All my life, I have loved animals and art. As a way to marry these two passions, several years ago I launched a project blog focused on animal advocacy art. It was called Philofauna: Art for the Love of Animals. Through this exploratory endeavor, I met incredible artists from all over the world and I found my home within the arts community. The first piece of animal advocacy art I laid eyes on was “Keep Fighting” (pictured above) by Amanda Moeckel. My heart flooded with emotion, and I have been discovering and collecting animal advocacy art ever since.
While the Philofauna blog itself is no longer active, my commitment to artivism (art + activism) of all kinds remains. Art has the capacity to create change in a way other avenues do not, and I want to explore that and all things artivism within the space of Goodall Creative. To begin, I have prepared a list of ten ideas that I hope inspire you to find your muse.
••• 10 Ideas •••
Remember, cultural shifts are only possible through many hands contributing something, no matter how small. So regardless of your skill level, day job, or artistic medium, there are countless ways to help animals through art.
If any of these ideas pique your interest, but you would like a little guidance or maybe just a sounding board, I would love to hear from you (either in the comments or via email)!
- Photograph shelter animals for adoption profiles. Each year, roughly 6.5 million dogs and cats await their forever homes in shelters. Only half of them will be adopted. All too often, photos of shelter animals exude the depression and anxiety that comes with abuse and abandonment. But you can help capture their joy, hope, and adorable idiosyncrasies so as to improve their likelihood for adoption.
- Design web or print marketing for an animal advocacy organization. Contemporary, intuitive, and alluring marketing is critical for the success of any organization, but not-for-profit entities rarely have the funds to afford an effective or innovative designer. You can help fill this void by volunteering your services to an animal advocacy organization you’d like to support.
- Donate art to an animal advocacy organization for fundraising. Aesthetics are important to any event and you can support the cause for animals by donating your art for an auction, raffle, or other fundraising idea. This art could be related or unrelated to animal advocacy itself.
- Donate a portion of art sales to an animal advocacy organization. Another way to directly support an animal advocacy organization is to donate a portion of your art sales. You can even donate to a specific program within an organization. Again, this art could be related or unrelated to animal advocacy itself.
- Create signs, banners, or other art for a protest or campaign. Every protest and campaign needs a sign or banner to convey its message and the more visually compelling the better. Printmakers, graphic artists, illustrators, and painters alike can use their technical and aesthetic skills to create material for such projects.
- Document animal suffering through photography. Photography can take many forms, but its roots are in truth. Through this enlightening and evocative medium, photographers can create awareness for the animal advocacy movement by documenting the plight of animals—from wild to farmed to companion.
- Create animal advocacy art that challenges or inspires the viewer. In addition to the more utilitarian ways to help animals through art, it is equally necessary to create art—be it abstract, fantastical, or realistic—that challenges or inspires the viewer. To mentally, emotionally, or spiritually provoke and potentially transform someone is anything but impractical. It is essential to the advancement of society.
- Teach a community art class that inspires animal advocacy. If teaching is a passion of yours, consider leading a community art class or workshop that inspires animal advocacy. The venue could be anywhere from your local art museum or gallery to your community arts center or public library. The options are endless for which medium to teach and which cause or project to support. Be creative and consider incorporating other ideas from this post, such as curating an exhibit with the class’ work and donating all proceeds from art sales to a chosen animal advocacy organization.
- Curate an art exhibit that promotes animal advocacy. If you’re an established or aspiring curator, consider organizing an art exhibit that promotes animal advocacy. Depending on your connections, there are a number of common venues that might host your exhibit, but you could also curate a pop-up exhibit for the street or a temporary exhibit for a local coffee shop or likeminded eatery. Of course, you will need artwork. In addition to collaborating with animal advocacy artists (check out The Art of Compassion Project for opportunities), you might also consider partnering with someone who wants to teach an art class focused on animal advocacy and then exhibit the artwork produced.
- Buy animal advocacy art. While I believe we all have the capacity to create art that is beautiful and meaningful, some prefer to support the artistic endeavors of others. If this is you, consider supporting any of the efforts mentioned in this post, either financially or by word of mouth. Not only will you help animals directly, but you will also encourage creative expression and inspire the cultural shift that begins with how we perceive and represent animals.