Happy World Art Day: celebrating creativity to tackle poverty

A mum and her three children are painting during a creative workshop.

Our well-being is affected by the things we do and the things we create. Expressing creativity helps us to have a clear mind and develop new skills. Art can also help influence the world around us, as we share our experiences and thoughts. That is why we organise art workshops for adults and children experiencing poverty. To celebrate World Art Day, we explain below how we create space for all to express their creativity, and the difference it makes.

During Well-Being Days and Breaks, parents, children and adults experiencing poverty can participate in arts and crafts workshops to get away from the pressures of daily life.

Whether painting or jewellery making, pottery or card-making, engaging in crafts gives families the opportunity to learn new skills through activities that they may not be able to do at home. One parent said:

“My children like painting so much. It’s something we don’t have in our house.”

What’s more, craft activities mean making something to bring home after the Well-Being Day. One mother who participates in our family activities explained that she always writes the date on the back of the paintings she and her son made, as a keepsake of what they did that day. The creative workshops make space for parents and their children to engage in activities together. Another parent said: “When my children are painting, I give them a hand. I participate, to make them happy!”

Creatively expressing lived experiences to make a change

To challenge stigma and policies, ATD Fourth World activists produce poems, paintings, collages, photographs and more to share their experience of poverty.

One activist with lived experience of poverty participated in the photography exhibition last October. She said:

“I was able to put what was in my head into an image. When you see it printed out you see how powerful it is. It makes you realise what people who are living in poverty go through on a daily basis.”

The exhibition by ATD Fourth World titled The power of Creativity, shpwcasing the art of people with lived experience of poverty
On 17 October 2023, our event ‘The Power of Creativity‘ included a photo exhibition, theater and poetry performances, painting and other creative productions by people with lived experience of poverty.

For the participants, photography became a powerful tool to explore their creativity and share impactful messages about poverty in the UK. One visitor at the exhibition said: “I felt like I saw people’s feelings. I felt connected to them.”

“We always go away feeling empowered”

A mother who comes to both ATD’s well-being activities and our activist discussion workshops, said:

“I love the arts and crafts activities. Creating something, thinking about something new. And we get something to bring home, as a souvenir. We always go away feeling empowered.”

She is also a very active member of her Tenants and Residents’ Association, and often gets inspired from the workshops she does at ATD Fourth World for activities she proposes in her neighborhood.

A woman is creating a pink and purple collage representing the suffragettes, at a women's day creative workshop.
A collage to celebrate Women’s Day.

During a workshop for Women’s Day this year, she produced a collage representing suffragettes on the picket lines.  “I was inspired by the history of the struggles to get where we are today.”

If you live in London or Surrey and would like to help our team make creative activities possible, please see how you can get involved here: https://atd-uk.org/get-involved/volunteering-opportunities/. And no matter where you live, there are many other ways to support our work. Please consider donating or even fundraising for us.