Project 365 – The Art of Giving and Contributing
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This article is about ‘Project 365’, an art initiative based on the foundation of giving and inspiring, and highlighting art for what it’s meant to do: connecting people.[ale_divider style=”thin” text=”notext”] Divider Text [/ale_divider]
Have you ever tried sticking to a project for a longer time period? No, not two days, more like 365 days in a row. If you have, you know how tough it is having that required discipline in place, and if you never tried it you might say it’s even impossible. We know, we tried in the past. Thus, no wonder that our eyes locked in on this Kickstarter project when we came across it. Once we looked further into it, it was easy to figure out that the rest of the story was equally intriguing. This is ‘Project 365’, an art initiative that exists based on the foundation of giving and sharing.
Vincent Serritella is a young artist based in the San Francisco area, who has been successful in his field with regular exhibitions across the United States and also internationally. A bit over a year ago, one of the early days of 2013, he came up with an idea for a new project, grown out of some internal debating. We could say it’s one of those typical acts of New Year’s resolutions that most of us so often succumb to. But then on January 4th 2013 it took off with this statement on Facebook:
This year I’m giving back to everyone who has supported my work over the years. 365 drawings for me to create and you to own. Just tell me you want it and I’ll send it to you. I’ll be loading up a drawing every day. Hope you enjoy! Here’s the first one.
The start of the project was there. The whole idea for Vincent was borne out of a reflection about the state of art in today’s society, where certain art works are selling for astronomical prices at galleries and auction houses. This project was initiated for the exact opposite reason, it was for giving away an original work of art for no compensation at all. Simply with the motivation to make art accessible for a wider audience.[ale_one_half]
We’re not here to guess what Vincent’s expectation was from the beginning, but what we know for sure is that it turned into something different. To use his words, it transformed into “a project about happiness and relationships”. For us outsiders reflecting over it, what is striking is the way the whole idea turned into a story that kept people involved, and kept Vincent going.
We all know what it means to have your routines, but having something done on a daily basis is hard. I tried once and struggled with it, so when we got in contact with Vincent it was one of the things we wanted to know: how he managed maintaining the discipline every single day.
During the beginning of the project I found it difficult to manage my time because there was this thing I had to do every night no matter what. In the beginning, I didn’t set rules or boundaries for me except to create an original drawing and load it up on to my Facebook page. It was a simple concept, but when you have to do it every single day, it’s on your mind 24 hours a day. Over the course of the project, I started to receive messages and comments about the art and what it meant to them.
That’s when he started to realise that the project became a living organism with its own life.
The project was bringing joy into people’s days and I was building relationships with people all over the world, which was very rewarding. There were also many serendipitous connections between the art and the people who received the drawings. For example, I did a drawing of a bat and the person who got it was a bat biologist. Another woman collected pine cones for months for her wedding and the day I loaded a pine cone drawing, she got it. Another woman told me it was the first original piece of art she ever owned and it would stay in her family for generations. Project 365 was filled with stories like this. It truly was amazing synchronicity between me and the person getting the art. Reading comments and emails like this genuinely inspired me to continue to get through the countless nights and weekends.
If I would look for just one takeaway from Vincent’s statement it’d really be the value of perseverance, nobody could ever say that creating anything without hard work is easy. But it might be equally important to get others around you involved, it clearly makes the process worthy. Needless to say, Vincent finished his 365th painting about a month ago.
In a way, it could’ve all ended there, but the story just wasn’t done yet and that’s how we got involved. Vincent rightly thought that there was space for summarising the past 365 days in the form of a photo book. From those thoughts the Kickstarter project was born. The whole idea of Vincent’s around giving back was transformed into the project with a crowd-funding goal of $11,000, which is to cover the production of 1,000 books containing the 365 artworks he produced during the good part of 2013. All proceedings on top of the book publishing costs will go to the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco.
It’s of course no coincidence that Vincent chose to support a children’s art museum. While exchanging our thoughts with him, we asked about his view of the importance of how art impacts children while growing up:
I can’t stress enough how important imagination and creativity is for children. In the United States, funding for the arts is getting cut more and more out of education budgets. I’m not sure where I would be if I didn’t have the arts in my life growing up, but it provided me with a way to express and discover who I was or would become as I was going through school. The arts teach children about inspiration, passion, problem solving and logic. For me, as a child, I was never concerned with what my art was worth, its deep meaning or what gallery it was showing in. I just wanted to create something that inspired me, then share it with my family or friends. It taught me about communication and making people happy. Project 365 reminded me again why I enjoyed the arts as a child and I want to return that inspiration and help The Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco that supports the same philosophy.
Thus, this project is really more than about one person and his art. It’s also via people like him that the small things can add up to bigger ones and make a difference. On days when we complain about how Facebook kidnaps our lives and how it makes us actually more anti-social, it’s also important to remember the sides of it that can make changes happen. We live in a society with tremendous opportunities, if you have a good idea it can be spread quickly and among all the cat-worshipping people in the cyberspace there are those who also pay attention to projects like this. It’s really “just” about getting your story right.
The Project 365 on Kickstarter reached its funding goal of $11,000 in just 27 hours after it started. On day one of the project’s launch our intention with contacting Vincent was to help him reach the goal and make the project happen. By the time we really got going, the goal was already reached, which is a great achievement.
The good thing is that the project is in any case not fully over: since all the profit ‘Project 365’ generates is for the benefit of the Children’s Creativity Museum, your support to the project is still more than welcome. It will help kids staying or becoming creative, which is always going to be a good thing.
Some other similar projects and museums around the world that we are aware of are the International Museum of Children’s Art in Oslo, Norway and the project Art in All of Us, which is inspiring children around the world through art. Please check them out as well.[ale_divider style=”thin” text=”notext”] Divider Text [/ale_divider]
You can see all pieces of art made by Vincent for the project on his Facebook page. Don’t forget to have a look at all the comments generated by his audience and to like his Page, you never now what project Vincent comes up with next.
We’re also on Facebook and we would love it if you like our page too, you never know what we will share next…[ale_divider style=”thin” text=”notext”] Divider Text [/ale_divider]