Created by Angela Spoto together with her sister Sarah, the Uncovered Artistry project intends to provide domestic abuse victims with means to improve their financial situation and express their creativity, as well as to share their experiences with others in the same situation.
Operating out of Seacoast New Hampshire, the project is a nonprofit online boutique that provides an outlet to the finely crafted work of domestic abuse survivors and non-survivors in America and Canada who support abuse awareness. Uncovered Artistry also educates its customers about domestic abuse in order to raise awareness and eliminate stereotypes.
In order to give a general idea of how things work and answer a few doubts that may raise from those interested in participating, either as artisans or as sponsors, The Art Inquirer has conducted an interview with the authors of the project.
TAI When did you come up with the idea for this project ?
UA We thought of Uncovered Artistry last winter when we heard about the Projects for Peace grant, which gives select students $10,000 to start a project that promotes peace. We knew we wanted to empower women in some way, and since we had previously owned a jewelry shop on Etsy, we deiced to take our skills and start a nonprofit boutique that sells the work of domestic and sexual abuse survivors. Luckily, we got the grant!
TAI Why did you decided to make this project ?
UA We believe in the empowering effects of entrepreneurship and art and wanted to give others the opportunity to expand their businesses.
TAI Where has this project started and if it's still on the same venue ?
UA Currently, we sell exclusively online at Uncoveredartistry.com. We operate out of two locations: Seacoast New Hampshire in the summer and Chicago during the school year while we are at college.
TAI Do you have plans to expand this project ?
UA Yes, definitely. We are currently exploring other grant possibilities. We'd like to have many more artisans, a larger website, and more employees. We intend to reach out to the community and host community events. Also, we hope to raise $10,000 for domestic abuse shelters.
TAI Why did you think that this specific project would be a successful option ?
UA We believe that taking a for-profit business model and creating a nonprofit will enable us to become self-sustaining and reach more individuals.
TAI According to the artists/crafters, how has this project improved their lives ?
UA Here are some quotations from several of our artisans:
"When I work on my jewelry, I feel peaceful. I'm so focused on the project that I am able to momentarily "forget" those bad experiences. And I feel good about myself when I'm done with a pair. Some of my self-worth and confidence has returned."
"Creating has always been a way to get away from reality. As well as show that you are worthwhile and talented which I heard over and over I wasn't. It gives me self confidence I don't think I could have gotten elsewhere.Creating has always been a way to get away from reality. As well as show that you are worthwhile and talented which I heard over and over I wasn't. It gives me self confidence I don't think I could have gotten elsewhere."
"It helps me focus more on beauty and seeing the beauty inside myself. It's helped me accept myself more and actually love myself more because I have the ability to highlight the beauty of others. I can make others smile with it and that is worth everything to me. To have contemplated suicide many times and then to be able to help others showcase their own beauty means the world to me. I not only survived, but I've overcome, I've learned to forgive, and I've learned patience."
TAI From which areas do you accept works ?
UA Our artisans are from all over the country, and we do accept artisan applications from Canada.
TAI How can people contribute for this project ?
UA We take donations, both monetary and artistic donations. For instance, students at Lake Forest College donated a number of jewelry pieces. We accept most types of items, including artwork, jewelry, accessories, and home decor. If you are interested in donating, please contact Sarah at sarah(at)uncoveredartistry.com.
TAI What kind of art/craft is more common ?
UA Most of our artisans create jewelry, but we also sell artwork, accessories, and home decor. Our most popular sellers are necklaces, sculptures, and earrings.
TAI For those who don't have any means to buy materials to start, can you provide them with any kind of help ?
UA Yes, Uncovered Artistry has set aside a microloan fund for the purpose of providing artisans who may not have the current financial means to start their business with a small loan ranging from $25 to $100.
TAI Do you think that besides its main function, this project is also a vehicle for its users to share their experiences with each other ?
UA We hope that our artisans feel a connection with other artisans who have gone through similar experiences. We hope to start an artisan newsletter through which UA artisans can get to know one another.
TAI Have you ever felt when gathering information and promoting this project, that the tabu of not interfering in a couple's life is still implated in our society when talking of domestic violence ?
UA We think that many times people chose to ignore domestic abuse when it is happening. We believe this is unacceptable. Domestic abuse and sexual abuse should not exist, and we hope to promote awareness.Domestic violence is certainly a touchy issue. We are always mindful of the comfort level of our artisans when talking about this issue. Some artisans don't mind discussing it, while others would like to avoid the issue.
TAI How are you advertising this project to reach the maximum number of people ? Have you gotten interested sponsors ?
UA We currently advertise online at craftcult.com, greatgreengods.com, and modishblog.com. We also write a weekly column for our college's newspaper.