April 8, 2020

Using Arts to Heal & Bring Joy

For award-winning artist Kunle Adewale, going to college seemed like a distant dream. "I never thought I would go to college. My dad told me what I can’t be and what I can’t do. But I said, 'No, I want to go to college.' [I took the college exam] Seven times in seven years. If I had given up, I would have never met President Barack Obama," he told us. 

Kunle, who is currently in San Francisco as an Atlantic Fellow for the Global Brain Institute, credits his Mandela Washington Fellowship for giving him exposure to a bigger world and opening doors. During his appearance on Mentor Talks on April 15, 2020, Kunle recalled seeing friends who had big-time jobs driving expensive cars. 

"But life is not about what you drive -- it's about what drives you," Kunle told us. "And what drives me is making the world a better place." Kunle's passion for using arts to improve community well-being and health also drives him. As CEO of Tender Arts Nigeria, Kunle has impacted over 15,000 people through his arts in medicine programs in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States.

Learn more about Kunle's story, his latest Arts in Medicine Project in response to COVID-19, #ArtResponds, and why he says "the future is not cut and paste" on this episode of MentorTalks, which you can watch above or on our Facebook page, @internationalexchangealumni.

Kunle Adewale, CEO/Creative Director, Tender Arts Nigeria

Kunle Adewale is a development practitioner and an artist by profession. With over a decade experience as an artist and in education, Kunle founded Tender Arts Nigeria in 2013, a social enterprise which positively impacts children, youth and adults by focusing on art education, talent development, and civic engagement. He has impacted over 15,000 beneficiaries through his art programs in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and the United States. Kunle is an alumnus of the Mandela Washington Fellowship program, and was recently shortlisted by the World Bank as one of the 68 Social Inclusion Heroes from all over the world, as the only World Bank Social Inclusion Hero from Nigeria.

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