Welcome to Art Relief International

Art Relief International works to transform the lives of struggling social groups in Chiang Mai, Thailand by offering them the opportunity to express themselves through an artistic lens.

Art changes lives. It is both a powerful means of expression and a recognized means of therapy – two things that are vital in the lives of ARI participants. ARI works to cultivate creativity, create an atmosphere of inclusion for groups that are often cast out and ignored, and encourage social change.


Our volunteer-based organization relies on dedicated and open-minded individuals looking to make a creative difference in the world. This unique opportunity to volunteer in Thailand rewards both volunteers and ARI program participants alike.

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Art Relief International Volunteer Blog

  • Batik bags at Urban Light! 3 Aug 2015 | 5:08 am

    This week at Urban Light we designed and made some tote bags using the ancient Indonesian art form of batik. Batik is a painting technique in which areas of a cloth are painted with a hot wax. The cloth is then dyed or painted on with some colour. The wax design resists the colour and produces beautiful and often elaborate designs, and it most certainly did in Urban Light!

     I asked the artists to recall a positive past memory, be it a place, a person, an animal, anything at all and use it as an influence in their chosen designs. We opted for a more user friendly version of batik in which we used a gel based glue in the place of hot wax and watered down acrylic paints in the place of dye. The artists really did get stuck in to the process, and a wide variety of memories were represented. Nationality was something that was explored , with an interesting trend of Burmese, Thai and oddly enough American flags emerging. 

    We took the chance to reflect on our memories by writing a little bit about them on some paper tags that we crafted out of card and thread. We attached the tags to the bags and put them aside to dry. I suggested that once the bags had dried, the artists could use them for storing some of their…