Art activism comes in all shapes and sizes. Today we meet fellow community member May Porter who found a way to combine her desire to serve with her interest and love of the arts.


Hi, my name is Carrie Brummer and I help artists like you refine your skill and develop your unique artist voice. Today on Artist Strong I’m sharing the story of May’s partnership with a hospital to inspire you to think of the many possibilities that can come from creating your art!


May found herself re-engaged with her art after taking a class with creative spirit Tracy Verdugo. She really appreciated the techniques as well as the happy, colorful style conveyed in Tracy’s work and teachings.

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Artwork by May Porter

While she enjoyed creating her own work, she also felt called to create in the spirit of a larger purpose.

I believe that’s part of why she applied for a scholarship and won a spot in my artist mastermind program The Circle. In the program, I encourage each artist to look inside themselves to figure out what they really want to do with their art and why. Defining success is a personal, individual experience but so many outside sources can influence our perspective, and fuel our inner critic.

A cancer survivor, May decided it would be fun and rewarding for patients coming in for treatment to re-engage with some colorful play themselves! She arranged to bring a canvas and her paint materials to the reception area of the Cancer Centre and encouraged cancer patients to make playful marks on the canvas. Once this was done, May brought the artwork home to refine the work.

You can see May and the artwork created in concert with local cancer patients here.

May also decided to donate this artwork to Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation to raise money for a cancer fund.

There are several reasons I wanted to share May’s story with you:

  1. I love how she was inspired by the work of another artist and converted it into her own project, with her own special and personal aim for the artwork. This is part of how we begin to find and develop our unique artist voice.
  2. Making change is about creating ripples. I constantly hear and think myself, “I’m only one person, what can I do?” May’s project wasn’t this huge, multi-person, multiple artwork affair. She chose to do this activity on a scale that worked for her. And I’m pretty sure we all believe this activity had a positive impact on the many people who helped her paint that canvas. YOU can and do make a difference.
  3. This is one concrete project idea that can get you thinking today: is there something I care about? How could I partner with an organization or cause I care about?

One way to combine your desire to effect change and make art is to partner with a charity or non-profit organization.

And let’s be clear here: you can give in so many ways, and earn money from your art if this is also important to you. (There should be no shame in your need to earn a living from your work!). May decided to donate this one work to a charity cause, not all the work she creates.

You could donate a single artwork, you could give a percentage of the auction price or sale of an artwork, or a series of works, to your cause.

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Remember: it’s not just about the art.

Making the art gives people cause to talk about the issue you care about. Conversation is a powerful tool for change. Your art can be the starting point for difficult and sometimes awkward conversations.

May not only participated in my program The Circle, she also participated in my free challenge called #BeCreativelyCourageous. Coming in the month of October it’s a 30 days about dreaming big, setting goals, and finding the path to your personal definition of artistic success.

If you are an art activist who needs structure to build your work, or an artist looking to find your unique style and voice, this challenge is for you. Sign up below this video today to be sure you don’t miss out!

If you want to see more of May Porter’s lovely work, you can visit her on her FB Page May Porter or email her

Be Creatively Courageous: Describe a cause important to you. Let’s brainstorm together: how can you take inspiration from May to combine your art and your desire for social change?


Note: Challenge is no longer open.