The Story of 'Painting For Freedom'
In July 2012 Richard and Rosemary Kidd made their first visit to Freeset accompanying a student programme, supported by BMS World Mission. There they met the originators of Freeset, New Zealand Baptist missionaries Kerry and Annie Hilton, and the first seeds of 'Painting For Freedom' were quietly planted.
Richard and Rosemary returned to Kolkata for extended visits in 2013, 2014 and 2015, mainly to help in developing educational programmes, all of which now run efficiently under local supervision. Soon they found themselves involved as advocates Freeset in the UK and when, in 2015, Freeset launched its 'Gateway' project, Richard began selling some of his paintings and writings as a way of making his own contribution. This initiative took off with surprising energy, especially following his first solo exhibition at the 2015 Pittenweem Festival, and it soon became clear that the money being raised was too substantial simply to pass through his own bank account - and the idea of a charity soon followed.
The launch of 'Painting for Freedom', constituted as a 'Small Charity' with a group of Trustees and its own Bank Account, went hand in hand with broadening the range of work offered for sale. In particular colleague and friend, Mike Lowe, began to sell some of his work for Freeset and joined in the work of advocacy. Like Richard, Mike is also a Baptist Minister and together they now receive an ever increasing number of invitations to exhibit and speak, often in church-related contexts.
Initially this website was very much dedicated to Richard's work: his paintings, fine art prints and cards, and books of poetry. Increasingly, however, the aim has become to develop a 'collective' of artists who are willing, with Richard and Mike, to offer at least some of their work for sale in support of Freeset. During 2018 Steve Harvie came on board as a contributing artist and later that year Mina, one of the original staff at Freeset in Kolkata began to provide work for sale.
The charity is now approaching the end of its fourth year. In total, so far it has sent around £25,000 to support the work of Freeset. It is a win-win-win story. The painters like painting, the buyers enjoy their pictures, and the resources of Freeset are boosted. As we have some times said:
WE paint ... YOU donate ...THEY choose ... FREEDOM!