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“Art – in all of its forms – is not exclusive. It does not belong to any class, cast or country. It’s matchless ability to express the most basic human impulses is only strengthened by its universality. It transcends language and culture, bridges social and political chasms and nurtures a collective understanding. It engenders hope, rebuilds self-respect and restores humanity. Art is a motivator, a force of empowerment and a source of support for people of all races, nationalities, ages, economic situations and genders. It is ageless, timeless and breaks through many barriers. Art brings strength to those who lack confidence, wish for a mental escape from harsh environments or who seek to restore happiness and hope in times of great need.”

Artfully AWARE (AfA) is an organization that connects communities, collaborates with local partners and generates positive change in people’s lives through advocacy events and innovative community development projects. Our philosophy is to inspire each one of us to recognize our power as an individual to promote change. Whether advocating for human rights, facilitating educational workshops or teaching income generating skills in rural communities, we bring a creative global perspective to society.

Artfully AWARE is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, maintains Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is a member of the United National Global Compact. Artfully AWARE was founded by Hilary Wallis, Zillah Edwards, Emily Hatfield and Evonne Austen in December 2007. We work with partners to bring the highest standard of educational projects to the communities they serve, and 100% of our revenue goes to funding these programs.

Our Goals are to:
- Educate participants on a variety of issues including: health, sanitation, preservation of culture, gender equality, business practices and HIV/AIDS prevention.

- Find solutions to community-based problems in a safe environment.

- Help empower and teach confidence building skills to community members who have experienced and survived traumatic events such as: war, disease, famine, abuse and extreme poverty.

- Provide outlets for expression and cross-cultural opportunities.

Hilary Wallis, Founder and Executive Director

A veteran of both solo and group exhibitions with her own work throughout the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, Hilary has worked as a consultant for such organizations as Plan, CARE, the International Rescue Committee, Americans for Informed Democracy, InterAction, the Global Campaign for Education, the National Conference for Community and Justice, Think Impact and the South Africa-based Buffelshoek Trust. The culmination of her experiences traveling in over seventy countries, she created the Empowerment Through Art program in Africa with the goal of providing artistic services to members of vulnerable communities as a means of education, psycho-social care, disseminating vital public health information and enriching social and emotional development. She has also served as a photographer for the Inter-Press Service in Ethiopia and assisted in developing an arts and culture magazine in Florida. Hilary is currently focusing on building a new business while serving as Artfully AWARE’s Executive Director.

Watch Hilary discuss how AfA was founded during an interview she filmed with Laureate International Universities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTDCK6OtZRM

Kristin Pedemonti, Lead Facilitator

Award winning, professional teacher, international storyteller and TED Talks talent search finalist, Kristin Pedemonti’s passions are connecting cultures, encouraging people to share their journeys of overcoming adversity and building bridges between communities through their stories. Kristin reminds us we are all interconnected; our stories are important and we all have the potential to make a positive impact. She is the Founder of Literacy Outreach Belize and has donated programs for 33,000 youth and trained 800 teachers how to use their own cultural stories in the classroom. Kristin has performed at festivals, universities, schools and special events throughout the USA and globally in Ireland, Germany, Colombia, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Sweden, Poland and beyond. In collaboration with Artfully AWARE, Kristin volunteers in developing countries collecting real stories from real people, focusing on Innovation & Creativity and Persistence & Possibility. Challenges & Adversity are also opportunities for creative problem solving. The goal is to break the cycle of dependency by featuring projects and programs created and run by local people utilizing their inherent talent.

Justin Igala, African Team Coordinator

Justin is a professional development coordinator and fine artist that was trained at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. For over 30 years, he has used the arts to support development of marginalized communities in various areas such as water, hygiene, sanitation, HIV/AIDS, malaria control and war recovery. He has worked for many organizations and has run programs and workshops in Uganda, Sudan, Kenya and Rwanda. Justin is Artfully AWARE’s lead facilitator based in Uganda.

Team Leaders in various communities also work closely with us and head up some of our projects. Special thanks to the hundreds of consultants and volunteers we’ve had over the years in the UK, USA, Africa and around the world.