Fueling creative minds
Barbara Chandler Allen and her son, Roger Allen founded Fresh Artists in 2008, a family-run, non-profit organization that serves thousands of Philadelphia's underserved children through the support of art supplies and creative art programming.
The idea for Fresh Artists emerged when Barbara and Roger were asked to curate the School District of Philadelphia’s new headquarters, a 850,000 square foot blank space, with student art. Their solution: large-scale digital reproductions of student work.
The success of the project launched a simple, but effective model to help provide funding for the arts in public schools and empower students through displaying their work in highly-visible places. Fresh Artists’ platform allows individual donors to make a financial gift and in return, receive large scale reproductions of student artwork to display in their buildings. The mother and son duo have coined a new model for social entrepreneurship which they call “lateral philanthropy”, young artists gain validation for their work and they also get to be a part of a positive change and solution in giving back to their community.
It can be easy to dwell on the negative when there are so many challenges we face in the world today, but people like Barbara and Roger remind us that we can always find a way to do good and give back. Fresh Artists is an inspiration, prompting us to look around at the people in our own communities and ask ourselves, what can we do to make the world a better place?