Putting the art in charity

By Teodor GeorgievGilles Kayser

Although small, Luxembourg’s art scene has crossed borders hand in hand with philanthropy. Locally based associations What Water and Art2Cure have funded access to water in Cameroon and brain research, enabling collaboration between the University of Luxembourg and Princeton. All this was made possible by selling art.

Every society throughout history has shown proof of artistic expression. For the most part, it reminds us that there is another facet of life, different from our material wants and needs. One that allows self-reflection and a break from the rigid structures of day-to-day life. However, in today’s world, there is a way for art to have a concrete and visible impact on people’s lives. That comes from its intersection with philanthropy. And although the art scene in Luxembourg is proportionate to the country’s size, its effects can be felt across continents.

What Water, an association originating in Luxembourg has, in 2022, funded the building of 6 water access points in Cameroon and has earmarked 21 similar projects for 2023. It was founded on the principle of selling art to raise funds, with half of the proceeds going to the artists and the other half to What Water. The organisation allocates 75 percent of its share of the yield to finance the projects and the rest is used to cover the costs of running its activities.

According to Unicef, just 66 per cent of Cameroon’s residents have access to basic drinking water, which it defines as "having access to an improved source, provided collection time is not more than 30 minutes for a round trip".

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