About Rightside Shirts.
Rightside Shirts is a 501(c)3 non-profit on a mission to empower young artists, promote creativity, and fund youth art education.
Watch the video below to learn more about Rightside Shirts and why we're committed to youth art education.
Dylan and I both did well in school. We graduated high school near the top of our respective classes and completed Boston College in similar fashion, each receiving job offers from high-profile firms. From the outside looking in, our educations served us well, adequately preparing us for the “real world.” Our parents were ecstatic at the job offers, our teachers proud, but instead of feeling accomplished, we felt an unidentifiable emptiness. Was this our reward for doing well in school? If so, then something seemed to be missing.
We were soon able to recognize this existential confusion as we started more and more to see ourselves as products of our education system. Sure, we did well in school, but school was not teaching us the right subjects. We were fed facts and formulas and could fill in a Scantron with the best of them, but what our education lacked was that essential yet far too overlooked skill: creativity.
While this skill can be nurtured and applied in any academic discipline, its best suitor is the arts, which is an absolutely vital aspect of academic achievement. Studies show that students who regularly participate in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair, and three times more likely to be elected to class office. Art is also inspiring, empowering, and a necessary expressive outlet for students who simply have trouble relating to the methods of mainstream education. An arts education, then, is a necessary complement to any curriculum.
This is problematic because arts education is at the bottom of the academic hierarchy, pushed aside to make room for more “practical” subjects like math and science. This hierarchy, reinforced by social perceptions, has strayed countless students, including Dylan and myself, away from the arts. Ken Robinson, in the most viewed TED talk of all-time (it can be viewed here) touches on exactly this issue. Other subjects are certainly important, but they are absolutely useless if not combined with a sense of originality and critical thought that an arts education provides.
Despite this, as school budgets tighten, art programs are usually the first to go, exposing a large funding gap for this crucial component in education.
There are two related issues here: a lack of funding, and a lack of exposure. The job offers Dylan and I received seemed desperately unimportant in comparison to these systemic issues. Fueled by our desire to give younger students the education we wish we had, the education younger generations should have, Dylan and I contemplated how to address the problem. As such, Rightside Shirts was born.
We are a self-sustaining non-profit, a social venture making philanthropy easy and fashionable. Our products are by kids, for kids. Our goal is to spread creativity, and we hope you join us for the ride.
- Jeff (Knitter, Juggler, Co-founder)