is not in their long-term interests, yet local people continue deforesting their fragile land?

Why is it so difficult to convey a message?

A message cannot be imposed but needs to be conveyed in a culturally sensitive way;
A verbal message has a more lasting impact if it is reinforced in a persuasive and memorable manner;
A message is much more effective if the audience feels involved.

What can be done?

Artists can communicate any message on health, protection of the environment, sustainable agriculture, etc. by using skits, mimes, puppet shows, painting, mask making, singing, magic and others artistic mediums When? Where? During festivals and religious events;
On market day at the market places;
At school buildings, after school hours;
In hospitals or health care facilities;
In churches and other community centers.

What are the goals of ArtCorps? To work with a non governmental organization (NGO) in order to increase the impact of its message;
To integrate local art and customs without changing the NGOs' basic mission;
To reach children, who are powerful agents of change, as well as adults;
To create new sources of economic revenue;
To encourage cross cultural experiences;
To implement community participation in the project.

Due to this innovative project, greater public recognition will be gained, thereby increasing NGOs' fundraising capabilities.

If you need more information about volunteering or requesting a volunteer, please contact:

Martine Kellett or
Vickie Cataldo
New England Biolabs Foundation
32 Tozer Rd
Beverly, MA 01915
Tel: (978) 927 2404
Fax: (978) 921 1350
E mail: kellett@nebf.org or cataldo@nebf.org

NEBF is an independent private foundation founded in 1982 by the president of New England Biolabs, Inc. to support grassroots organizations working with the environment, social change, the arts, elementary education, and science.

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