Friday, March 11, 2011

"Art is a universal Language", Art Blocks for Ghana fundraiser starting March 12th, 2011

Art Blocks for Ghana is a project by the Picture Book Project Foundation. The Picture Book Project foundation presents Art Blocks for Ghana in Los Angeles on March 12th, 2011, an art gallery event sponsored by AOL Artists and Digital Domain in NYC. The artwork will also be entered into an online eBay auction from March 12-19th. 

Art Blocks by founders Margaret Wuller and Rachel Tiep-Daniels. "The patterns of my art block are from the Handpainted glass beads from Ghana when you see someone wearing these specific beads... you know they are either from Ghana, visited, or know someone from Ghana." Rachel

in order left to right Constance(guardian of 5 of the children). Edem, Margaret Wuller, Emanuele, Rachel Tiep-Daniels. "We were visiting the boarding school where the some of the children were currently attending..  One of the Schools Josephine found to place the children.  Emanuele is one of the kids I had not seen in 4 years. and that we were close too! it was amazing to see them" says Rachel.

Sika drawing from the Picture Book Project Limited Edition Book

Interview with Rachel Tiep-Daniels, President of the Picture Book Project Foundation

What inspired you to the Art Blocks for Ghana project? 

The Children of Ghana....

In 2007 I volunteered with my sister Kimberly Daniels in Ghana, West Africa
That summer we spent several hours per day teaching, at an orphanage and spending time with the children. We worked particularly closely with Evelyn, Emmanuel, Patience and Elolo, four of the children who had not been enrolled in school. We grew very, very close to these kids. While the time we spent there was precious and valuable, we knew we needed to find a way to do more. Before leaving Ghana, I made a promise to the Evelyn that we would not forget her, and that we would be back.Margaret Wuller (Co-Founder of PBP) and I traveled back to Ghana Dec, 2010 to visit the children.  It was one of the most important trips we were to take.  We really gained a true understanding of what we needed to focus on for each child.  It was also clear that Evelyn needed our help more then ever.Josephine Hopkins, a past CCS volunteer from 2006, had also left Ghana with a promise and commitment to do more. She started the Hopkins Foundation and had been financially supporting S.W.O.D.C. When the children lost their home in 2008, Josephine traveled back to Ghana and found all 21 children.  The children had been temporarily sent back to the same relatives and guardians who had originally placed them in the orphanage, due to the inability to care for them.   Her goal is to provide an education and find a safe and healthy home for each child.  She would eventually like to build a home for them where they will be cared for as a family unit.  She has found a wonderful Ghanian women Constance who is caring for 5 of the children and is the liason with all the Schools.

4 years later.. the promise became this incredible foundation, the Picture Book Project Foundation. 

What has it been like developing this project? Why do you think art is so important for children?

I have experienced first hand how art can inspire , create a universal connection, and make a difference in a child's life.  The goal is to take the right steps to assure the children a safe and bright future, and  help support the efforts of the Hopkins Foundation, and put the children through school.
I was told that education in Ghana is not a right.. it is a privilege.  “It is the only way out of the vicious cycle of poverty. It is like the saying goes that “It is better to teach people how to fish as oppose to giving them a fish”. With education, you are setting them up for the future”  by Joseph Dzamesi-(Administrator-Sonrise Christian High School, Ghana)

I think it is important for Children to explore their Creativity, Inspiration, Imagination and Dreams.  Art is a universal language, I was not an educator, I was an Artist I was able to communicate to the children in Ghana through Art.  It was an instant connection. There smiles light up!.   Bringing the Artwork of the best artist in Animation to the expands their imagination.

I still remember the impact art had on me when i was a child, and what I was exposed to.  We want to expose the children to incredible art and minds.  These are the artists behind everyones favorite movies..the artist and the imagination that makes these blockbusters possible!

I am constantly amazed by the generosity of artists in animation industry, and the sheer talent.   After setting up the New York Show,  standing in the middle of this incredible artwork, it really set in how much care and dedication each artist put into their Art Blocks, .. and how much a difference we can all make by doing what we love.  it is pure inspiration.

It has been a big undertaking within 7 months, 3 Event/Gallery Shows,226 Art Blocks from Artists and Illustrators Around the World.  

We could not of done this without the support of the Artist Ambassaders and our Sponsors Digital Domain Media Group and AOL Artists.

 Can you describe a special moment you experienced during the project? 

Just recently I got a phone call from my 6 year old niece Brooke Brennan, she told me that she had $9.25, and she would like to donate her money to help the children in Ghana.  She went to school that day, and told her teacher that they should donate too. By the end of the day, the school (Peter Noyes) had written and asked us if we would partner up with them for there Hopscotch Around the World Event, and that the Picture Book Project Foundation would be the Charity of Choice.  

Not only am I touched by the power of my sweet niece and her persistence....but
this is the school that my sisters and I attended when we were in Elementary School.  This was a very special moment. 


The Picture Book Project Foundation 

Rachel Tiep-Daniels, president: "The Picture Book Project Foundation was founded by myself(Rachel), Margaret Wuller and Russell Zack.  The idea of the Picture Book Project came from spending hours with the children coloring, drawing, and creating art projects. When I came back from my trip to Ghana my friend/artist and Dreamworks Co-Worker Margaret Wuller had shared similar experiences volunteering, and working with orphans in Tijuana.  Together we developed an idea to have a collaborative coloring book.  One created by the Top Artists in Animation.The Goal being, the proceeds of the coloring book would help support the Children in Ghana, as well as donating copies of the coloring books.We tapped into our Network and asked artists to contribute a page to the coloring book.  The theme being “monsters” ..One b/w drawing, and there version “colored”.   Which turned into some beautiful paintings.  70 Artists contributed to “The Picture Book Project” and Jeffery Katzenberg wrote a beautiful foreword for the Book.  We will be self-publishing the coloring book this year, release date June-July, 2011." The Picture Book Project Book, was the seed that started our foundation."

Art Blocks for Ghana, project by the Picture Book project foundation 

Rachel Tiep-Daniels, president:"Art Blocks(square wood panels) represent the building blocks to a child’s bright future.  And using art to make a difference.The Picture Book Project Foundation provided the artists with  the wood art panels- 3 different sizes( square- 6x6”, 8x8” and 10x10” ) The artists were asked to design each panel around the theme “home”. There were no restrictions or limits to what medium the artists could use.  Sculpture, collage, mixed media, oil, acrylic..The Panels were shipped to the animation studios, cities, countries  where we had a key artist, and point person.  Our “artist ambassadors” would pass the blocks out to  individual artists, collect them and send them back to me in New York. ( Participants were Dice Tsutsumi at Pixar Animation Studios, Gerald Guerlais, Paris-France, Margaret Wuller:Dreamworks Animation, Aaron Blaise-Digital Domain, Stephane Kardos, Disney, Daniel Williams, Seattle, Sho Murase-San Francisco, Rachel Tiep-Daniels-Blue Sky Studios and Individuals(Independent).  Our Goal was to have 200 pieces in the Auction, we now have 226."

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