6 Organizations Supporting Art And Culture Worldwide

Despite taking a wide variety of different forms, art and culture are essential components of every society on the planet. They have the capacity to ground us, open our minds, and bring us into closer communion with both ourselves and the diverse experiences of others. The organizations listed here exemplify this power, and show how creative expression and cultural engagement can truly make a difference on a global scale. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

6 International Groups Championing Art and Culture

Organization Mission
The Ruya Foundation Promotes culture in Iraq, and builds a platform to enable Iraqis in the arts to benefit from and participate in international events
The BC Alliance for Arts and Culture Serves, celebrates, and brings together the creative community of British Columbia
The Laundromat Project Advances artists and neighbors as change agents in their own communities, with an emphasis on fostering leadership among marginalized groups
viBe Theater Experience Empowers underserved teenage girls in New York City to write and perform original theater, video, and music about the real-life issues they face
Anacostia Arts Center Revitalizes the economy of Anacostia by creating a home for small businesses, creators, and arts and cultural organizations
Asian American Women Artists Association Fosters the visibility and recognition of Asian American women in the arts through exhibitions, publications, and programs

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In Depth

The ability to express ourselves creatively is one of the things that makes us human, allowing us to foster understanding by sharing representations of our experiences. All over the world, organizations facilitate this process by providing artists with training programs, spaces to pursue their work, and opportunities to connect with audiences. In no particular order, here are six groups offering resources to those who produce and appreciate art and culture.

Leading off at #1 is the Ruya Foundation, an Iraqi non-profit organization registered by the Iraq Commission for Civil Society Enterprises, and dedicated to enriching the nation's culture. It was founded in 2012 to promote interest in the arts, at a time when they had been neglected due to war and hardship, in hopes of regenerating cultural engagement and forging links with people around the globe. The group showcases the work of the country's native artists, and critically engages creators throughout the region and the world.

The Foundation's signature undertaking is the National Pavilion of Iraq at the Venice Biennale, which provides a platform for bringing pieces from contemporary artists to the international stage. Other notable initiatives include the Ruya Shop, an exhibition space in Baghdad displaying influential works from around the modern world, and inspirational and instructional workshops that are hosted for developing creators. Its online journal offers interviews and dialogue about artwork, in the context of both ancient history and current events.

The Foundation's signature undertaking is the National Pavilion of Iraq at the Venice Biennale, which provides a platform for bringing pieces from contemporary artists to the international stage.

Next on the list, at #2, is the BC Alliance for Arts and Culture. This non-profit organization is committed to serving, championing, and bringing together the creative community of British Columbia. It works to push for policy and funding decisions that support artistic endeavors in the region; many of its efforts seek to honor the heritage of Canada's indigenous populations, and to promote reconciliation through cultural exchange.

In addition to its advocacy work, the Alliance provides numerous services to creators and patrons of the arts in the region. Events like the Weaving Wellness conference on creative expression and well-being, or the Digital Ladders educational program on information technology for artists, help makers to refine their craft and audiences to reflect on culture's role in their lives. Other resources include SpaceFinder BC, a tool for locating studios and exhibition venues, and member benefits such as retirement programs and health insurance. Supporters can donate to the organization online.

Our #3 is The Laundromat Project, which seeks to enable artists and neighbors to strengthen and improve their communities. The organization makes sustained investments aimed at bolstering creative networks among individuals of all races, ages, and disciplines who are working toward social change. Incorporated in 2005, it works to bring beauty and creativity into the common spaces where New Yorkers gather, like community gardens, public plazas, and neighborhood parks. The group is committed to uplifting the voices of people of color and other marginalized groups.

Incorporated in 2005, it works to bring beauty and creativity into the common spaces where New Yorkers gather, like community gardens, public plazas, and neighborhood parks.

Among the programs that The Laundromat Project has helped to incubate are the Kelly Street Collaborative, a cultural and community hub in South Bronx, and Staying Power, a research and storytelling effort which explores the history and future of New York public housing. The group works to foster artistic talent with its Create Change development initiative, sponsoring Artists-in-Residence as they create exhibitions within public spaces, as well as offering fellowships for those interested in taking an active role in network-building. Those looking to contribute can volunteer, donate, or purchase artwork from the organization's online store.

#4 in our roundup is viBe Theater Experience, which brings opportunities for artistic expression, empowerment, and education to girls and young women in New York City. It offers after school programs in drama, music, and dance free of charge. Participants are able to tell their stories through performance, as well as provide theatrical entertainment with no admission costs for under-served communities. Girls as young as six can take part, with initiatives like viBeStages, in which professional theater directors help students to create an original show.

Central to viBe's mission is encouraging young women of color to find their voices and engage with issues that matter to them. Efforts like its Leadership Institute train participants in organizational and communication skills, preparing them to lead arts programs of their own, and the works created through the organization confront questions of equality and social justice. Its creative endeavors have reached audiences around the country, including a performance at the United Nations Day of the Girl Child Summit. Supporters can donate, help out directly, or inquire about bringing a viBe event to their area.

Central to viBe's mission is encouraging young women of color to find their voices and engage with issues that matter to them.

Our #5 entry is Anacostia Arts Center, a project from the community revitalization organization ARCH. Housed in a historic building within its Washington, DC neighborhood, it serves as a venue for artistic exhibitions, creative performances, and community events. It also provides a home for several local businesses, including Vintage and Charmed, an independent apparel and accessories shop, and Chirokei Consulting, a resource for holistic health and wellness information.

The Arts Center's mission focuses on growing the cultural and economic life of Anacostia, helping to preserve its historic character while supporting the efforts of emerging artists and entrepreneurs. The group has featured works like Luis Peralta Del Valle's "Out of Chaos Series," and musician and dancer Jen Shyu's performance "Solo Rites: Seven Breaths." It offers a space for independent businesses owned by people of color, such as MahoganyBooks, which specializes in literature related to the peoples of the African Diaspora. The organization welcomes support from donors and volunteers.

Finishing off our list at #6 is Asian American Women Artists Association, which seeks to promote recognition of the creative contributions of female artists of Asian descent. Founded in 1989 out of San Francisco, the group sponsors exhibitions, hosts public events, and operates programs to inspire and support participation in the cultural conversation. It fuels initiatives like PLACE, which assists participants in creating and displaying works that grapple with familial trauma, and the Generations Of Hope Mural, which brings an expression of a marginalized people's experience into a community space.

It fuels initiatives like PLACE, which assists participants in creating and displaying works that grapple with familial trauma, and the Generations Of Hope Mural, which brings an expression of a marginalized people's experience into a community space.

AAWAA operates the Emerging Curators Program, supporting people interested in creating exhibitions from Asian American creators, through educational workshops and hands-on experience. Its Speakers Bureau offers presentations and interactive talks, discussing race, gender representation, and other issues related to the organization's mission. It's also created informational works such as Cheers to Muses, an anthology featuring female artists of Asian heritage, and "The Worlds of Bernice Bing," a documentary film exploring the career of a creative pioneer. Those who want to contribute can donate online, or contact the group about in-person opportunities.