Storytelling and Design for Good
Ras' illustrations, such "Brooklyn Metropolis 1986," capture scenes of urban life. Photo via Facebook.

Capital Canvases for a Cause: Graphic Illustrator Supports YoungLives

Ras' illustrations, such "Brooklyn Metropolis 1986," capture scenes of urban life. Photo via Facebook.

Capital Canvases for a Cause is a monthly event in Washington, D.C., organized by Long & Foster on Capitol Hill, that supports local artists and community-based organizations with wine, hors d’oeuvres and networking. Art sales are split evenly between the featured artists and the nonprofit.

The latest Capital Canvases event featured the artist known as Ras. The self-described “graphic designer by day and an illustrator at night” originally hails from South Dulwich of England, and she came to the D.C. area by way of New York City. For the past eight years, she has been creating graphic prints inspired by the urban environment around her. Ras describes her work as “a hippie creative illustrating her interpretation of the world.” Her client work includes book covers for the author Tinesha Davis, designs for the Metro TeenAIDS organization, logos for small businesses, and personal commissions.

Her focus on community comes through in her images of neighborhood street corners, scenes of ’80s hip hop and vivid colors of graffiti. Most of her work tops out at $20 a print, making the images extremely affordable. A portion of the sales from the Capital Canvases event supported the organization YoungLives, a program dedicated to helping teen moms become productive citizens in the community. The program is an offshoot of Young Life, a non-denominational Christian ministry.

Most of the women in the YoungLives program are victims of abuse and have few examples of successful child-rearing. YoungLives supports them by providing bi-weekly parenting classes, to promote the bond between mother and child with the intention of ending the cycle of abuse. The organization provides job resources, a support network through mentorship, as well as the opportunity to attend summer camp at Lake Champion in New York. The camp builds upon the sense of community from the parenting classes and strengthens the relationships between the young mothers. YoungLives of Washington, D.C. focuses on teen moms from Ward 8 and hopes to cover the expenses for 20 young mothers to attend camp this August.

For more information about future Capital Canvases events, contact Maceo Thomas at MaceoThomas[at] gmail [dot] com.

For more information about YoungLives, visit

For more information on the artist, Ras visit

Maceo Thomas presents the artist Ras at the monthly Capital Canvases for a Cause event. Photo via Facebook.

Article written by:

Claire Sevigny is a freelance writer, social media manager, and jack of all trades. She started working with Benevolent Media during their first annual festival and enjoyed being involved in the local DC community and savored the opportunity to write about social issues. She specializes in events concerning the arts, fashion, and gender parity.


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