Art Without a Roof Sells T-Shirts Made by the Homeless

Art Without a Roof

Art Without a Roof is a social business venture dedicated to helping improve the lives of the disadvantaged by marketing artwork to benefit causes.

The company, founded last year in San Diego, currently focuses on the homeless but plans to benefit other charity groups as well.

Under the Art Without a Roof model, the company partners with disadvantaged artists to fund charity organizations with proceeds from the sales of apparel, such as T-Shirts, art prints, and other items featuring the artist’s original work.

The products are available for purchase on Art Without a Roof’s website, with 7 percent of the purchase price of each item going to the artist and 10 percent to fund a charity organization of the artist’s choice. An additional 7 percent goes toward educational scholarships for the artist, who also is paid between $150 and $350 up front. Check out the image below to get an idea of the merchandise featuring an artist’s work:

Art Without a Roof

Matthew Wayne, one of the co-founders at Art Without a Roof, says there are about 20,000 homeless youths in the San Diego area. He recently told Mashable:

“San Diego has this amazing structure in place for homeless youth, because there’s so many.”

Art Without a Roof is now partnered with San Diego’s Monarch School, a partnership program between the San Diego County Office of Education and the nonprofit Monarch School Project that offers the homeless classes, healthcare, clothing and food, among other things, according to its website.

One artist of note working with Art Without a Roof is Inocente, whose artwork is featured on the print above. She spent nine years of her life among San Diego’s homeless and attended the Monarch School. A short film named for her won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

Wayne explained:

“We saw Inocente’s video in a social enterprise class and thought, ‘There are other disadvantaged youth who are amazing artists like her, and have amazing stories. We should make a platform to get their stories out to the world’.”

Another artist featured with Art Without a Roof is Andrea Chacon. Check out the video the company produced profiling this artist:

The company raised more than $25,000 last year through a Kickstarter campaign. Art Without a Roof also received seed funding from the University of San Diego’s Social Innovation Challenge. And the company got support from San Diego State University’s business incubator at the Zahn Innovation Center, the official San Diego State University website reports.

Art Without a Roof, which has six staff members and about 700 customers today, also uses recyclable packaging and makes its shirts in America.

Upcoming plans include working with veteran artists through a local art education organization. Art Without a Roof will soon expand its merchandise offering to include additional products such as socks, iPhone cases, and bags.

Images: Art Without a Roof

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Ed Lieber Ed Lieber is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. He is a journalist and marketing copywriter with 20 years of experience writing, editing and managing for print and digital vehicles.

One Reaction
  1. It’s a nice way to help the homeless. More than just giving them another day to live, you give them a reason to live and that to me is more important.