What Goes Around, Comes Around!

3, 4, 5

Artists contribute to the common good by sharing their talents. The nonprofit sector supports artists with funding, museums, and attention or education. We learn how artists' work is supported by philanthropy and nonproft organizations that assure we have access to art. Young people may create art in the form of poetry or a picture to brighten someone's day.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • identify the reciprocal relationship between the community and the artist.
  • identify the value of art, music, and drama for the common good.
  • read-aloud copy of Camille and the Sunflowers (see Bibliography)
  • art materials
Teacher Preparation 

Make art materials available for individual or a group project. 

  • Anholt, Laurence.  Camille and the Sunflowers: A Story About Vincent Van Gogh. Barron’s Juveniles, 1994.  ISBN: 0812064097.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Display examples of paintings by Vincent van Gogh. Talk a little about the colors, style, and feelings generated from the paintings. Talk about how this very famous artist didn’t sell very many of his paintings when he was alive. He didn’t make enough money from the sale of his artwork to feed himself.

    His brother, Theo van Gogh, is well known for helping support his brother. He bought Vincent materials for painting and helped support him. Talk about whether Vincent van Gogh’s art is important to us. If Van Gogh were alive today, what would people be willing to do for him to make sure he had money for food, paints and canvasses?

  2. Read aloud the book Camille and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt. Discuss the main idea of the book that the artist van Gogh was a struggling and misunderstood artist.

    Talk about how and why the boy and his family helped Vincent.

    How can an artist survive if they can’t make money on their artwork? Vincent van Gogh needed people who recognized the value of his work to support him. Even today, artists are supported by people and organizations that think their work is important. 

  3. Artists frequently need help to support themselves in order to be able to create their works of art, like people helped Vincent van Gogh. Philanthropists give money to artists in grants and through museums, and community groups provide space, materials, and events to allow artists to thrive. The nonprofit sector makes sure we have public art, museums, art education, and many other opportunities for people to express creativity. 

  4. There are many nonprofit organizations with a mission to take care of artists and art. Creating art is a difficult way to make a living, but we are all better off because of art. Look up the art museums, public art (statues), and nonprofits that promote art appreciation in your region. Ask a representative to visit the group or go on a field trip. 

  5. Young people may create a piece of art and share it with an individual or display it at a public location, such as a retirement home.

Cross Curriculum 

Art from the heart: Celebrate artistic talents and find a way to share these talents with others. Find an organization or group of people who would appreciate a poem, greeting card, or homemade piece of art to brighten their day or let them know someone cares. This may be soldiers, veterans, elderly people in a retirement home, or a local child with a serious illness.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.