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 Evania Henkewich, marketing professional focused on luxury fashion and tech brands. Managing Editor Hannah Chew and Evania Henkewich discuss her background and activism.

What is your background/role with Arts Help?

I am joining as an Advisory Board member. My background is in marketing, with over ten years of experience at the intersection of fashion and technology. My most meaningful campaigns to date have been those supporting corporate social responsibility. These many strands of experience have brought me to where I am now and have helped me articulate my true passion and purpose. I believe that the power of art, combined with technology, can empower humanity to drive social change.

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

Art unites and inspires people globally. It evokes a unique emotion in each individual, yet can convey a singular message to the world. I see the relationship between art and global activism as a very genuine and creative way to firstly educate, and then engage people to make a difference in our world’s glaring challenges at this time. Any one of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, (which expand across education, health, sustainability and social protection), can be effectively communicated and engaging through creative expression. I believe that this creativity inspires resiliency as it relates to the 17 UN SDGs.

How does art play a role in your daily life?

As an advocate for its healing properties, art plays a very important role in my daily life. Art can be leveraged as an instrument of healing. Art engagement has been proven to help in alleviating anxiety, depression and stress, among many mental and physical health challenges. Creative expression and observing art is incredibly empowering for an individual as it creates a connection between the mind and body.

What is your favourite piece of art? Why?

This is a very tough question! For me, art is so engaging, inspiring and empowering that each moment shared with it, or experiencing it can make a certain piece my favourite. However, with that said, I have always loved a painting by Canadian artist Alex Colville entitled Pacific. Many of Colville’s paintings suggest a moment that is to come or has passed and I appreciate the tension and anticipation this painting brings. This moment of anticipation evokes an excitement and curious energy in me every time I look at it! I also love this piece visually.

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

That you need to be ‘good’ at it to create, or that art needs to be ‘understood’. Anyone and everyone can engage with art in the form of creating, experiencing, or both. Art isn’t necessarily to be understood, each individual can experience it in their own unique way. Referencing again this connection that art can create between the body and the mind, I encourage everyone to openly experience this connection, remembering there is no right or wrong way to create or interpret art. Whatever it makes you think and feel is such a unique and beautiful experience for that individual to look inward on.

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

All of the 17 goals resonate with me, as they all aim to promote health, education and sustainability globally. They truly are all of equal importance. However, I feel most personally connected to Good Health and Wellbeing as I believe this is foundational globally for people to be able to firstly realize that change is required, and to be mentally and physically healthy in order to contribute. That said, all of the goals promote well being for our human race are incredibly important to me. Quality education being made available to everyone is a very close second. Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; truly all the goals that are related to empowering the individual and making our world a safe, fair and healthy place to live in.

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

Educating ourselves on what the 17 UN SDGs are, and finding day to day ways that we can contribute. Whether it's introducing a recycling program into your home, or finding ways to contribute to your community, I encourage everyone to choose 1 goal and commit to three ways they can contribute to driving this goal forward in their daily lives.

Any final advice for young artists and activists?

Authenticity is key, standing up for what you believe in isn’t always easy, but it is guaranteed to be the best route for you. Also leading with the notion that the human race is on the same team globally, meaning activism should spread messages of strength, hope and positivity while it strives to impact change.

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