How Art Can Bolster Your Philanthropic Efforts

People gravitate toward art, and they always have. That was true for prehistoric cave paintings, and it’s a fact that applies equally to a colorful mural in cities today where artists wait for the paint to dry and the community gathers for the big reveal. Businesses are increasingly becoming aware of the impact art has, and many have started incorporating art into their events to capture people’s attention, build awareness and inspire donations. 

Plenty of businesses already use art to further their causes in familiar ways, like auctioning paintings, sculptures and other works at charity fundraisers. That’s a time-honored strategy, but there are other ways to integrate art into philanthropic events and causes. 

Rowing Toward a Cleaner Tomorrow

One inspiring way brands are using art to support causes they care about is integrating interactive elements into street-level murals to engage passersby. Hydrow, a company that makes high-end rowing machines, is a long-term partner of, a global nonprofit that brings safe water and sanitation to people around the world. 

Hydrow commissioned a mural on the iconic Allens Boots building in downtown Austin, Texas to celebrate the rowing company’s passion for the outdoors — and support at the same time. Artist Helena Martin created an 800 square-foot mural depicting rowers on the water in a serene, natural setting with the theme “water connects us all.”

Since people are drawn to the art, as they pause to take selfies or capture an image of Helena’s work, they notice a QR code integrated into the bottom corner. When activated, the QR code triggers a donation from Hydrow to The art depicts our connection to water while creating a digital connection to philanthropic support that helps improve access to clean water. 

Art Enhances St. Jude Dream Chicago Event

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital also recently incorporated art into a fundraiser in a creative way. St. Jude was founded in 1962 by actor Danny Thomas, who announced the charity at a Chicago movie premiere. At the St. Jude Dream Chicago fundraiser this summer, the charity integrated art to engage guests and raise additional funds.

Understanding the impact art can have, the philanthropic event’s coordinators reached out to Muros, commissioning a live painting on a mobile mural wall by Chicago-based artist Katie Lukes. Katie’s piece was inspired by St. Jude and incorporated elements like red wagons and confetti, which hospital staff use to celebrate when children have completed chemotherapy     . 

The live painting engaged event attendees, demonstrating art’s power to captivate, and Katie’s piece was auctioned off to raise more money in support of St. Jude’s important mission. 

Integrating Art into Your Philanthropic Endeavors

There are many more creative ways to combine art with a cause. UPS partnered with artist Luis Pinto on a mural at La Josie, a Latinx-owned restaurant in Chicago, to showcase the carrier’s #ProudlyUnstoppable campaign in support of underrepresented small business communities. A QR code on the mural links to information on the program when activated.

The recent Titan Walls Mural Festival raised funds for Chance the Rapper’s charity, SocialWorks, empowering youth through the arts, education and civic engagement, with sales of limited edition beer and merch featuring custom-designed art. 

If you’re looking for a way to take your philanthropic endeavor to the next level, consider using the power of art. It grabs people’s attention, and, more importantly, can communicate your cause in a way words can’t match. 

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