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By Ruth Barnard

Many artists have made a positive change in the world simply by creating and designing things. Something as simple as painting a picture can get people thinking and talking about the big issues we face today.

How can artists make a positive change?

There is an infinite amount of art, design and other creative practices that have made a positive change in the world. Here are a few little examples of the positive impact art and design can have...

Art can change our views

Artists can let people see things, like the colour of your skin, in a new way. For example; Angelica Dass an artist and photographer created a photography project called ‘Humanae' which aims to get people thinking and talking about skin colour and ethnic identity. Her work was spread around the internet, on boards in cities and at exhibitions.

Watch her inspiring Ted Talk; ‘The beauty of human skin in every colour'

Angelica Dass

Art helps the community

Art projects can help people create positive change in hard times.

For example; when natural disasters like earthquakes have struck it's common for a school or group  to get together and make a mosaic from all of the broken pieces of pottery they have.

This creates positivity and community where it's truly needed.

Check out Crack'd for Christchurch on Facebook to see the beautiful mosaics they have made.

Art can shape the future

For example; The ‘arts and crafts' movement in the late 19th to early 20th century was a reaction against the way that objects were made in factories. They believed designs should be made with care and that people that made them should feel happy with the work they had produced. They disliked the badly made and ‘tacky' designs they were seeing so they began making things with the best quality and techniques they could; celebrating nature and the materials they were made from.  This became the ‘arts and crafts' movement which is still seen today as historically important.

How can I ‘make' a change?

Start a brainstorm answering the questions below and you will be on your way to an inspired idea.

  • What's an issue you care about? It could be to do with health, education, equality, animals, politics or the environment.
  • What symbols/images/colours/materials are involved?
  • The materials or tools you decide to use can be part of your message. What tools and materials will you use?
  • Where will it be presented? Will it be hidden in books? Hung on the wall? Chalked to the ground? For example if your art was about sustainability you could put it up by your recycling at home.

Keep your eyes open for art and design that has an important message! Talk to your friends about it and see if they agree. They may have a different perspective to offer.

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