The origins of Artists For Impact trace back to the summer of 2017, where the idea of a coffee house open mic sprouted in Dasha Boswell’s mind. She imagined being able to have a drink and a pastry while listening to live music and spoken word performances. It was a scene out of an indie Sundance Film, and she knew that she had to put it into action. However, this coffee house daydream soon evolved into something bigger once she realized that spaces for young artists to share their work in her community were scarce. She wanted to provide a platform for her friends who make music in their basements, the girl who writes poetry in her English class, her sister's cartoons, and her own artwork. This platform would give a safe space to young artists and give opportunities to obtain exposure around the community.
After asking her best friend, Ris Igrec, to join the project, the two decided to find a way to give back to the community through the idea. Thus, at the beginning of their junior year, Artists For Impact came to life. They decided AFI would hold events comprised of musical performances, spoken word, and artwork, with all proceeds going to a local charity. Dasha and Ris found the perfect venue in MADE: My Art and Design Experience, an art studio that graciously agreed to host the events.
Months of planning, advertising, nerves, and excitement culminated in Artists for Impact’s first event. The success of the this event prompted Dasha and Ris to plan more shows, and in just four events, Artists for Impact raised a total of $1765.00 for Futbol For Kids (November 2017), The LOFT: LGBT Community Center in White Plains, New York (May 2018), Sad Girls Club (November 2018), Girls Rock! DC (February 2019), and Dwell DC (February 2019).
Artists for Impact is now on its way to becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with plans for expansion that include events planned by AFI Ambassadors along the East Coast, each benefiting a charity local to the event’s area.