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 Jose Etcheverry, York University Senator and Director of the International Renewable Energy Academy. Managing Editor Hannah Chew and Jose Etcheverry discuss his background and vision.
What is your background/role with Arts Help?
We met in a UN event at the City of Toronto in the pre-pandemic times…we saw affinity and so many synergies then that we have been friends and partners to achieve change ever since that awesome first meeting and I'm now Chief Environmental & Sustainability Advisor.
How do you see the relationship between art and global activism?
Art is what animates global activism. Without Art, global activism will wither and die. In short, using plants as an analogy, Art is the sun rays and water that gives life to global activism and other relevant human endeavours.
How does art play a role in your daily life?
Art nurtures my life, it is where I express myself freely without the bonds of reason and the constraints of reality. Art gives me joy and keeps me focused and motivated as an agent of change.
What is your favorite piece of art? Why?
Anything done by the artists of my own family. I belong to a creative family that is lucky to have artists, designers and architects among us. However, one of my favourite pieces of world-art not associated with my family is the Yellow Cow (Gelbe Kuh), which was created by Franz Marc in 1911.
What is a common misconception about art you would like to correct?
That art is a luxury and therefore, art education is a waste of public money. Nothing can be further from reality… art unites very different people worldwide and art education is a prerequisite for becoming a well-adjusted human (one who becomes part of the solutions not of the problems).
Of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which one do you relate to most?
Most people that know me would quickly assume I would answer UN SDG #13 or #7.
However, if I have to be reductionist and choose only one, it would have to be #1, as ending poverty is a moral imperative for the entire human race. UN SDG #1 is also a key guideline for achieving all the other UN SDGs and for the entire world to finally become a caring planet.
How can we help push forward the UN SDGs in our everyday lives?
A good step is to include the crucial “A” in STEM education worldwide so it can become STEAM (Science, Technology, Art, Engineering and Mathematics), then we can harness STEAM education focused on all the UN SDGs as a strategy to reconstruct the world during and after the pandemic.
Any final advice for young artists and activists?
Be determined and collaborative, life is a marathon of relays that includes a diversity of partners and it is not an individualistic short spring. Stay focused and share generously with others as real positive change, like all transcendental art, takes a lot of time, unusual collaborations, and stamina to create.