This week my focus has been painting hundreds of seashells. I’m not gonna lie – this is the tedious part of the installation journey. The novelty has worn off, and it’s a physical and mental challenge to power through and just get the job of painting and glazing 2,511 shells done. The upside of mindless repetitive work is that my brain wanders off and thinks about other projects. As a result, I’ve decided to add new objectives to my favorite ongoing project, art4theppl.

art4theppl is a project I founded in 2014. The project provides access to art supplies, art experiences, and arts education to children and adults in need. art4theppl isn’t a non-profit organization. I sell my art and donate a portion of my profit to financially support the project. I’ve also made and sold handmade items, collected unused art and craft supplies for repurposing, and my amazing friend hosts a huge craft party annually to raise funds for art4theppl.

I originally created art4theppl to provide arts education to the ACK Madeleine School in Bungoma, Kenya (which I have done successfully since 2014). Most of the students at ACK are orphans, many of them having lost their parents to AIDS. For these children, the school is their only source of food and medical care, and students walk long distances to attend school. The primary objective of art4theppl is to implement and continue a curriculum that includes arts education and utilizes art supplies in hands-on projects across multiple subjects to improve student participation and success. Before any resources are dedicated to this endeavor, we must first ensure that all of the basic needs are met for each student and teacher. Fortunately, Orphan Outreach fundraises to provide food, clothing, shoes, clean water, teacher salaries, and medical care which allows me to supply funds for art supplies. Helping these kids gives me great joy, and I’m so grateful I’ve been able to bring the arts to ACK.

This week, while covered in paint and swimming in a pile of shells, I decided to add new projects to art4theppl that support people here in my local Florida community. I’ve begun researching potential groups in need, including kids and adults, and I’m building my network of people who can connect me with supplies for use in new art projects. I still have a ways to go with shell painting, so I have plenty of time to formulate new ideas. Here is the latest shell countdown:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s glimpse into my artist brain. If you’d like to see items I’ve created for art4theppl, have a look at fromSteph.


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