It started with Sharon and Peter
Art for All in the World was founded by Sharon and Peter Claesson. With an extensive international background in both the private and public sector, together they have led countless development projects across the globe, ranging from establishing sustainable development initiatives for local governments to forming a foundation for youth and street children in Latin America.
During her career, Sharon worked with the United Nations, World Bank, The Global Fund, IBM, Mercedes Benz, Ecosystems, Tandem Chile/Adexus, and Mapfre.
Peter is currently a consultant for the Intra-American Development Bank and the European Union. He has delivered conferences with Bill Clinton and Kofi Annan, and, in 2004, he was awarded the United Nations Development Programme´s Administrators Award for Innovation and Commitment.
Art for All was born
In 1995, Peter and Sharon's passion for their work led them to Quito, Ecuador for an education and awareness project for 6,000 street children living in the city. They led adventure tours to national parks where children learned about everything from drugs to natural disasters. One day during the project, Peter and Sharon learned that there were children living in the prisons of Quito. They decided to visit the prisons and asked permission for these children to join their adventure trips as well. The prisons agreed, and after witnessing the joy of the children during the trips, Peter and Sharon recognized the need to create a more positive environment for these kids, one that would instill a sense of possibility and hope.
Eventually receiving permission to run workshops in the prison, the project then evolved further with the creation of a series of murals on the prison walls and throughout Quito in areas in need of regeneration. This proved to be a transformative experience, not only for Sharon and Peter, but also for those involved with the project. Many of the prisoners went on to exhibit and sell work at the Fundación Guayasamín Museum and secure jobs following their release.
This defining moment in Quito was the launch pad for Sharon and Peter who realized the need for public art and the joy that comes from creating with a community. They have gone on to run projects across the globe under the banner of Art for All ever since.