You just never know where your art will end up if you are open to new and different opportunities. Mine ended up at a film festival in NYC. It started way back in 2007 when I met Trevor and Brittany, a wonderful couple who have become dear friends, on a mission trip to El Salvador with the nonprofit Airline Ambassadors. We were all airline employees at the time (they still are, Trevor as a pilot for American and Brittany as a flight attendant for Southwest) and visiting orphanages during Christmas time. I was painting murals with the kids and Trevor was distributing soccer balls and playing the "beautiful game" with them.
We have stayed in touch ever since and both have started our own nonprofit projects. Mine is Moni's Kids and theirs is Little Feet, a one-for-one company (think TOMS shoes) through which he donates one soccer ball for each one bought to needy children worldwide. Purchasing soccer uniforms through Little Feet also allows them to build soccer fields in communities and distribute uniforms to start soccer leagues. Trevor and Brittany started Little Feet after he kept seeing kids in poverty stricken areas using things like balled up plastic bags and t-shirts as balls and playing on dirt fields or trash filled alleys. They are now on a mission to spread peace and hope through soccer. Check out their Facebook page.
But flying full time, starting Little Feet and now raising two kids was not enough for them. They also love art and artists and have started another business combining it all: Futbol Artist Network. It features art inspired by soccer and is a platform for artists who love both! I have to admit that I'm not actually a big soccer fan (I know, it's almost sacrilege as a German!), but when Trevor asked me to paint some of the kids who have received their Little Feet balls and showcase them on the Futbol Artist Network website I immediately said yes! Part of the proceeds help to support the programs of Little Feet. You can purchase the original painting or prints in several sizes on their site or mine.
So, what does this have to do with a film festival in NYC? Well, Futbol Artist Network was invited to have a showing of their work at the Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival at the Tribeca Cinemas (who even knew there was such a thing??) and Trevor asked me to participate. So, there is my pastel portrait of a young Kenyan boy smiling broadly after receiving a Little Feet soccer ball next to all the cool graphic paintings depicting soccer legends! I could not have foreseen this venue but am always open to new ideas to show my work and help children in the process.
If you are an artist, check out their Facebook page for new calls to artists. You never know where it may lead!