Natalya Kochak

ProjectArt

 
 
 
 
 

MODEL CITY BRANCH LIBRARY

I have always been interested in social justice. In fact, as an undergrad, I was worried that following my art practice would be selfish and I was fearful I would not be doing anything for the community. My artwork always had a humanitarian aspect to it and now is even more about social justice.

I believe in the power of art to empower the youth. In 2011, I was invited to teach art to children ages 5- 16 in Uganda. I did a fundraiser through Kickstarter for the youth organization. This invitation to Uganda was my first experience at the benefits of what sharing my art knowledge with children could do. The children did not have the means to have art in their lives. Not only did they not have art in schools, but simple art supplies, like acrylic paints, were not sold anywhere except in the capitol, Kampala and even there I could hardly find any supplies.

I saw that creating, opened their minds up to the future. It was not only about teaching art, but teaching possibilities. This experience was not only rewarding to them, but incredibly rewarding for me. Today, one of my students brother still is my Facebook friend and regularly updates me on her performance in college and how our art class influenced her. 

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ProjectArt transforms the nation’s public libraries into vital cultural hubs by offering youth year-round visual art classes and providing studio spaces for emerging visual artists.