Inspiration often strikes at the strangest time. For Chelsea Hu, inspiration struck in the middle of a flood while she was volunteering at an orphanage as part of a leadership camp in China in 2019. As the torrential rain caused chaos amongst the frightened children, thirteen-year-old Chelsea sought to comfort them in the best way she knew how – through art. And at that moment, the idea for Teen Mobile Arts was born.
“The children’s eyes glistened as I showed them how to create animals with simple geometric shapes,” Chelsea recalled. “A remarkable moment came when they noticed that they could be vehicles of creation. Making art with the children bound us—they had lived through far greater challenges than I, but in that moment, we were all makers. Perhaps, I mused, through the right platform and mentorship, one of my little makers would be featured on museum walls someday.”
About Teen Mobile Arts
As an enthusiastic community organizer and fine artist, Chelsea melded her interests into a new initiative for her community of young artists and founded Teen Mobile Arts. She started small, exhibiting teen’s artwork in local shops, coffee houses, and businesses to raise funds and visibility for young artists. The work also brought new and increased patronage to the partnering businesses, creating a win-win situation for all involved. Involved artists also held art workshops in public libraries to give kids without opportunities to create art in their daily lives a chance to express themselves and develop a passion for the arts.
“It can be seemingly impossible for teen artists to have commercial success or long-term exhibitions of their art in the community and have their interpretations appreciated by large audiences,” Chelsea shared. “Most high school artists’ work is only exhibited inside the walls of their school. But, to develop one’s voice as an artist and for a community to become familiar with that voice, an artist must exhibit and receive feedback from larger audiences.”
Teen Mobile Arts is now a non-profit that brings together artists from around the globe, making art spaces more diverse, inclusive, and vibrant. Chelsea’s project has rapidly expanded from the USA to Senegal, Nigeria, Liberia, Uganda, India, Taiwan, and China. It now supports charities by auctioning artists’ artwork in online galleries, international and local museums, and businesses. The makers select the charities to be beneficiaries of their art and currently support charities across eight countries. The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) is honored to be among the charities of choice.
Connection to Cancer
“When I was three years old, my grandpa passed away from pancreatic cancer,” Chelsea explained. “Although I was young at that time, witnessing the distress and pain it left my family in truly shaped the way I viewed things. I learned to be more appreciative and cherish the moments I shared with people I love and surround myself with. I know that through donating to an organization like NFCR, I will be helping to sustain the work to create a future cure for cancer. By doing so, I recognize that I would be supporting a truly revolutionary long-term cure for cancer that will be able to save lives and families all over the world.”
How You Can Get Involved
NFCR believes that artists can change the world and has developed a program to support these efforts. Arts4TheCure is the official fine arts and performing arts fundraising platform of NFCR. Artists from across the globe participate in various ways, including holiday light shows, music, and design.
Additional Reads You May Enjoy:
Stay connected with the cancer community! Receive NFCR’s monthly e-newsletter and blogs featuring stories of inspiration, support resources, cancer prevention tips, and more. Sign up here.