WeTransfer x Special Arts Championing creativity

Giving creatives a voice

We love to help creatives share their work. So we’ve built a brand new online gallery for the inspiring non-profit Special Arts to bring their extraordinary artists to fresh audiences.  

Introducing an artist …

Meet Henk van Eijk. He’s one of the wonderful artists represented by Special Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to helping artists with disabilities. This dramatic linocut, Blue Cobra, demonstrates just one of his talents, which range from digital art to drumming in a band.

Why do we want you to meet Henk? Because we love his work. But also because he’s now part of the WeTransfer story, and we’d like to tell you how he came into our lives.

It starts with creativity

At WeTransfer, we’ve always believed in creativity, ever since we got started back in 2009. And, right from the beginning, we’ve been donating 30% of our advertising space to support innovative projects, inspiring artists, and worthwhile causes.

Last year, we became a certified B Corporation, joining a global group of firms dedicated to using business as a force for good. It’s made us strive even harder to find a balance between people, planet, and profit in everything we do.

Most of all, we believe in people—with creativity and technology close behind. We like to summarize this core value as “we enable.”

That’s why we use our platform to help give creatives a voice, empowering them to share their work and stories with the world.

For many, the last year has been a real challenge, so we’ve been donating an additional 500 million wallpaper impressions to showcase their work, mobilizing the power of our community to provide much-needed support.

And that’s also why we’ve struck up a relationship with Special Arts. With their goal of boosting inclusivity in the art world, they show that creativity can be for everyone. It’s a principle that’s close to our hearts too!

Giving back

As a tech company, we’re aware of our social and environmental impact. But we’re determined to give back to society, and we’ve been exploring ways to become a more responsible business, one step at a time.

And we also want to help others contribute. In 2019, we started our Charity Leave scheme, giving our employees two and a half days off each year to help local communities. In practice, few were able to use these days, so we decided to make life a little simpler, setting up a new program, WeSupport, to streamline the process of volunteering for good causes.

 And that’s how our relationship with Special Arts began ...

Why Special Arts?

Special Arts is a Dutch non-profit committed to helping artists with disabilities, celebrating their achievements and raising their profiles. Founded in 1984, they believe that art can bring people together to create an inclusive, empathetic society.

And they’ve made a real impact over the years, running a successful online gallery and art-lease program; designing a range of imaginative art gifts; and organizing a series of national art projects that champion painting, poetry, dance, theater, and more.

But Covid has hit Special Arts hard, reducing their audiences and their income. And it’s hit the artists hard too. With fewer people enjoying their work, both their confidence and their well-being have taken a knock.

So, with the Director of Special Arts, Tine Veldhuizen, Charles Giesberger from Let’s Creaid (who brought us together), we brainstormed how WeTransfer could support their mission, utilizing our long experience of enabling creatives to share their work. Together, we came up with a plan to give Special Arts more visibility, helping them reach wider audiences, from individual art lovers all the way to potential partner organizations.

So what did we come up with?

Talking to Tine, it became clear that Special Arts urgently needed a dedicated online showcase for its artists, at a time when remote viewing is more important than ever. So we teamed up with Squarespace, one of WeTransfer’s long-term partners, to create a new website that presents their inspiring collection in an engaging and effective manner.

And you can see the results here! This online gallery works alongside Special Arts’ existing site, with its more corporate role. Now, the focus is placed solely on the talent of the artists and the beauty of their work.

To kick things off, WeTransfer’s award-winning editorial platform, WePresent, has put together a curated collection of 30 artworks that we feel reflect the beliefs we have long treasured at WeTransfer, from creativity to community. 

Getting involved

Now that Special Arts has this striking online gallery, they can share it with collectors, companies and benefactors across the Netherlands—and there are exciting plans afoot to go international! Each month, they will be partnering with a new company, who will have the opportunity to curate a selection of their favorite works, presenting them to a wider audience, just like we did.

So, if you’re inspired by Special Art’s mission, do please take a look at their extensive collection of work by these brilliant artists. If you want to bring color to your home office, you could rent or buy a piece—each has its own compelling story. Or perhaps you’d like the opportunity to curate the next collection at Special Arts? Just reach each out to Tine, she’ll be so delighted to hear from you.

And finally …

Like what you’ve read? Thinking about setting up your own charity program? Just ping us or Let’s Creaid, we’d love to tell you all about it. It’s been absolutely worth it— bringing people together, helping  some brilliant causes, and we’ve got to know Henk and the other great artists at Special Arts along the way!