Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie McKevitt.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In 2013, I was branching out on my own as an artist in Atlanta. Because of volunteer work I had done with young children in the arts I knew I wanted some portion of my art to give back to kids in my community. That same year I was fortunate enough to be invited to teach an art class at Wellspring Living along with two other artists.
Wellspring Living is an organization that serves young survivors of sex trafficking in Atlanta. The girls in the program loved the day of art. We were all blown away by the level of engagement the girls had, the therapeutic implications and the beautiful pieces they created. The staff immediately invited the artists back. But, just like many nonprofits, Wellspring Living didn’t have very many artistic resources for their students.
If we wanted to return, we needed to make the project plans and provide the supplies. This experience made me wonder if there more organizations like Wellspring Living, that lacked the resources but could benefit from artist programming. At the same time, I started to investigate and see if more artists would be willing to volunteer, if the planning services and supplies were provided.
I would quickly learn the answer to both was a resounding yes.
So in 2014, Paint Love began in order to fill that need. At Paint Love, we partner with those organizations that need programming for their students and recruit artists interested in volunteering and we connect them for a positive impact on youth, providing free art workshops throughout metro-Atlanta.
I started it with my husband as a side project, but now I work for Paint Love full time. Last year we had 62 events that served thousands of students throughout metro Atlanta.
We partner with more than just nonprofits, but we serve Title 1 schools as well. We specifically target our programs to youth facing poverty or trauma and we frequently work with Wellspring Living, the organization that inspired it all.
Has it been a smooth road?
I think anytime you start something new and have a vision of growth, there will be struggles. It hasn’t been a smooth road, but it has been full of a lot of joy. It’s a broken record in the nonprofit world, but finding funding has been the consistent struggle. I think deeper within that is really getting our story out there in the right places and allowing people to know what we do. Our organization is set to function behind the scenes serving nonprofits and Title 1 schools. We love getting to serve the students our partners serve and helping them bring transformational art experiences to their programming. But it has been a struggle to learn how to best involve the community and tell our story when we can’t always share or invite the public to an event. It is a struggle a lot of nonprofits face and so I often look at the organizations we serve and see how they have grown and engaged the community around them. I’m still learning so much. I don’t think the struggles will ever go away, but simply change as our organization grows.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Paint Love – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Paint Love provides free artistic workshops for youth facing poverty or trauma in metro-Atlanta.
We connect professional artists with Title 1 schools and non-profit organizations and specialize in bringing high quality transformational arts programming to the youth those organizations serve.
Our programs provide a safe environment for self-expression, acceptance, and even emotional healing for the students we serve. And we are proud of the high level of projects we have been able to bring to our partners. We collaborate specifically with professional artists to bring projects and mediums that are new and exciting to the students; projects in which they might not otherwise be exposed.
Working in both schools and nonprofit organizations has helped to set Paint Love apart and enables us to serve thousands of students in a year.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Oh. I LOVE Atlanta! I love the art community and the parks and walking paths and the BeltLine and the food (so much good food), but I think it’s all the wonderful and generous people that I have met that really made me fall in love with it. It’s the people that have made working and serving in Atlanta, such a dream.
I don’t like parking. Haha. I do wish there was a Marta line a little closer to some of the places I love so much in the City.
- $12 donation helps cover the cost of sponsoring a student for Paint Love programming
- $100 donation helps cover the cost of fine art paper and painting supplies
- $250 donation helps cover the cost of sponsoring a small Paint Love program
- Address: 3172 East Ponce de Leon Ave
Suite G, Scottdale, GA 30079
- Website: gopaintlove.org
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instgram.com/gopaintlove
- Facebook: facebook.com/gopaintlove
- Twitter: twitter.com/gopaintlove
Morgan Corbett Photography