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Creating Art, Community and Understanding in Collaborative Virtual Environments

The Virtual Bridges Initiative

Artolution's Virtual Bridges Initiative provides refugee and crisis-affected youth with access to online arts education programs that allow participants to connect with peers and artist mentors around the world who are eager to teach, learn and collaborate with them on creative art making projects.

Strengthening communities in crisis through the power of art.

“I believe that art opens up our hearts and our minds”

Carolyn Nakazibwe, Artist & Student from Nakuwadde Village, Uganda

Who we are.

Artolution is an international, community-based public art organization that strengthens crisis-affected communities through the power of art.

What we do.

We train local artists how to facilitate and lead collaborative art-making programs supports  community resilience building, inspires positive social change and promotes a sense of individual and collective agency.

Through our Virtual Bridges initiative, we seek to create new platforms for virtual connection through the arts and technology, providing opportunities for relationship-building across borders, educational and creative programming in virtual spaces, and spreading life-saving messages to vulnerable communities in response to the pandemic.

Artolution facilitates online art-making experiences that allow participants to create collaborative works of art with their peers across the world. All of the following projects will provide opportunities to meet participants in other communities and countries, and learn about their cultures, lifestyles and social contexts. 

Our mission.

We focus on developing local leaders in the arts to use collaborative art-making as a tool for building community resilience, positive social change and the agency to shape their own story.  

It begins with our artists!

Artolution teaching artists meet together via video conference on a weekly basis to learn a variety of skills related to design, digital art, and storytelling. These training sessions are foundational to the Virtual Bridges initiative; our artists are then able to build on and use these workshops to take to their communities to discuss critical social issues and to build healthy relationships in this time of social isolation.

Examples of our projects! 

Digital art exchanges. 

Artolution facilitates virtual exchanges between vulnerable communities to create a space for learning about each others’ cultural differences, similarities, and stories. Digital art exchanges can be done using any of the virtual activities described above. 

In the example to the right, displaced youth in Colombia, including newly-arrived Venezuelans, and Syrian refugee girls in Jordan learned about one another, created digital art together, and shared a connected experience. 

Requirements: Internet connection, devices to create digital art, art pieces can also be done with analog tools.

Mask making and virtual theatre. 

Using video conferencing, lead artists will guide a group of participants in the writing and rehearsing of a short theatrical piece. After developing the characters for the skit, participants will learn how to create masks using household materials. Once complete, each participant will act in the production, using their masks to illustrate their character. 


  • Learn to write and produce a theatrical skit 
  • Learn character development
  • Learn to create a mask using household materials
  • Rehearse the skit with the group
  • Perform the final piece live online
  • A short film version can be shared on social media

Requirements: Internet connection and a device for video conferencing. Mask-making materials include items such as: paper plates, paint, shoe string, glue, markers, scissors. 

Where we work.

Artolution has facilitated more than 400 projects in 30 countries globally, since 2009 and currently offers year-round programming in Uganda, Colombia, Jordan, Bangladesh and the U.S.A.

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Innovation Overview
Target Group
6 000
Tips for implementation
Artists and participants are learning a variety of skills related to design, digital art and animation through programs that are free and available on both Android and iOS on their cell phones or tablets. These skills are applicable to other design programs, such as Photoshop, and are therefore useful in educational and employment settings.
Contact information

See this innovation in action

SM-Virtual Bridges Artolution 2020
Digital Art Exchange! Displaced Syrian & Colombian Youth Connect


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