The Artist Volunteer Center
The AV Center is a nonprofit organization / artist-driven project and a destination for those seeking a forum to witness, present, and participate in artwork that is derived from direct action.
We are first and foremost a support service for artists. We believe fine artists are the true innovators and leaders of culture, we trust in their innate ability to turn problems into solutions. Our artists are given a framework but encouraged to move fluidly within its structure, working closely with community participants to empower and inspire all involved.
What does it mean to "volunteer"?
There are many different meanings, uses, and expectations on this word in modern usage. The word "Volunteer" comes from the latin root "voluntas" which connotes concepts of will, choice, and a gift of peace, among others.
Generally speaking, our mission is based on getting artists out of their studios to participate in volunteer projects that involve humanitarian work, a mutually beneficial and vastly rewarding venture. By carefully constructing long-term projects with community partners, utilizing horizontal power structures whenever possible, and continuously assessing and refining the project to meet the needs of the artists and the communities, we maximize the impact and agency of all participants.
The AV Center’s priority is to nurture the experiences artists have while out in the field into inspiration for the creation of socially-conscious artworks and support the careers of these innovative emerging artists.
We provide a navigable pathway for artists seeking hands-on experience and practice in the community organizing setting, resulting in inspirational, boundary-pushing work, and tangible, accessible arts programming in underserved and marginalized communities, thereby raising the cultural consciousness of all involved. In our model, art serves as an advocacy tool and a method by which artists receive greater exposure.
The AV Center’s modus operandi is driven by the following fundamental questions:
- How can we get artists out of their studio?
- How will long term, hands-on experience translate into richer artworks?
- How can artists help in ways that non-artists cannot in regards to art and
non-art related projects?
- How can we work with individual artists to identify their skills and set them
up in a community where they will flourish?
- How can we benefit the lives and careers of artists who choose to
dedicate their time to bettering the lives of others?
- How can we create opportunities for different levels of involvement with
the AV Center? (i.e. open calls for socially-conscious artwork, open calls for residency programs, etc.)
- How can we redirect funding streams from art collectors and the art
market at large to become more interested in art with a cause behind it?
When artists become Artist Volunteers, underserved populations are enriched, and so are the lives and the artwork of the artists involved. It is vital that there is a mechanism in place that can nurture this process. The AVC helps artists help people, and champions artwork that is inspired from this experience.
The AV Center is founded on the principle that art is most powerful when inspired by or attempting to establish a dialogue around social justice issues. Designed to act as a conduit between artists, communities, and opportunities, the AV Center offers access to experts in the advocacy, nonprofit, and fine art fields, while redirecting funding streams to provide an alternative to the commercial gallery track. The AV Center also fulfills the role of mentor and resource center, giving artists a framework for understanding and exploring social issues, as well as navigating the impact this may have on their artistic practice. All artist projects are collaborative endeavors from the beginning and are carefully designed to meet the needs of the community while challenging and expanding the skillsets and interests of the artists.
The Artist Volunteer Center (the AV Center) promotes humanitarian volunteerism by artists, and supports the creation of artwork inspired by volunteer action. The AV Center connects arts and volunteer programs with the purpose of uniting organizations and individuals for the common goal of helping artists help people.
The Artist Volunteer Center is fiscally sponsored by Brooklyn Arts Council