Pop Art Artists: The New Faces of Positive Change

October 15, 2012

Pop art is known for unique pieces that often mock mass consumerism and cast a new light on every day objects and advertisements. Therefore, it should be no surprise that artists that belong to the pop art movement are often involved in philanthropic efforts geared toward positive change in the community. Part of the goal of using objects in artwork that are attributed to mass consumerism is to show how unnecessary most of it is. By shining a light on an area of life in a different way, pop artists hope to engage people in thinking differently about said area of life.

Through creating these pieces of art, pot artists have already given the world a great gift. However, most of them hardly feel that this is enough. Although their art pieces are beautiful contributions to many local communities around the globe, their extended volunteer work, donations and messages of awareness ring out as positive markers in the community as well.

Charity Work & Donations
Many Pop artists are fond of a particular charity and they take a lot of time to work charity events and provide donations to benefit the cause. Many of them will even start their own non-profit organizations to further the agenda of a particular charity. It is very important to these philanthropists that they raise awareness and convey a message of positive change in their respective communities.

A well-known Pop artist who was just as well known in the world of philanthropy is Steve Kaufman. He launched the charity "Give Kids a Break." This charity was centered on trying to keep kids out of jail and off the streets by giving them a job at his studio. His group of apprentices would help run errands, cut canvases, mix paints, frame pictures and perform many other tasks. The program was in existence for 15 years and helped more than 1,000 kids. The majority of them did go on to be productive with their lives.

Now that Steve Kaufman has passed, much of his artwork has been sold and reproduced with the proceeds going to charities that will continue his quest to help kids pursue better lives. Reproductions of the artwork that were created as part of his "Give Kids a Break" initiative are available for sale online, but the originals were all sold with proceeds going to his charity.

Messages of Peace & Raising Awareness
Pop artists are also known for their desire to circulate messages of peace. Even though their artwork often points out the flaws in our overly capitalistic society, it all comes from a good place. By using artwork to raise awareness, Pop artists are conveying a message of peace. They do not need to invoke violence or use dirty tactics to get their message across. Instead their goal is to push their cause through the use of art and charitable efforts.

Galleries that are focused on Pop art typically extend this message and participate in charity work as well. It certainly helps create solidarity for the artist's message. For example, the Bottleneck Gallery in Brooklyn, New York is a charity-based gallery that often allows the artist showing to choose a charity and a portion of the proceeds from all the artwork sold will go to that particular charity.

Romero Britto: Pop Art Legend & Philanthropist
Romero Britto is one of the most famous Pop artists in present day. Aside from his many, many accolades as a painter, Britto is also very involved in his local community and many philanthropic organizations. According to his website, "Britto considers the role of an artist to be an agent of positive change." Staying true to his beliefs, Britto is involved in more than 250 charitable organizations. He has donated not only his work and monetary assets, but also his very valuable time and resources. Some of the organizations he associates himself with he also serves on the board for, including Best Buddies International and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Britto has also gone on to be named a founding inaugural benefactor of Harvard's "International Negotiation Program." Dr. Daniel Shapiro awarded him this honor in recognition of his efforts to promote peaceful conflict resolution. Britto is also a strong supporter of superior education efforts, and has spoken at the World Economic Forum, held in Davos, as well as many schools and other institutions to further better education for the world.

Most recently Britto was asked by the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, to design the logo for Rede Cegonha. In early 2011, Britto accepted the project that will eventually be a symbol that will reach more than 61 million pre and post-natal mothers and their babies. And in 2014, Britto will serve as the Ambassador to the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Brazil. Overall, Britto is now one of the most influential Pop artists, and not just because of his artwork.

Clearly Pop artists have taken philanthropy to the next level, moving it outside of just their artwork. Through these efforts for positive change, they are sending a message of peace and raising awareness by using their celebrity for good.

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