A student advocacy organization is using art for the greater good – News


Over the next two years, AFI founders Dasha Boswell and Ris Igrec began working at MADE. At the end of 2020, they opened applications for board members, and Willow enthusiastically applied.

The goal is to use art, whether it’s artwork itself or the product of an art event, to raise awareness and funds for a variety of organizations. AFI also advocates for human rights, social justice and mental health issues.

“I just thought it was so cool,” Willow says, “so in early 2021, I joined the AFI board, and we created their website, artistsforimpactusa.org. My first goal as a board member was to start AFI’s first collegiate chapter in Eckerd. Last fall, I therefore chartered AFI Eckerd with Elise Shapiro and Gillian Probert as co-presidents.

The impact was immediate. Last semester, at AFI’s first on-campus event, artists raised $1,405 for the Tampa Bay Crisis Center, a Tampa-based nonprofit organization that provides a range of services for people in crisis. And then on April 8, at the AFI-sponsored craft fair, the group raised over $1,200 for CASA (Community action ends abuse), a St. Petersburg-based nonprofit that operates a domestic violence center and emergency shelter.

“We voted as a club, and it was the nonprofits that we chose,” Willow explains. “Next year we will do different groups.”

Willow says AFI Eckerd has about 153 people on its mailing list and 20 or 30 who regularly attend meetings. “We had about 45 artists and others helping out or participating in the craft fair in some way,” they say. Less than a year old, AFI was recently recognized by ECOS, the organization Eckerd College Student Organizationas the top activism/advocacy/sustainability/environment club in the College.


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