Charitable Choices: Joyce Fournier, founder of Art for Peace

Art for Peace is a fundraiser in support of the escalating crisis in Ukraine, providing families with urgent humanitarian assistance. We spoke with Joyce Fournier, founder, to find out more about them.

Art for Peace

Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.

Art for Peace is a fundraiser that I have created via CanadaHelps.org, in support of the CANADA-UKRAINE FOUNDATION who are responding to the escalating crisis in Ukraine, providing families with urgent humanitarian assistance. I am a Toronto-based professional artist wanting to help and make a difference in any way I can and so I am Gifting my original artworks in return for Direct Donations to the above.

What problem does it aim to solve?

The invasion of Ukraine has driven millions of people out of the country and the crisis has stunned humanitarian workers with its scale and speed. Being horrified by what is happening in Ukraine, and my grandmother having come from Ukraine, I felt I had to do something to help. I believe that Gifting my art for Direct Donations will give people the nudge they need to make that donation. In fact, I have been told just that by my current donors. It is a win-win situation for the donor. They make their donation, they get an immediate tax receipt, and they acquire an original artwork of their choice from the collection. Most importantly money is raised to help those in desperate need in Ukraine.

When did you start/join it?

I started the campaign approximately March 14, 2022, and it is scheduled to run for several months.

What made you want to get involved?

I am a former healthcare worker and first responder who worked for 15 years in several Emergency wards in Toronto, where I was faced with trauma on a daily basis. Seeing the suffering faced by the Ukrainian people made me angry, and horrified and I felt helpless. I have even considered going to Ukraine myself to assist in some way. After making donations to several charities who are on the ground in Ukraine, I decided to set up my own campaign and prompt donations by offering my work as a gift to donors in return for their direct donation.

What was the situation like when you started?

The idea of GIFTING art (rather than selling it and then donating part of the sale to charity) seemed quite novel to most people. As it happens art shows have been stalled due to Covid and therefore I had the inventory. I would rather give the art away for an important cause than have it sitting in the studio. Every artwork can feed a family, get them warm clothing, medicine, water etc. I am so thrilled when someone donates to Art for Peace because I know that every little bit helps.

How has it changed since?

It is still early days and we are at just over $1000 of our goal of $5000. That said, I have enough artwork to significantly increase that goal if I can get the word out. The artworks currently listed have a retail value of $150 to $1500 depending on size and I am gifting them for Direct Donations of $75 to $400. I am a one-person operation and so much time has been spent on the website, keeping the artworks update, deliveries, and posting flyers.

What more needs to be done?

I need help with getting the word out. So far I have used IG ads which have resulted in a few donations, I have flyers up in several areas of Toronto, and in store windows and have had help from a few groups to spread the word.

With the increased response, I have larger works that can be added to the collection and they will have a higher donation amount attached. So far, few media outlets have yet to respond to my requests for a ‘feel good story’ which would certainly peak interest.

How can our readers help?

Your readers can help by spreading the word about Art for Peace at CanadaHelps.org and/or telling influential people about it. ie. corporations. All of this legwork takes time

Do you have any events coming up?

Possibly a pop-up art event if I can secure a venue TBD May / June

Where can we follow you?

Canada HelpsInstagramFacebookWebsite

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

The daily bread food bank