Social Impact: Supporting Women
We work primarily with women from the Latinx community who are impacted by systemic inequalities. Using weaving and fiber arts as a vehicle, ArteSana supports women in many ways including: opportunity to earn a paycheck, building a supportive community, leadership development, financial literacy workshops (coming soon!), and benefiting from access to the therapeutic qualities of fiber arts as an activity that is effective in countering PTSD and depression.
In Holyoke there is a high level of need; upwards of 30% of the population lives below the poverty line and this is concentrated disproportionately among the 50% of city residents who are Latinx. The need grows daily as more families evacuate from Puerto Rico and settle in Holyoke after Hurricane Maria; according to the Director of Holyoke’s welcome center for evacuees, Enlace de Familias, more than 1,800 people have come to Holyoke since the hurricane thus far.
Environmental Impact: Style Sustainably
In today’s ‘fast fashion’ world, clothing and household items are sold to consumers so cheaply that they are basically disposable. This creates immense waste, and perpetuates a dangerous cycle; the fashion industry is one of the most polluting and unethical industries in the word. This has to change. We want to help accelerate that change, starting with ourselves: equitable practices and sustainability are our foundation. Upcycling discarded clothing items that could have otherwise ended up in a landfill is a solid place to start (only 1 of every 10 items donated to second hand shops are sold, the rest are sent to landfills or overseas!).
Sustainable Change Through Social Enterprise
ArteSana is committed to the social enterprise model; our goal is to one day have enough revenue from selling our handwoven products to support the entire organization. While most social enterprises with similar models to ours make their products in underdeveloped countries, we think it makes sense to make and sell our products here in the USA, firmly rooted in our local community of Holyoke MA. We take in donations of tee shirts and make them into the economic and educational opportunities that we need. We call it alchemy - tee alchemy.
Donated tee shirts turn into our beautiful handmade products such as throw pillow covers and table runners, which in turn generate income for our community members and support our other free community offerings. We've built a community around weaving, a community that uplifts us and strengthens us, where each person's unique talents and skills are valued and incorporated into our collective task of making the changes we want for ourselves, our communities, and our world.