Rethink Creative, a small consulting group, launched an innovative fundraiser called Art for Orphans in February.
The team leading Art for Orphans sells original photography to raise funds for orphans in Zambia. Buyers can purchase the art online for $10 a picture or $1 for an iPhone background.
Art for Orphans began with a triangular friendship between Rethink leaders, social worker Katy Gibson and Cedarville admissions counselor Adam Brandt.
Rethink Creative provides artistic services including visual media, graphic design and fine arts. Its website states, “We represent a community of creatives who consult and create to cultivate traction for unique artistic vision in a cutting edge world.”
Katy Gibson works with Family Legacy, a ministry that provides education, counseling, and physical and emotional support to orphans in Zambia.
She works specifically with a branch of Family Legacy called Tree of Life. Located just outside the country’s capital, Lusaka, Tree of Life is a 130-acre plot with multiple homes for Zambian orphans.
Brandt became aware of the needs in Zambia and wanted to support his friend Gibson and her work with Family Legacy.
“I thought, ‘What creative way could I help (Gibson) and also involve other people as well?’” Brandt said.
His idea was to sell affordable art — specifically photography — with all profits going to Gibson. He spoke to the Rethink team about his idea, and Art for Orphans was born.
“AFO exists because of Adam Brandt,” said David Valentine, co-founder of Rethink. “And it exists in a way that it is not only his drive but all of the collaborators at Rethink. If it wasn’t for Adam, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Improving the living conditions and overall quality of life for Zambian orphans is the main goal of Art for Orphans, Brandt said.
World Vision reports that out of Zambia’s population of 13 million, about half are unemployed and at least 85 percent live below the poverty line. According to Unicef 2011 reports, 1.2 million orphans live in Zambia.
Family Legacy reports nearly half of the Zambian population is under the age of 16 due to the ravaging effects of HIV/AIDS.
And Neal Samudre, writer for the Rethink team, said that the area is full of peril for young children. Some are kidnapped and trained in voodoo. Some wander aimlessly on the streets. Many are forced to act as parents to their younger siblings.
Brandt said the Rethink team hopes to sell 1,000 prints to raise $10,000 by this coming February. Except for a small portion to cover printing costs, all proceeds go to Gibson’s work in Zambia.
The art sold comes from a variety of sources. Friends of Brandt and the Rethink team, as well as others who have taken an interest in this cause, have contributed their work. Many of the photographs come from Brandt himself.
College students are encouraged to get involved by buying or submitting artwork and spreading the word to further the mission of Art for Orphans. Interested artists should contact Brandt through the Rethink website.
Family Legacy has long-term goals for the expansion and growth of Art for Orphans.
“We want to continue partnering with Family Legacy,” Samudre said. “We’re looking to continue long-term and support other nonprofits. We want our art to change the world and to have some sort of significance. This is one way to make this lasting impact. This is how we are changing the world.”
Samudre said while the Rethink team originally sought to simply support Gibson personally, they have developed a passion for saving Zambian lives.
Valentine said Art for Orphans is brainstorming ideas for a strategic advertising campaign for the fall, targeting different colleges throughout the country, inclulding Cedarville University .
Brandt also said he wanted to introduce eye-catching posters to the collection — a product that would appeal to the college-aged population.
“My biggest goal at this point is to get it to be something that at least the CU students can participate in,” he said. “I would love for it to become something that regularly happens at CU.”
Art for Orphans can be further explored at http://afo.rethinkcreative.org.
Kaity Kenniv is a sophomore Biblical studies major and a reporter for Cedars. She loves reading by a blazing fireplace, taking long walks in the autumn and a cup of hot tea in the morning.