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Students in Ethiopia spend time creating.
Image: coloredpencilproject via Instagram

There is something so heartwarming, and even inspiring, about art created by a child. When young people draw, paint, color and create, it often illustrates the unbridled imagination and dreams they possess.

Scholarly studies have proven that art can be a critical tool in childhood development, and there are groups committed to making the arts more accessible to children as a way to cultivate creativity and self-expression. One such organization is The Colored Pencil Project, a non-profit group that’s mission is to improve the lives of children by giving them access to art. Based in Boston, MA, The Colored Pencil Project (CPP) supports local children, as well as thousands from countries around the world.

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 12.44.34 PMAccording to its mission, CPP was created “to increase the access of art supplies to children in developing countries by distributing art supplies, specifically colored pencils and paper, and providing art curriculum to children in various orphanages, schools and rural villages.” The organization’s founders and volunteers know that art is an incredibly important tool to help support children developmentally. CPP explains, “art is the perfect way for children to communicate their experiences, fears, and most importantly their dreams,” and that providing children with art supplies gives them the chance to express themselves and examine the world creatively.

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Art supplies ready to be donated.
Image: coloredpencilproject via Instagram

The Colored Pencil Project’s virtual art gallery is a beautiful demonstration of the ways in which children perceive the world, their own lives, and their dreams. CPP says,  “By bringing the dreams belonging to these children back to the United States, in the form of pictures, The Colored Pencil Project hopes to foster global understanding and goodwill.” To date, the organization has touched the lives of hundreds and sometimes thousands of children in South Africa, India, Haiti, Colombia, Peru, Cambodia, and right in their New England backyard.

CPP’s primary goal is to increase children’s accessibility to art supplies in developing countries. The organization does this by distributing art materials and coordinating creative workshops for children in schools, orphanages, and rural towns. Though The Colored Pencil Project has given thousands of children the opportunity to create and learn through art, their mission will not be complete until art is made more accessible to children everywhere. CPP hopes to inspire future arts-based humanitarianism and social change, one colored pencil at a time.

Visit The Colored Pencil Project’s official website to learn more.

Featured Image: coloredpencilproject via Instagram