Our Mission Statement
The Art For Aid Project works to support Canadian First Nations, Inuit and Metis art education programs through access to quality art supplies, awareness and fundraising efforts. We work to to connect Indigenous youth to art and knowledge of their culture. We seek to accomplish this by ensuring art supplies are in remote schools and communities.
We collect new and gently used art supplies. Operations and shipping budgets are replenished through the sale of Colleen Gray's beautiful art, through fundraising efforts and monetary donations through I Love First Peoples.
Art exploration in schools and communities has always been vulnerable to cutbacks. Art is a beautiful form of storytelling and record keeping - it allows the creator to purely express a thought or connection, and allows the viewer to enjoy and feel moved by that expression. Art invites creative energy and full expression. It provides an outlet for the effects of boredom and isolation. Art can bring comfort, but it all begins with having the supplies needed.
One of the long-term goals for this program is to ignite and inspire the curiosity of Indigenous youth to learn both new and existing art forms. We hope to give schools and community program facilitators the art supplies to help them express their stories, personal messages and expand on their creative skills with ample tools to choose from.
Please support this work by purchasing Colleen's art prints, note cards, art cards, Land Acknowledgement plaques and more through the website store, and at public events. You can also support this work by sharing our social media posts and donating art supplies (next drive in 2021) or sponsor the shipping of a box of art supplies (needed ASAP) to a remote school for example, to help this cause.
* The Art for Aid Project is a program under I Love First Peoples. We welcome inquiries about how you can support this important work.
Our symbolic icon and it's meaning...
The bear is a powerful symbol of healing and brotherhood among the First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities. The bear symbolizes healing, wisdom, and strength in the connection to the land through the use of the traditional medicines.
All nations have their respective representations of what each colour means to them.
Our bear is comprised of the 5 colours used among our Indigenous communities. Yellow is East - a place of new beginnings. Red is South - the place of our childhood and of learning. Black is the West - representing healing and the past. The Cree will use the colour blue in the West. The bear itself is White, which is the North - the place of great age, of wisdom and of introspection and deeper thought.
The Art for Aid Project was developed in 2013 when artist Colleen Gray realized that students on reserves in Canada received 30% less funding than non-Indigenous students. Art supplies for the students are not plentiful or of great variety. Art is a powerful tool that breaks isolation, invites creative thought processes, and can bring healing and pride to students who are often facing significant challenges. Art for Aid is working to support educators and students by collecting new and gently used quality art supplies and shipping them to the schools.
Art for Aid does not receive sustained funding. It is a grassroots initiative that is supported through the sale of Colleen Gray’s unique and moving art products through their online sale at https://artforaidshop.ca, and through donations from kind people and organizations.
We have a strong social media presence and encourage people to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Colleen is a volunteer and does not take income from Art for Aid. Her personal income comes from the sale of her original art (on a different site). 100% of all secondary products created from her art goes to supporting all aspects of this important work, through The Art for Aid Shop, an online store that has been established to generate funds from her secondary works to help Art for Aid continue to move art supplies into the schools with greater regularity. Please consider supporting this worthwhile initiative. Please support Canada’s First Artists.