Refugee Artisans of Worcester
The Refugee Artisans of Worcester (RAW) helps refugees gain self-sufficiency through the sale of their artwork. With craft as our common language, LexArt brings RAW artisans to our community. 100% of realized gallery sales supports RAW artisans.
Worcester is one of 27 cities throughout the US that support the relocation and assimilation of international refugees. Founded in 2010 by Worcester residents Ellen Ferrante and Joan Kariko, Refugee Artisans of Worcester (RAW) is a unique non-profit project that works to support refugees and assist them to self-sufficiency through the sale of their artwork, while archiving their heritage and cultural crafts.
RAW artisans originate from the African, Asian and Central American countries of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Kenya, Liberia, Nepal, Rwanda, Pakistan, Syria and Vietnam.
RAW embraces and promotes the cultural diversity of Worcester, recognizes the beauty of the refugee populations’ traditional craft, the economic opportunity that craft practice provides them, the therapeutic value of refugees working with their hands and engaging in their traditional craft in a foreign land, the dignity afforded them as a result, as well as the merits of assimilation given refugees through engaging in the business of producing and marketing their craft, managing their resources and engaging the English-speaking population.
RAW works with many (69) non-profits and social services in Worcester. These organizations update RAW on recent refugees and provide contact information for RAW to get in touch with potential artisans. RAW complements the many refugee resettlement programs in the city by seeking community awareness and assistance.
LexArt seeks to introduce the RAW non-profit project and its artisans to our community and foster a supportive environment with traditional craft as our common language. We hope it is the first of many such collaborations. One hundred percent of realized gallery sales will support RAW artisans.
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