Former College student and current Lowell House residence manager Elizabeth J. Powers ’10 launched on Friday an online marketplace for artwork created by individuals in art therapy programs at hospitals and shelters.
According to the organization’s website, ArtLifting serves to “empower sick, disabled, and homeless artists through the celebration and sale of their work.”
“There are many art programs that exist, but they are mostly insular, so no one from the outside community sees their work,” said Powers, who helped co-found the website. “So I wanted to build a model where they can go sell it.”
The profits from each sale are divided between the artist, who receives the majority share, the art therapy program, and the ArtLifting website itself to help pay the site’s operating costs.
“For every original piece sold, the money goes back to the art therapy program, so it could create two new pieces, so the people who don’t create sellable work can still get supported and create work,” Powers said.
Powers said she first began helping out the homeless as an undergraduate at Harvard by participating in the LIFT program, a nonprofit that, according to the group’s website, helps community members achieve economic stability.
In 2010, with the help of the Pforzheimer Postgraduate Public Service Fellowship, Powers founded an organization called City Heart to empower homeless and low-income artists through an annual art show to display and sell their work.
Even though this venture was successful, Powers said she believed it was not enough, so she decided to expand City Heart into ArtLifting.
The ArtLifting team includes other College affiliates, including Civry P. Melvin ’14, who said she became involved with ArtLifting as a former intern for City Heart.
Melvin and Powers said they already have a vision for how they wish to advance the project.
“As we just launched last Friday, we only have two Harvard undergrad interns,” Powers said. “I would like to expand involvement with Harvard groups, especially PBHA, because I have a lot of contacts there from undergrad.”
Melvin said she would like to see the project expanded to local businesses.
“We would love to [put] their art up on [local businesses’] walls as a means of advertising for the artists themselves, and so we have more of a partnership with the community,” Melvin said.