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Cultivate Community through Film, Theater, Music and Art

For the Love of Art 

Do you enjoy a good movie? Love the local art exhibit? Or find yourself tapping to the latest tunes? You don’t have to be Picasso, Bach or even Bon Jovi to appreciate the arts. No matter your interest or experience, you can cultivate community through any number of cultural endeavors.

From volunteering as an art docent or at your local library, it’s easy to get involved in the arts in ways big and small—locally and even internationally!

Support music, film and theater

What’s better than a sunny day outdoors with live music? How about attending that festival or show for free? Music and film festivals always need volunteers to set up and support the events as they happen, and organizers may be willing to compensate you for your time. Check in with festivals near you to see if you can trade time for discounted—or free—entry.

If you want to support independent film, theatre and music, why not do so with one of the world’s most renowned groups? The Sundance Institute provides creative and financial support to screenwriters, directors, documentarians, producers, composers and theater artists. The Institute also hosts film, music and theater programs, including free screenings, in communities nationwide. All of these events rely on thousands of year-round helpers—and the Sundance Institute encourages local, national and international volunteers to lend a hand.

Bridge the gap

Every culture has a history and tradition to honor. This common thread allows us to communicate across cultures in a universal language and understand one another in a different way. Try getting involved with an organization like YouthARTS. Youth-based arts programs combat intolerance by uniting our youth through art.

Exhibit your generosity at a museum

Museums help communities around the world by housing pieces that educate and inspire. Most American museums, however, don’t receive federal funding —which makes your time spent volunteering with them even more valuable. There are plenty of ways to help: Become a docent, a front-desk information hub for visitors, or work behind the scenes. And there are needs museums have that may surprise you: If you love to garden, consider lending your green thumb to the museum’s landscaping!

Before you sign on, be sure you’re prepared so both you and the museum know how to best utilize your skills.

Assist with classroom arts

If you want to broaden your impact to the classroom, there are plenty of options locally—and globally.

  • Art with a Heart educates and inspires at-risk youth through hands-on artistic expression. You can assist as a summer or after-school program volunteer, a committee member, in their offices, or in other ways.
  • Art in Action, a nonprofit that promotes visual arts education, welcomes volunteers for their school programs, special projects, committees and summer programs.
  • If you’re looking to advance the arts abroad, check out Aid to Artisans, which collaborates with artisanal groups worldwide to nourish cultural craft traditions, or the World Federation of Friends of Museums.

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Have a passion for literature?

Holding a used book sale is a great way to get books to those in need, help fund local community programs, meet your neighbors and have fun. Check out our guide to get started.

Do your homework

Be sure to study up on the causes near you before you dive into volunteering or donating. You want to be sure your time is well spent! Many organizations provide resourcesinformation and transparency on nonprofits, foundations and other charitable organizations so that you can be sure your work has the kind of impact you want.

The art of donation

Art has a way of enriching communities, provoking thought and bringing people together. Is your house in need of an art revamp? Maybe your taste has changed. donate your pieces of art, albums and films to local schools, community and senior centers to share the gift of art.