Eleven year old Olivia Bouler, upset about the ongoing industrial/ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, wanted to help in some way. An aspiring ornithologist, she wrote to the Audubon Society, pointing out that she is a “decent drawer” and asking if it was possible to sell some of her bird images to help raise money for relief efforts.
This proved to be impractical, but she began to give away her drawings to those who donated to wildlife recovery.
AOL, the huge internet service company, got behind her, hosting Olivia’s Help the Gulf Region Wildlife Project and making a substantial contribution in her name.
The project has been a hit, the original AOL story raising $20,000 in three days.
Bouler had to cap the offer at 500 original drawings (I don’t know if that’s been reached), after which contributors get limited edition prints.
Bouler’s drawings are on that wonderful borderline between childlike exuberance and the beginnings of sophistication and the understanding of traditional artistic principles.
She is at the age at which some of us are told we have “talent” and are encouraged to continue; and the rest, mistakenly believing the convention in our society that only “artists” continue to draw in adulthood, are subtly encouraged to abandon the practice.
In addition to being encouraged to explore her artistic inclinations, Bouler has already experienced something of the impact that art can have as power for social change.