Artist and Mom is Empowering Kids To Paint The World A Better Place

Infuse Gallery
Sep 20, 2017 5:14PM

Kyra Coates of Longmont, CO is the founding director of Infuse Gallery ( She partners with nonprofits and donates a percentage of all their sales to support different social and education programs around the world. One of her partners is Central Asia Institute (, a 20 year old organization that builds schools for girls throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. As a mother she has taught her two daughters, age 7 and 3, what life is like in that part of the world, and how difficult it is for girls to get an education, and how they could even get in trouble in some places for doodling in their notebooks due to the oppressive Taliban regime. She didn’t realize how impactful this lesson was until one day her 7 year old, Celeste, approached her.

“She had been in her room very quiet for a couple hours,” said Coates. “Then she came up to me at the kitchen table with a stack of drawings in her arms. She said ‘Mommy, I don’t know if my art is good enough, but if it is, can you put it in your gallery? And if any of it sells can we send the money to the girls that can’t go to school so it will help them to go?’ Of course I was so moved by her compassion I said yes right on the spot with tears in my eyes! But then I thought more, realizing most likely people wouldn’t buy my daughter’s art. What could I do to offer her a chance to make a real difference with her own art? After all that was the philosophy Infuse Gallery was founded on; to use art as a tool for global change.”

Kyra had already been brainstorming an art education program in collaboration with Central Asia Institute for a group of girls in a few of of CAI’s schools in Kabul. There is only a 12% literacy rate in Afghanistan for women, and 48% for men. For girls to have an art education in their society is a huge step in women’s rights as a visual voice is a powerful way to communicate in a largely illiterate society.

Coates thought that somehow connecting the kids here in Colorado to other kids across the globe would create a powerful opportunity for both groups to learn and support one another. With that in mind she came up with the idea of the Cultures, Cups, and Kids Program. Using the idea that kids art can bring value and change, Coates will go into local schools and using a K-12 curriculum developed by Central Asia Institute focusing on “more alike than un-alike” she will teach the kids about life in Central Asia. Then she will lead the kids through creating their own art project about life in their school and home. All kids will have their work photographed and uploaded to Infuse’s website where parents will be able to purchase mugs that have their own child’s art printed on it. All post-production sales will be split in half. 50% will go to the local participating schools, 50% will go the Central Asia Institute Art Education Program. At the end of the school year Coates will hold an exhibition with the art from local participating kids, and the girls’ art from the program in Kabul in her gallery space in the Art District on Santa Fe Dr. in Denver in partnership with Candelaria- Maker’s Studio.

“The kids are going to see that their own creations have a direct impact on someone else’s life, and also their own community. They will get a cultural lesson which naturally teaches racial and cultural tolerance which is needed now more than ever. And they will have their art and its impact displayed in a public gallery. I couldn’t imagine a better way to honor my own daughter’s desire to help others. She’s empowered now knowing her art really can make a difference. All our kids deserve that.”

Already she has several classes waiting to participate in the program, starting with her own daughter’s class at the St Vrain Community Montessori School in downtown Longmont. Other parents and teachers want to schedule as well from Niwot Elementary, the Boulder Community Montessori School, and Trail Ridge Middle School.

“The programs are ready to go. The girls in Afghanistan and the instructors there are ready to go. The local schools here are ready to go as are so many parents and teachers. Now we just need some more funding,” said Coates.

She has launched an IndieGogo campaign through their Generosity platform for nonprofits, as Coates is running these two programs through her Gallery’s nonprofit branch Infuse Global Art Alliance ( Her goal is to cover the program’s cost for the first six months. Right now she has raised just enough to start with the 7 classrooms at the St Vrain Community Montessori School.

“If we can cover the first six months, then get into two classrooms a week for six months, this will fund five months of the art program in Afghanistan. After that the programs start paying for themselves,” said Coates.

You can find the link to the fundraising campaign at:

Infuse Gallery