Homelessness and physical disabilities almost always limit financial opportunities, even for people with creative talents. To combat the problem, a Boston-area Harvard College graduate, Liz Powers, and her brother, Spencer, founded the for-profit ArtLifting, which sells original pieces as well as prints and licensed merchandise by the homeless and disabled. Scott Benner, who has a nerve condition, Jeff Roysdon, who is managing anxiety, and Tim Strouss, who is partially paralyzed, are just a few examples from the current roster of 130 artists. By providing them with both the sales revenue and the acclaim, ArtLifting truly uplifts.
The enterprise is now catching the eye of leading designers, drawn to the compelling story and the wide range of evocative works to complement different interiors. For guest rooms at the Ames Boston Hotel, Glen & Company specified prints reproducing Allen Chamberland’s intricate black-and-white paper-cuts of local architectural subjects. “The story behind ArtLifting and the quality of the work itself are an amazing combination,” Glen Coben says. Boston-based Gensler principal Arlyn Vogelmann is also a Chamberland fan—converting other paper-cuts into wall covering for a nearby office project. Gensler’s San Francisco office, meanwhile, held an exhibition of ArtLifting participants in the Bay Area to introduce the program to designers and visitors.