j strachan

How Art Changed Jonathan Strachan’s Life

j strachanOne of the most beautiful principles of life is that of learning to share each other’s burdens. When we focus on helping others with their problems instead of stressing over ours, we almost always wind up finding solutions to their problems as well as ours. Jonathan Wynn-Strachan found this out early on.

Strachan, 21, had little money and was living out of a one-bedroom motel room with his family, when one day, he heard a song that changed his entire perspective, and ended up making a move that changed his life. 

That song was Nat King Cole’s “Smile,” and it made Strachan realize that he needed to stop brooding over his own situation and instead find a way to help others who were worse off.

“For me, music was more than just a pastime,” he said in a TEDx talk in 2015. “Music was my source of sanity.”

A Life-Changing Step

Strachan founded  60 Minutes of Art, a community service organization led by students that provides arts education to schools located in inner-city neighborhoods. He started out by sending roughly 2,000 emails requesting funding for art supplies which he would use to teach his first class.

He was rejected hundreds of times, but finally, one day, he received a box of supplies from a donor along with a note that was simple, but inspiring. It read, “Change the world with these supplies.”

In his first hour-long class, Strachan taught just 25 people. Fast forward a few years later, and the program has been incorporated into eight schools across Miami-Dade County.

Achievements and Goals

In 2016, 60 Minutes of Art served over  500 meals to homeless women and children on New Year’s Eve. In 2017, the organization plans to launch the Gardens of Hope initiative, through which they will plant fruit and vegetable gardens in Miami to help the homeless community.

Strachan’s end goal is to open a “one-stop shop for homeless families,” which will make rehabilitation resources available to the community. He told The Root,

“I believe arts education is extremely important for a multitude of reasons. I experienced firsthand the impact art as a whole had on my life and aim to instill the same significance through my nonprofit.”

By: Danielle Dixon

Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani

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