Arts Help is an award-winning organization demonstrating that art is an essential vehicle for social change around the globe. With our advisory team's aid, a selection of industry experts and renowned individuals, Arts Help cultivates collaborative partnerships and projects with organizations like the United Nations, York University and various Art collectives. New advisors are nominated and selected every year based on their dedication to global change and community impact.

The 2020-2021 Advisory Board includes Daniel Kroft, President and CEO of Giant Containers. Editorial Coordinator Hannah Chew and Daniel Kroft discuss his background and commitment to change below.

What is your background/role with Arts Help?

This year I was honoured to join the Arts Help team as an advisor! I've been assisting with partnership opportunities and look forward to working with the amazing team. My work at Giant Containers lends me a unique perspective on sustainability. In accordance with Arts Help’s environmental initiatives, I try to bring focus on the waste and unsustainable practices in our industry. Giant Containers also launches a number of think-tank like initiatives, where I hope to inspire dialogue and innovation around climate change through our not-for-profit, Giant IDEAS.

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What is Giant Ideas?

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How do you see the relationship between art and global activism?

I believe art has the power of communicating complex topics and expressions that people struggle to articulate with words. Global activism requires diverse perspectives, and art provides a common language of storytelling. Numbers and statistics tell one story, but art taps into a universal emotional response. This shared response is vital to cultivating a unified global community ready to push forward social change.

How does art play a role in your daily life?

As a creative, I am constantly inspired by art. Art plays a large role in my personal and work-life at Giant Containers. Professionally, there is an artistic element to design that I encounter every day. Personally, I am heavily influenced by media from music, fashion, food, photography, and design that affects my day-to-day mood and truly inspires me. Art comes in every form, and it always pushes me to reassess my worldview and find new inspiration.

What is your favourite piece of art? Why?

I don't know if there is one specific favourite piece of art. However, I own two original Hugh Holland photographs taken in the 1970s in Los Angeles that I absolutely love. His pieces are all about skateboarders and skating culture, something that has become a staple in Los Angeles. Holland is able to capture movement and adrenaline through still images, and his photos are absolutely captivating.

What is a common misconception about art you would like to correct?

A common misconception about art is that art is only visual. Art at its core is anything creative and imaginative. To me, art manifests in every discipline, including graphic design, photography, painting, music, fashion, and food. Art can be touched, worn, cooked, felt, heard and seen. I don’t believe there is a limit to what defines art because art is a deeply personal experience that tells stories and conveys complex emotions. It surrounds us in everyday life, and tells vital truths about the world in a way that words and numbers cannot convey. I encourage everyone to seek out the art of their everyday lives.

Of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which do you relate to most?

I'd have to say #13, Climate Action. As the founding member of Project Climate Change, I've been fortunate enough to work and learn a lot about one of our greatest challenges we face through Dr. Jose Etcheverry of York University. Together with Jose and his team at the faculty of environmental studies, Giant Containers is building out the world's first Climate Solutions Park, an inspirational hub for experiential learning, cutting-edge research, networking and innovation opportunities. We have also done a lot of research into the shipping industry, and have begun planning and implementing more sustainable practices. There is a tremendous amount of waste generated by global shipping, and I consider the development of sustainable practice a priority.

How can we help push forward the UN SDGs in our everyday lives?

We need to act now and understand that every aspect of the 17 Sustainable Global Goals must be addressed. The SDGs may seem like abstract goals, but if we prioritize and implement global practices, we will reach them. We must teach future generations the importance of the SDGs and how their development will impact our planet. Global cooperation is necessary to achieve a better world for everyone and we need to be mindful and respectful.

Any final advice for young artists and activists?

Make sure your message is heard or seen, and do whatever it takes because your voice is essential. It can be daunting to take on global change, but everything you do will help a bigger effort in bettering the world. Work with integrity, passion, and respect and the rest will fall into place.

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