Changing Lives Abroad through Local Gift Shop

Art 2 Heart brings help and hope to women and children around the world through proceeds from its local shop.
Hand-crafted artisan gifts benefit people in need throughout the world- and in some cases are made by the very people thye're assisting.

It isn’t often that a gift purchased in Hamel directly helps a woman in Peru support herself and her family. At Art 2 Heart, a nonprofit Christian ministry-based store just west of Plymouth, 100 percent of profits are invested in bringing help and hope to women and children around the world. In partnership with organizations such as Action for Children–Zambia, Kids Inspiring Kids in Uganda, and Grace International World Outreach in Vietnam and the Philippines, Art 2 Heart provides opportunities for consumers, artists, crafters and others with creative gifts to change lives. “We choose ministry partners where we have a personal connection and know the money is going directly to the people,” says executive director Peggy Quirk. “We don’t just give to humanitarian or missions organizations, but to the partners serving the people every day.” The store’s offerings range from handmade Ugandan journals to embellished stainless steel spatulas, and each product comes with its own unique story. Some of Art 2 Heart’s cards, for example, include artwork from Freddy and Sunday, two youths supported by Action for Children–Zambia. “The shop is quickly becoming a destination location for consumers who want to use their purchasing power to buy on-trend and handmade products that bring hope and dignity to the artists who create them,” says local artist Jen Swift. She is currently designing and developing one of Art 2 Heart’s newest product lines in partnership with an artist cooperative in Peru. In Flores de Villa, a shantytown village just outside of Lima, a group of women meet and make handcrafted products, many of which are based on Swift’s designs. They call themselves Mostacillas de Fe, which means “Beads of Faith.” In partnership with Art 2 Heart, the Peruvian women are creating a self-sustaining enterprise in which their handmade products are sold locally in Art 2 Heart’s store. Quirk remarks that one of the shop’s goals is to support the talent and dignity of the artists as they grow their business. “The whole process is incredible,” Swift says. “My little idea for a product becomes someone’s grocery money.” Quirk adds that Art 2 Heart’s ability to empower women by teaching them skills to support themselves “makes a long-term difference in their lives and equips them to become self-sufficient.” This spring, the Mostacillas de Fe cooperative expanded their home décor and seasonal product line to include bridal products. “We are excited to be one of the first cooperatives to provide socially conscious brides with a fair-trade option when purchasing their wedding bouquets,” Swift says. Globally minded brides and other customers can also feel good about the fact that the entire organization is run by volunteers. “It’s a paycheck of the heart,” Swift laughs. “Every cent is given to those in need, and I’m thrilled we can do that.” Recently, Art 2 Heart launched an online store where customers can purchase creative and unique gift items at ourart2heart.org.“Our hope is that everyone involved in the whole cycle of creativity is blessed,” Quirk says. “The artist who was inspired to create the product, the shop volunteer who can offer fun gifts to shoppers, the shopper who buys something unique, the person who receives a gift and knows someone’s life was touched and each person who receives our financial contributions and is offered hope for a brighter and empowered future.” & To learn more about Art 2 Heart, email [email protected] or call 763.478.6898.