Volunteers who have always used art to express themselves may want to consider taking their passion for art abroad to help others pursue or discover their love for art. With opportunities in photography, the performing arts, community projects, and other areas, volunteers for the arts abroad can choose to participate in a program specific to their art experience and interests.

Some communities abroad lack the resources necessary to incorporate the arts into the school curriculum, while others are home to women who may need to learn a craft that can be translated into sustainable income. Activities include teaching the arts to disabled women and promoting intercultural understanding through photography projects abroad. Wherever you’re headed, as a volunteer for the arts you’ll have the opportunity to inspire others and practice your art skills in a totally different setting.

Photo Credit: Gina Rogari

Teaching Art in Schools

After school programs, summer camps, and schools around the world need volunteers to help organize arts and crafts activities. Volunteers for the arts can also encourage new ways of expression by teaching different types of dances, musical instruments, and songs.

Programs in this area are ideal for those who love working with youngsters and want to bring some light to the lives of poverty stricken children.

For more information specifically on working as a volunteer teacher, read our guide to volunteer teaching abroad. It includes a listing of volunteer teaching programs as well.

Photography

Whether you’re studying photography in school or photography's just one of your hobbies, volunteering abroad through a photography program can be an enriching experience. Some programs offer photography classes that teach volunteers about photography composition and how to use Photoshop. These classes are often supplemented by community service projects and outdoor treks that allow plenty of opportunities for volunteers to get practice snapping photos.

Others may include a photography project for more experienced photographers that focuses on expressing a certain country topic such as peace or the environment through photos and then putting up a photo exhibition.

Volunteers participating in such projects will also perform additional volunteer work in their respective cities, such as tidying up public places or even painting over graffiti.

Performing Arts

As an arts volunteer with a focus on performing arts, you work with students or the mentally and physically disabled to coach drama groups and lead acting workshops. Some volunteers will even get the chance to help put on a play by assisting students with their particular roles and supporting set design and construction.

Volunteers in the performing arts can help students build self-confidence and inspire children to explore their imaginations. Opportunities to take drama classes and perform in plays are limited in disadvantaged global communities, but volunteers can use their enthusiasm for drama to bring the performing arts abroad.

Empowering Women Through Art

Help women find employment by teaching them useful skills in arts and crafts. Many women face the responsibility of providing for their family and are struggling to find ways to earn sufficient income. Female unemployment rates are often higher than the male unemployment rate, and the majority of jobs available to women are low-status and low paying or outside of labor regulations.

Arts volunteers can help volunteer with women's empowerment by teaching them the skills necessary to make products they can sell and earn income from. For disabled women who may be land mine or polio victims, finding a job may be even more difficult, and volunteers can find specific programs tailored to teaching art skills to these women.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Many schools and communities in Sub-Saharan Africa experience an absence of instructors in areas like music. Music oriented volunteers can teach musical instruments to primary and secondary students or conduct rehearsals with the school choir.

Arts volunteers working in African schools with a focus on music must be passionate about music because they will have to teach large classes with limited resources and inadequate classroom space.

Music can be essential in aiding children’s development, and some of the school music projects are aimed at using music to enhance students’ abilities in other subject areas such as math.

Asia

In parts of Asia, volunteer projects in the art can range from cultural preservation, to education, to a means of helping with women's empowerment.

Volunteers can use their creative art skills in Southeast Asia to empower young Cambodian girls by teaching them photography, jewelry design, and t-shirt making. This is a great way to combine a knack for the arts with an interest in international development and human rights.

There are also opportunities in Asia to teach arts at Montessori schools and volunteer with the Cambodian Children’s Painting Project (CCPP).

Latin America

Many Latin American schools and community centers are extremely basic or have been neglected due to an absence of extensive resources. Thus, volunteers with an aesthetic eye are needed to bring color into communities by painting classrooms and other structures.

Revive an old building in a Latin American community with the stroke of a brush, and put your design skills to work by painting inspiring murals. Painting projects can often times be community events, allowing an arts volunteer to work alongside locals and bond over community revitalization.

  • UNESCO: The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture stresses the importance of “culture and art, the sciences, education, and communication and knowledge” as core values of humanity. You can visit their site to learn more about what they’re doing to achieve such goals as “fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace.”
  • InSEA: A non-governmental organization of UNESCO, The International Society for Education Through Art seeks to integrate art into multicultural and international dialogue.

Contributed by Jasmine Foruzani

Guide Author
Jasmine Foruzani
Go Overseas Intern

Volunteer for the Arts Abroad

Displaying 76 - 90 of 509 programs
South Asian Village Empowerment
South Asian Village Empowerment: Tamil Nadu
India
7 reviews

Volunteers with South Asian Village Empowerment, founded in 2005, live...

Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA
Safe & Responsible Volunteer Programs in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
3 reviews1 interview

IKPVA offers a wide range of safe and responsible volunteer programs...

Proyecto Mosaico e.V.
Proyecto Mosaico: Volunteer Work in Central America
Multiple Countries
14 reviews

You can become a part of our work! Share your time, experiences and...

YouSocial Volunteer
Volunteer Programs in India, Nepal & The Philippines
Multiple Countries
3 reviews1 interview

We have 3 main volunteer projects that you can join! DIGITAL MEDIA -...

Beacon of Hope Uganda
Remarkable Volunteer Placements in Uganda
Uganda
7 reviews

Are you looking at doing something more remarkable on your holiday...

Innisfree Village
Innisfree Village
United States of America
7 reviews

Innisfree Village is a life-sharing community of about 75 people...

International Disaster Volunteers
Rebuild Tacloban Following Typhoon Haiyan
Philippines
5 reviews2 interviews

Thanks to dozens of volunteers from around the world, we’ve already...

Volunteers For Peace (VFP)
Volunteer Abroad in India with Volunteers for Peace
India
6 reviews2 interviews

Volunteers For Peace (VFP) is a Vermont-based non-profit organization...

Fundacion Mahatma Gandhi
Fundacion Mahatma Gandhi: Community Volunteers
Dominican Republic
5 reviews

The Mahatma Gandhi Foundation provides opportunities to volunteers...

Pod Volunteer
Pod Volunteer | Charity Volunteering in Ghana
Ghana
4 reviews

Volunteers in Ghana become part of the award winning charity's life...

Up Close Bolivia
Education and Community Development Projects with UCB
Bolivia
3 reviews1 interview

Are you seeking a meaningful volunteering opportunity, supporting...

Volunteers For Peace (VFP)
Volunteer in France: Renovation, Construction & Social Work
France
4 reviews1 interview

Volunteers For Peace, a Vermont-based nonprofit organization, has...

Yellow House KL
Yellow House KL - Blue Package (Teaching)
Malaysia
5 reviews1 interview

Volunteers will be involved in a variety of teaching activities with...

The Global Education Partnership
Service-Learning in China | The Social Entrepreneurship Think Tank
China
3 reviews

OUR PURPOSE WHY - 95% of students in rural China cannot go to college...

One Heart Christian Foundation
Teacher Assistant at Rural Farm School
South Africa
4 reviews1 interview

We are located near Malmesbury in the Western Cape of South Africa. We...

What People Are Saying

Wet, wet,wet

My only complaint about IpBio was that I didn't book to stay longer! A truly great little adventure, where I learned a lot and for once in my life I listened to those who knew what was around us. How...

having a little fun with them

During my stay, I was living with the the most friendly local people I’ve ever met (including 16 children and MEI staff). They taught me their language - Swahili and how to make their foods such as...

Food at the Center

I am a math Ph.D. from the US. For a while, I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer and provide mathematics education for the Syrian war refugee students in Europe. At first, I made an effort to...

Related Volunteer Abroad Articles