Arts For Africa

A teacher in Malawi receives a box with 20 pencils. What is the first thing she does with them?

Answer: Break them all in half so each of her forty students has something to write with.

African classrooms brim with bright young children bursting to learn and make and do. But even basic classroom supplies are critically lacking throughout many African school systems. When artist and activist Karen Friedland, founder of Arts for Africa, visited Malawi, Namibia, and South Africa in 2013, she met schoolchildren just like those she taught at home in New York City. She saw their joy in dancing and singing, and heard the longing in their voices when she talked with them about the art she made.

Why couldn’t they paint too?

Of course they could! Back in the U.S., Friedland teamed with education psychologist Shayna Kalish and the globally recognized nonprofit organization, Books For Africa, to establish a new initiative: Arts for Africa.

Our mission: Bring basic art supplies found in American classrooms to our partner classrooms in Africa.


Your donation will help put art supplies into the hands of students, providing the joy of creative self-expression!

Your generous donations will go directly to the purchase of paints, pencils, crayons, and paper. Their teachers will partner with Arts for Africa on an arts curriculum in their classes.

You can make a difference! 100% of monetary donations go towards purchasing art supplies for African classrooms!


Do you remember the thrill of gazing into a new box of crayons, how it felt to hold color in your hand? How it felt to take pencil to paper for a doodle or drawing? Or the joy of wielding a paintbrush? Then select art supply gifts on our Amazon wish list. Or if you prefer to make a monetary donation, it will go for other needed supplies.  

You can feel a direct connection to the African students when your gift is automatically sent to our Atlanta warehouse, and then, on to its African destination. Many items on the Amazon wish list have free shipping to our Atlanta warehouse. The cost of shipment to Africa is completely covered by Books For Africa, so 100% of your donations go to funding art supplies and art education in Africa, with zero administrative costs. Selecting your donations on Amazon is the next best thing to showing up at the school with a truckload of gift bags!

If you prefer to make a monetary donation, your funds will go towards the completion of our wishlist. A targeted venture of Books For Africa, Arts For Africa is a BFA subsidiary with a joint mission to enhance education in Africa. Books For Africa has earned its 4th consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, and is a "Gold Participant" on the GuideStar Exchange. These ratings, the highest awarded by both organizations, show a great ability to efficiently manage and grow organizational finances. Since Arts for Africa is part of Books for Africa, a registered 501 (c)(3) charity, your contribution is fully tax deductible!

Your donation directly brings the joy of creative self-expression to children in Africa—one of the world’s great birthplaces of artistry. Won’t you bring color, beauty, form and imagination into the hands of a waiting child?