The Artisan Abroad Program


What is the Artisan Abroad Program? 

In a world where monetary incentive seems to supersede interest, we often find ourselves devoting our lives to profit rather than passion. Individuals from low-income households tend to be discouraged from creating because a career in art does not present them with the lucrative opportunities to lift them out of their financial restraints. In addition, economies that are behind their modern industrial counterparts, innovation and creativity are the most important economic development machine. These are issues that we have grown a particular attachment to, and it is something in which we are seeking to address.

The Artisan Abroad Program plans to inspire local artists from developing countries to pursue their interests in art by providing a platform to use their artistic talents and begin entrepreneurial endeavors. Inspired by Kelsey Timmerman talk, author of “Where am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes,” at Lehigh University, we proposed to launch the Artisan Abroad program via a product design venture competition. The proposal placed second in the social impact category of the Eureka Venture Competition Series at Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation at Lehigh University. Learn more about proposal here

Why Sierra Leone:

Many countries in West Africa, including Sierra Leone, are rebranding their global image but have not quite figured out just yet a sustainable process that benefits its citizens and in turn the economy. Sierra Leone is quickly becoming a desired location for business by the international community mainly for it large deposits of natural resources. While this might be deemed good, citizens have yet to see the socio-economic benefits translate to the general population.  With such promising projections and potential, it is important that the government and its citizens take the necessary steps to prepare with the tools and resources to effectively participate and benefit from this development of the country. An effective way of ensuring the participation of the citizens is to create programs such as the Artisan Abroad Program.

We hope that through the Artisan Abroad Program supporting the economy we hope to improve the socio-economic structures of a community, mitigate poverty, and give people control over their own destiny.

What is the first collection all about?

The first collection is called “Color Couture”; we went to Sierra Leone to design limited edition t-shirts that will be sold on we recorded each step of this program, as a documentary film student interested in Africana studies. This film will help consumers understand the background of the artists like Mr. Selu, how the shirts were made and most importantly the impact of the Artisan Abroad Program. We hope to sell out of the collection so that proceeds will help create a local business for Mr. Selu. Click here to watch video.

We have also completed a lifestyle and product photo shoot in Los Angeles, CA and are excited to see how the sales go once the products and film launch on July 10th, 2014!

Through this endeavor, the Artisan Abroad Program promotes cross-cultural artistic expression and knowledge, aesthetic tolerance, creative practice and encourage entrepreneurial interest amongst local artists.

 How can you and/or artists get involved?

Purchase collection here: Color Couture Collection

Email us with leads and/or artists outside of the US at

Check out images from the first collection here: Color Couture Collection

Color Couture

Written by: Nadia Sasso “iamnadiamarie”