Invest in a piece of artwork and in helping your neighbors at the same time.

By Rebecca Angel Baer
August 21, 2020
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Studio by the tracks William
Credit: Studio by the Tracks

The coronavirus pandemic has derailed just about everything from sports to Broadway, and we have all had to learn how to adjust. Businesses have learned to adapt. Restaurants pivoted to curbside pick-up and patio dining. We are all learning to do things online more than we ever did, now seen as a lifeline instead of wasting time. And that’s exactly what many of our non-profits need right now: a lifeline.

With so much uncertainty, donations to charity takes a back burner for most to buying groceries and paying the bills. And for many small, local organizations, the annual charity event that took all year to plan and that brings in the majority of their yearly funding? Well, you can guess that it was either postponed or cancelled all together. But many have been able to make that pivot to a digital platform. That’s precisely what Studio by the Tracks has done. The Birmingham based non-profit provides studio space, materials, instruction, guidance and a career path to artists on the Autism spectrum. As their mission statement reads on their website, “We provide a social network and a career path that enriches our artists’ lives and betters our community. Artists receive 60% of any sale of their art works. The studio provides all services and materials to artists free of charge.”

They serve over 60 adult artists as well as have a separate weekly program for children with severe emotional disorders. You can see what an impact this group has on their community in the video below.

Each year, their biggest fundraiser is an auction of the work of their student artists as well as donated works from artists all around the country. Art from the Heart is usually a lively event where hundreds of people come in person to bid on the work from student artists which truly serves these men and women and helps to further their chosen career paths. But when the pandemic hit, plans shifted to a completely virtual event. Just as they had with their daily programming, they switched to an online format without missing a beat. Now the display of hundreds of pieces of art can be viewed here by anyone around the world. The auction is free to view from August 20-23.

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Studio by the Tracks Executive Producer Suzanne Boozer said in a statement, "Now, more than ever, it's important for our studio's sustainability to make this year's event successful, and we hope that by hosting this event virtually, we can reach a wider audience than we ever have and introduce our amazing artists to people who may have never gotten the chance to attend our event in person, and we can do it in a way that's really fun and safe. Art is such a powerful healing and therapeutic tool, whether you're creating it yourself or just enjoying someone else's creation, and we hope that we can ​share that experience with you!”