May 1, 2014 5:19 pm

Buy Art Not Kids raises money for exploited children in Cambodia

Founder of Buy Art Not Kids Rachelle Kearns works on an upcoming piece to raise funds for children in need.

Natalie Quinlan/Global Toronto

TORONTO–For the past two years, Rachelle Kearns has dedicated her life to rescuing Cambodian children from being sold into sex slavery.  As a result of her passion and desire to help, Kearns created Buy Art Not Kids.

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“Buy Art Not Kids was an idea that was inspired by a friend who basically went from having a successful career in finance, to working full-time on the ground in Cambodia,” Kearns said.  “It was one story in particular that really hit us on her blog.  We read a story of a three-year-old girl that was very much at risk of being exploited and at that time, I turned to my three-year-old daughter and I knew I had to do something.”

A number of Canadian artists have joined Kearns in her mission, including Marjolyn van der Hart.

“I wanted to make a change with my work and Rachelle came into my life and basically said: Let’s do something with our work and our network, and create an event that will help children,” van der Hart said.

The Buy Art Not Kids event was held April 4th and featured 31 Canadian artists and 14 senior students from Havergal College where the auction fundraiser took place.  The combined total of funds raised over the past two years have been more than $110,000, with every penny going to support Ratanak’s Trafficking Prevention Program.

“The thing that I see most clearly is that art itself cannot make change, but art changes people and it’s people that change the world,” Kearns explained.  “And so Buy Art Not Kids is a celebration of that call to action where we showcase art that inspires.”

Art buyer and supporter of the cause, Laura Dobrowolski, was moved by the pieces she saw too and couldn’t help but give back by purchasing one of Kearns paintings.

“When I hang it up, it will be a reminder of the part that I got to play in helping save some girls lives,” Dobrowolski said.

Donations to this cause can be made to the Buy Art Not Kids website, where every donation will also receive a tax receipt.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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