'On The Streets' is a project with the basis of raising awareness for homelessness in Manchester and all of the UK. I will be completing 6 paintings in Manchester City Centre over an 18-week period, starting 1st March 2021. After I've completed the paintings, I will be putting on an exhibition (free to the public) with the goal of selling all of the paintings. My goal is to raise £10,000 from the sales of the paintings and donate it all directly to 'Don’t Walk Past', who are a self-funded outreach group that provide support to the homeless people of Manchester: Monday to Friday.
Why is this project important?
This project is very important to me as I see the imbalance between wealth and poverty in the UK as extremely upsetting and to see so many people having to live without a home is so unjust. Especially during the winter (and COVID-19), living on the streets is even more of a fight for survival than usual. We take so many things for granted that are absolute luxuries relevant to what many people don't have: food in the fridge, a heated home, a bed to sleep on, access to a toilet and a shower. These simple things should be everybody's right. In addition to these things, homeless people are subject to a side of society that most of us don’t experience. It’s known that homeless people experience violence on the streets and also feel that they are not a part of the world around them. Aside from the facilities that homeless people lack, the lifestyle they have to endure is extremely damaging to their mental and physical health.
Throughout this project, I want to raise awareness for the homeless crisis that is happening, not just in Manchester, in all of the UK and across the world. I hope that people will gain a new perspective and understand that this is an issue that can be solved, if we give it the attention it deserves. With the £10,000 that I aim to raise for 'Don’t Walk Past', this money will really help this self-funded group flourish and be able to provide even better support for the homeless people in Manchester.
Who Am I?
I'm Ben van de Wouw (aka. Fntsywrld), a 23-year-old artist. I recently quit my full-time job in order to pursue my passion for art with nothing holding me back. After I quit, I immediately began planning and developing this project. I was initially planning it in order to apply for a Project Grant, from the Arts Council of England, only to discover that fundraising projects are not eligible for application. As the end result of this project is to sell the created paintings, to donate directly to 'Don’t Walk Past', I have to source the funds for this project elsewhere. I was initially disheartened as I was thinking "How am I going to be able to fund this project?", which leads me to creating this crowdfunding campaign.
This project is definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, but I really believe in it and the good that will come of it. I absolutely love creating art and there's nothing else that I want to be doing with my life - aside from getting help for people who need it most. I plan for my artistic career to be a philanthropic one, so that I can help people less fortunate get the help they so desperately need.
Here's some of my paintings from the past couple of years:
Where is the money going?
The money for this project is split into a few different areas. Firstly, I will be painting 4-7 days per week and working on other elements of the project in the time that I’m not actually painting. As I will be working full time on this project, part of the funds raised will go toward supporting me whilst the project is carried out. The money will cover the cost of the materials I’ll be using to complete the paintings as well. This includes paint, canvases, brushes and other necessary equipment. I will also be able to cover the cost of storing the paintings locally, so that I have ease of access for painting in the city centre.
After I’ve completed the public paintings, I will be creating an exhibition with Hugo Mould, an up-and-coming gallerist. Hugo has self-funded a few of his own exhibitions in London, as well as ‘Black Monday’, which was situated in Manchester in January 2020. Costs for the exhibition include renting a space for 8 days for the exhibition, hiring furniture, hiring people to help set up the exhibition, hiring vans to move the paintings etc. The exhibition will be completely free of charge and open for everybody to enjoy. Members of 'Don’t Walk Past' will also be at the exhibition, giving out food, resources and advice to the homeless. The exhibition is estimated to be in July 2021, in which hopefully we will be in a more eased situation relating to Coronavirus.
To make sure that this project and the exhibition gets the right exposure, some of the budget will be used for marketing and promotional campaigns. This is really important so that more exposure can be shed on the cause that this project is in support of: homelessness. The more attention this project gets, the better the opportunity the paintings have to be sold to reach the donation goal of £10,000. This £10,000 will be donated directly to 'Don’t Walk Past' and will benefit the lives of so many people who are currently sleeping rough in Manchester. As 'Don’t Walk Past' are a self-funded group, they are using their own money to supply food, clothing and other resources to the homeless. In addition, they are supported by generous members of the public through donations - and this donation would be a massive contribution. Not only do ‘Don’t Walk Past’ help with physical things such as food and clothing, they also support the homeless with compassion and understanding through conversation. This is often overlooked as a necessity, but I believe it to be just as important as the other routes of support.
In conclusion, from the £15,000 goal of this campaign, not only will I be completing this 5-month project and generating a huge amount of awareness and support for the homeless. I will also be raising a further £10,000 as a result, that will be directly supporting the people who are in a less fortunate position than most. This project is also a huge stepping stone for me personally and I’m full of hope that it will bring more opportunities to help those in need. The awareness that this project will create is massive and I hope for it to inspire others to represent people who are commonly generalised and cast aside. Everybody deserves recognition and compassion, no matter the socio-economic position they are in.
I am so grateful for anything that you are able to contribute to bringing this project to life. I understand that I am asking for a lot of money for this project and I hope that you know how much it means to me and how much of a difference we can make together.
To keep up to date with this project, you can follow me on Instagram @fntsywrld.
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