Imagine a world without art: it would be drab, grey and probably unhappy. Thankfully, we live in a world where art is around every corner, be it in the form of graffiti, a painting in a fancy gallery or just a simple scribble made by a child. Art has been an essential form of expression right from the days of the early man painting in caves.
This is exactly what the people at ArtReach think too. This unique not-for-profit aims to reach children and young people living in marginalised communities across India and transform their lives. They strive to bring contemporary and traditional Indian and international artists into care homes, homeless shelters, Dalit communities, remote tribal villages and municipal schools to teach and create art, shaping new opportunities.
This whole effort started back in 2010 with a modest project with underprivileged children at the New Delhi railway station. The children would come every day to a person from the Salaam Baalak Trust for food, medical attention and basic education. ArtReach wanted to help the children tap their imagination, and so they found a room which became a blank canvas for the children to paint to their heart’s content. Everyone was welcome.
And slowly, the movement became bigger and bigger as it helped discover and rehabilitate more unknown artists.
It changed life for many like Megha Anand (name changed) from the NGO Udayan Care who was mentored by visual artist Vandana Kothari as part of an ArtReach teaching fellowship in 2016. Students were taught drawing skills, colour theory and various art mediums. Medha was so inspired that she applied for design schools and is now in the prestigious NIFT in Mumbai, chasing her dreams!
ArtReach’s Community Arts program has also helped in the rehabilitation and training of 16 women from the Jama Masjid Night Shelter home for over two years now. They come from extremely traumatic backgrounds with no support system and have no employment or recreation facilities at the shelter. With Artreach, they created masterpieces that told the stories of their lives. Ultimately, these were exhibited at the India Art Fair 2017 and the British Council, Delhi, on Women’s Day, 2017.
This December, this inspiring NGO will host the ArtReach Festival, a one-of-a-kind inclusive visual art and culture fiesta at Bikaner house in New Delhi.
Women working under ArtReach grantees can’t wait to showcase their creations. Works will be on sale, and all proceeds will go directly back to the artists that include tribal women from Jharkhand, young Dalit girls from Bihar, the homeless from Jama Masjid, children from the Salaam Baalak Trust and many more. Most of these artists will showcase their presentations in person at the event, and few will even lead workshops and discussions on art and culture.
The programme will include story-telling sessions, music performances, panels and discussions, a food festival, encouraging a wide audience to join in.
The ArtReach Festival wants to be one that will celebrate art and inclusion. Since 2010, the not-for-profit has grown substantially, now rehabilitating over 3,500 unprivileged, homeless and abused children and adults. But to continue their good work, they need a hand. Help them further this unique cause by contributing to this one-of-a-kind festival today.