The Business that Helps Artists Facing Homelessness

Homelessness in the US has increased by over 20% since last year to 58,000 people. Meanwhile, 22% of adults in the country suffer from disabilities. Although programs do exist to rehabilitate and integrate them in society via art, often their work goes to waste. But not anymore.

Enter ArtLifting

It didn’t take Liz Powers long to notice the high quality of art being left to gather dust while working in art groups to help people living with homelessness. With many in her groups echoing the same wish: “I want opportunity, not a hand-out”, and thousands of art groups around the country facing the same problem, she had to do something. In 2013, she started ArtLifting with her brother, Spencer.

How does it work?

ArtLifting provides a platform where selected artists living with homelessness or disabilities can sell their work and make money. After an artist has applied and is selected to join ArtLifting, they can begin selling original paintings, prints and products to clients around the US.

With artists keeping 55% of sales on their work, 44% goes towards ArtLifting’s growth so it can help more people. The remaining 1% of their income goes to a national fund to provide art supplies to art groups around the US.

Does it work?

Yes. In its first week, the business’s first four artists managed to earn thousands of dollars in return for their artwork. With art selling from $350 per piece to tens of thousands of dollars per piece, the entreprise’s clients include individuals wanting to decorate their homes as well as cooperate giants including Staples, Google and Starbucks.

Liz Powers said, “I’ve seen artists secure housing, gain confidence and overcome obstacles through the sale and celebration of their art. My goal is to make their invisible talents visible and by doing so, change stereotypes. “

The Future

Currently, ArtLifting has grown from 4 artists to 115 in under five years and operates in 19 different states. Impressive, the company prioritises sustainable change and growth- with the invitation always open for new artists to apply.

To conclude, ArtLifting aims to change stereotypes about people living with homelessness and/ or disabilities. Providing them a platform to sell their work to individuals and companies across the US, they’re better able to piece their lives back together.


Annie Lennon

Writer with an insatiable curiosity for people, facts and places. Currently interested in learning more about making our way towards a blue economy.