Editorial illustration for NTEN’s Change Journal

NTEN March '14 Change Journal cover illustration

Years of focusing the content of this blog on charitable causes and organizations has resulted in many wonderful friendships with nonprofit professionals. Sometimes those friendships have led to new work, which is the case with this editorial illustration for the cover of the Nonprofit Technology Network’s Change Journal (“A Quarterly Journal for Nonprofit Leaders”). The full issue isn’t available until later this month, but you’re in the camp of lucky folks who can get a sneak preview here.

I’ll be creating the cover artwork for all four of the 2014 issues, so why not sign up to receive each of them, for free no less!

Art for CASA, Kingsways & Great Queens St


7.5″x11″ ink on paper, $40 (plus shipping via standard mail outside of the UK)
10% of art sales now through April 30 donated to Court Appointed Special Advocates.

London scenes for CASA


7.5″x8″ ink on paper

I’ve realized while settling into my new home in London that the local scenes are inspiring me to draw and paint faster than I’m keeping up with service organizations.   Although it’s invigorating to be painting urban street scenes again, I won’t leave out the charitable component of my work.   So, while I’m painting and finding my footing here, I will be making contributions from art sales to Court Appointed Special Advocates, one of my all time favorite nonprofit organizations.

CASA is always looking for volunteers to advocate for abused children engaged in the legal system while a safe home is identified for them.     With over 1,000 local community offices throughout the US, there’s bound to be a CASA office near you.   I volunteered for CASA and would be happy to answer any questions about my experience, just email me at ashley.cecil(at)gmail.com.

Supporting wildlife conservation

36″ x 60″ oil on canvas

For 114 years, the Wildlife Conversation Society has endeavored to preserve wildlife and wildlife habitats around the world through science, wildlife park management, environmental conservation and education.

Their earliest accomplishment was helping the American bison population recoup in the Western Plains.   Today, they manage about 500 conservation projects in over 60 countries and more than 200 million acres of protected lands around the world, employing more than 200 scientists.   WCS also manages the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, which includes five New York City “living institutions.” These parks reach 4 million visitors each year and assist in educating millions of schoolchildren in science and conservation issues.

The WCS website is equipped with templates for wildlife supporters to use in writing their congressman/woman about conservation issues.   You can also donate online to support their “commitment to protect 25 percent of the world’s biodiversity.”   That’s no small undertaking, for which I’m certain your contribution is greatly appreciated.

Ps- Take a look at another animal welfare group, Paw-Talk, that graciously republished this post.   Thanks for helping to spread the word.

‘Women of Mass Construction,’ Stephanie & Aaliyah


11″ x 14″ oil on masonite board

Gallery caption:

Project Women (now the Family Scholar House) provides housing to single mothers who are experiencing homelessness and supports them in obtaining a baccalaureate degree, thereby enabling them to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their children.


Although Aaliyah coming into this world is the best thing that ever happened to Stephanie, being a committed single mother left her unable to give adequate attention to her own needs, specifically her education.   Without her college degree, Stephanie knew finding employment that would afford them stable, sufficient income was not a reality.   Project Women has provided them with housing and given Stephanie the support she needs to pursue her degree full-time.

Stephanie’s quote in the painting:

I began to believe that this was a blessing designed specifically for me.   I am now in an environment that understands the importance of education and does everything possible to help keep me on track while I pursue my dreams.

Champions 4 Her 2009 in T-minus 10 days

For months, eleven artists have been creating beautiful street paintings designs with clients and staff from the nonprofit partners of the Norton Women’s Pavilion Champions 4 Her Festival.   These designs will be translated onto the sidewalk of Witherspoon at Water Front Park the morning of Saturday, June 20th, which coincides with a 5k walk/run.

Last year’s event and street paintings were a huge success.   The goal was to raise $100,000 for the participating nonprofit partners, but instead over $170,000 was allocated to the organizations.

Join us this year to see the street paintings unfold at your feet, participate as a walker/runner, and check out all of the educational/health booths.   You can register here for the 5k.


And thank you to the artists for all of their hard work and service:

‘Women of Mass Construction,’ Joi Boyd

11″ x 14″ oil on masonite board.
See all artwork available for sale.

Gallery caption:

Women 4 Women envisions our community as one of the best places for girls, women and their families to live and work.   This vision guides our mission, which is to dedicate ourselves to improving the health and economic well-being of women and girls by increasing awareness, expanding resources and creating solutions to strengthen our community.

Joi’s experience with Women 4 Women has been specific to their “Finance 4 Her” financial education program.   Joi started as a student, learning to more effectively manage her budget and save.   She now serves as an instructor/volunteer financial coach for the program.   Joi teaches other women how to gain the same financial independence she has established by securing their own finances.   She’s seen improvement in their quality life, as well as her own, by getting out of financial ruts, even while on the tightest budget.

Joi’s quote in the painting:

I’m going to start with this much and end with this much more.   When you write all of it down, it makes you realize what you can really do.

Fair Trade Day Garden Event at Just Creations

7″x9″ watercolor
See all artwork available for sale.

From the wonderful staff at Just Creations, Louisville’s International Fair Trade Marketplace:

On Saturday, May 9, noon-4, we join organizations from around the world to raise awareness about the need for and the benefits of Fair Trade.   Our special event features:

  • Potting Activity for Kids & Adults: Just in time for Mother’s Day! Pick your herb, pick your pot. Plant it yourself or let the experts do it for you. While supplies last. Suggested donation – $7
  • Jeneen Wiche Container Gardening Presentation at 1pm. Jeneen will talk about creating interesting containers, with emphasis on starting out right with the right container, right soil mixture, and right plants for the site. Jeneen will also offer tips on how to make your garden more sustainable. Admission is FREE, but reservations are suggested.
  • Herb Planter Raffle – We’ve got a special pot with kitchen herbs planted up just for you! Raffle tickets are available through May 9. $1 each or 7 for $5. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to “Planting for the Future,” an environmental education program in Haiti that helps students learn how to plant and care for tree seedlings, improve the soil and deal with trash, one of the region’s most visible problems.

Special thanks to Thieneman’s Herbs & Perennials for partnering with us by providing herbs for our event and raffle.

Just Creations
2722 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Pet pampering and fundraising

12″x12″ oil on canvas, $400 ($50 donated to The Kentucky Humane Society)
See all artwork available for sale.
By guest writer, Allison Strickland, PR & Marketing Coordinator for the Kentucky Humane Society

The Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) has several exciting events coming up in the next few weeks: Dog Day at the Park as well as the 15th annual WAGGIN’ TRAIL 5K. Both events are a great way to take advantage of some of the venues our community offers, while at the same time providing socialization and fun for dogs.

I’ve never been to DOG DAY AT THE PARK, but I am extremely excited that I’ve been able to help coordinate this year’s event. The Louisville Bats and Your Community Bank sponsor an evening where dog owners can bring their pet to watch a baseball game. Best of all, it’s $1 hot dog and soft drink night! More importantly though, the money raised from the sale of canine tickets goes to KHS.

Even before I started working for KHS, I participated in the WAGGIN’ TRAIL 5K. Although I ran the race for the past several years, there are lots of things to do at the event that don’t require exercising. I’ve always enjoyed visiting the various vendor booths, especially the KHS booth featuring adoptable pets. In addition, throughout the day there are family-friendly activities like behavior demos, contests, music and food. There really is something for everyone at the WAGGIN’ TRAIL 5K.

I’ve always had a passion for animals, and I am proud to work for an organization that makes it a priority to provide events that strengthen the human and animal bond. Here are details about our upcoming events:

Dog Day at the Park
Tuesday, April 14
Louisville Slugger Field
Gates open at 6 p.m. Game starts at 7:05 p.m.
Click here to download a ticket order form.

Saturday, May 9
E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park
Register here

Kentucky Humane Society
241 Steedly Drive
Louisville, KY 40214
(502) 366-3355
DONATE NOW at www.kyhumane.org to support needy animals in our community.

the ‘Ville gets green(er)

Louisville city skyline
2′ x 4′ oil on canvas
See all artwork available for sale.

By guest writer, Mark Appleberry, of Sustain (a business dedicated to providing the resources necessary for families and individuals to live more sustainably).

“Green living can mean so many different things. It can start with buying the first re-usable shopping bag, switching to toxic free cleaning, buying from local farmers, or even giving second life to an object instead of buying new.   It starts with small decisions that can have significant impacts on the future.   Everyone we meet that is making steps towards sustainability is an inspiration.   We would like to acknowledge a few our friends, right here in Louisville, who are making great strides forward and inspiring hope along the way.

Ben and Julie Evans – The aspiring filmmaking team, along with another friend, Mark Dixon, are the creative genius behind “Your Environmental Road Trip [YERT],” www.yert.com.   These three took a year to visit all 50 states, putting themselves through extreme eco-challenges, interviewing over 800 environmental leaders, experts, and regular citizens from all walks of life, and documenting sustainability across America – as they like to say, “the good, the bad…and the weird.”   The documentary is pregnant with hope, laughter, and over 500 hours of “green” footage.   It is slated for release in full at the end of this year.   For now, satiate your curiosity with over 50 short fun films on their webpage.   For anyone interested in helping with the feature film, contact Ben at ben@yert.com.

Paul Schellenberger – An 18 year veteran of vermicomposting (worm farming), Paul is a passionate environmentalist excited about educating people about worm farming and composting in general.   Paul consulted from the outset with Breaking New Grounds, a local Louisville vermiculture operation.   You can find BNG’s compost at local Heine Brother’s Coffee shops.

John W. Moody – John is enabling sustainable living by connecting people with local farmers.   His involvement with the Whole Life Co-op., as well as his educational seminars, convey the message of “simple living”.   John regularly speaks on composting and encouraging people to think before carelessly buying, consuming, and discarding.   He and his wife also speak to young parents about raising happy, healthy children.   You can learn more about what John is doing by exploring www.wholelifeco-op.com

Green Convene – The Green Convene is non-partisan coalition to promote sustainable policies in local government.   Led by an informal steering committee of local volunteers, the Green Convene is working to coordinate and bring together the many local Louisville movements addressing a variety of sustainability issues in the Louisville Metro area.   They are always in the market for volunteers and participants and you can join here.

These are just a few of the great people and organizations in and around Louisville dedicated to helping Louisville become a greener, environmentally friendly community and we’re proud of their efforts!”

Thank you Mark!   I’ll add to that list the Green Building, Ohio Valley Creative Energy, and BrightSide (supported in part by Gallopalooza), all of which are highly worthy of your clicks.

‘Women of Mass Construction,’ Anonymous

11″ x 14″ oil on masonite board.
Email me at ashley.cecil at gmail.com for purchasing inquiries.
A donation from sold painting will be made to the Women’s Second Chance Scholarship Fund.

Gallery caption:

The Center for Women and Families engages individuals and community in the elimination of domestic violence, sexual violence and economic hardship through service, education and advocacy.

This domestic violence survivor endured unspeakable abuse and hardships inflicted by her husband, which took her years to escape.   She described walking through the doors of the Center for Women and Families as one of the scariest days of her life.   I would say, given the beautiful woman she showed herself to be in our interview, it was also one of the most pivotal days in her life, as well for her two children.

“God replaced my tears with laughter.

He replaced my fears with faith.

Now, my soul overflows with joy, peace, and thanks.”

Quote in the painting:

We were like broken winged birds when we first came through these doors.   For my safety and sanity, I had to leave everything I knew.   With the love of God, we have been loved and nurtured.

‘Women of Mass Construction,’ Virginia Durrance

11″ x 14″ oil on masonite board.
See all artwork available for sale.

Gallery caption:

Women In Transition is a grassroots organization run by and for poor people working on four primary campaigns: 1. Dismantling Classism, 2. CORROC (Claiming our Rights, Reclaiming our Children), 3. Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and 4. Louisville Living Wage Campaign & Raise the Wage.

Virginia’s involvement with WIT began after years of struggling to keep custody of her two daughters.   Poverty was most often the obstacle that stood between her and her children.   Although she worked two jobs, it didn’t provide her family with their basic needs.

WIT ‘s services would have been a tremendous asset during those challenging times, but Virginia has benefited greatly from the amazing social justice advocates she has since met.   She now volunteers as a parent advocate, helping others living below the poverty level navigate the legal system as they work to maintain custody of their children.

Quote in the painting:

If I had known of an organization like this then, I wouldn’t have lost my girls.   They motivate me and inspire me.

‘Women of Mass Construction,’ Arla O’Neil

11″ x 14″’ oil on masonite board.
Email me at ashley.cecil at gmail.com for purchasing inquiries.
A donation from sold painting will be made to the Women’s Second Chance Scholarship Fund.

Gallery caption:

Because art nourishes the human spirit, the Louisville Visual Art Association enriches community life by educating people about the value and meaning of today’s visual arts and by championing artists and the creative process.

When Arla moved from Las Vegas with her mother in the 4th grade, she expected her school experience to be the same as it was in Neveda.   The transition was short of ideal, and Arla faced a rough adjustment to her new home.

Arla’s mother got her involved in the LVAA’s Children’s Free Art Classes to reconnect her with a familiar creative outlet, visual art.   Expressing her ideas on inviting sheets of empty white paper helped Arla gain control of her emotions, open up to others, and express herself creatively.

Arla’s quote in the painting:

We had just made a major move. It helped me learn to interact with others as well as to express myself. I would just forget what was going on in the crazy world or what made me angry, and create.

Nonprofits, be heard!

By guest writer, Michelle Jones of Consuming Louisville

Social Media Club Louisville is presenting a Social Media Bootcamp for Nonprofits. The workshop will cover the basics of social media including the tools and technologies needed to participate, best practices for getting organizations active in the social media space and address some of the unique benefits and challenges nonprofits have in social media from fundraising to increasing organizational awareness.

I personally became really interested in working with nonprofits on social media issues when raising money for a national nonprofit during their annual event in Louisville. I was incredibly frustrated that they had no fundraising widgets or even banners or buttons that I could easily add to Consuming Louisville. The organization also made it, in my opinion, far too hard to donate online. I didn’t and still don’t understand why an organization would put barriers to participation and information in place when social media makes sharing so easy. The only explanation I can come up with is that the organization doesn’t know and understand that the internet makes it possible to do things differenty. So it’s my sincere hope that this workshop can help Louisville nonprofits do things a bit differently, a bit better, and our city will reap the benefits.

Our plan for this bootcamp is to give Louisville nonprofit staff members information about what social media is, explore some specific social media tools and how these tools can benefit nonprofits. We’ll also go over some of the best practices for engaging in social media. Kind of “how to be a good social media citizen. We want to give Louisville nonprofits information and skills they can put into practice immediately as well as information that will help them decide what directions to focus their staff and budget on in terms of social media campaigns. In short we want to share what we know to help Louisville nonprofits so they can flourish and do even more good for Louisville.

Social Media Bootcamp for Non-Profits
Tuesday January 27, 2009

The fee for the Social Media Bootcamp for Nonprofits is $50 per person and space is limited. Register here.

Art+Activism on BlogTalkRadio

This Thursday the 22nd, at 2pm EST, I’m being interviewed on BlogTalkRadio by the CEO of Path101, Charlie O’Donnell.   We’ll be talking about how I meshed my career as an artist with my work in the nonprofit sector, and how social media has aided the whole process.   I’d love love for you listen, and even better, call in with questions.

Looking forward to hearing some of your voices.