Nonprofits team up to paint pretty shades in Uganda

Florida artist Patrick Maxcy describes his mural of coffee around the world at Light Gives Heat, 2507 Weslo Ave.

It’s not that there isn’t lightness and color in Danida, Uganda. There is — in the smiles and the sunrises and the small beauties of life.

But often, in the day to day of just getting by, in the struggle and the stress, there just isn’t time. A layer of dust settles and brightness is harder to find.

And so Dave and Morgan Hansow thought, let’s go create some murals. Let’s paint them in vivid shades on the side of some buildings, let’s make them with the people who live there, let’s establish something beautiful that speaks to the love and cooperation and friendship.

So, the Art of Collaboration was born. The Hansows, who founded the not-for-profit Light Gives Heat, recently began a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,800. The money will support Hansow, a representative each from Sole Hope and IAMJ3, and 
tartist Patrick Maxcy, for two weeks in Danida as they work with residents of the town to create murals and inspire participation in art.

The campaign began Thursday and Dave Hansow said they hope to leave for Uganda Sept. 18.

A goal, Maxcy said, is “to bring light, to bring hope.”

“(The murals) are something bright, something beautiful,” Dave Hansow explained. “Most of the kids we work with never go outside a 500-yard radius. They might spend their whole lives in this small area. So, as much as we can open up possibilities for their families, help them see what’s out there, that’s what we’re going to try doing.”

Hansow said the Art of Collaboration is simply an addition to, rather than a replacement of, the work Light Gives Heat already does in Uganda. The organization, founded more than six years ago, sells the work of Ugandan artisans — mostly women — in the United States. More than 130 are employed making jewelry, bags and other items that are sold at Light Gives Heat’s Grand Junction store and around the world through its website.

After consulting with leaders and families in Danida, Hansow said he learned the murals would not only be welcome, but greatly anticipated.

“None of us want to be the Americans who go over and pretend to know something we don’t or offer something they didn’t ask for,” Hansow said.

He said Light Gives Heat is working to collaborate with other groups in Africa, which is why the Art of Collaboration is a joint effort including Sole Hope (, a group that works to improve the foot health of children in Africa, and IAMJ3 (, a Christian relief organization.

Creating murals, Hansow said, would be another facet of Light Gives Heat’s mission of “empowering Africa through the encouragement of economic sustainability and creative endeavors.”

It will be collaborative, Maxcy said, something beautiful that town residents “can look at and feel proud of.”

For information or to donate, go to or call 242-1958.


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