Volunteer in the Arts Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in the Arts

There are countless reasons to volunteer abroad in the arts, and with a wide range of programs available, anyone can find activities that match the international experience they are looking for. Artistic volunteers will find inspiration in the new and vibrant culture that surrounds them as they volunteer in art programs abroad and enjoy connecting with the locals. Whether your goal is to sharpen your own artistic skills or share your passion for art with others, choosing to volunteer in art programs abroad is a decision you won’t regret!

Why Volunteer in Art Programs Abroad

While often used as an all-encompassing term to include dance, drama, music, and more, in the context of art volunteering abroad, art will refer mainly to visual fine art forms. These art forms may range from traditional media, such as drawing or painting, to more developed approaches, including photography. Whether teaching art or engaging in the hands-on creation of artwork, volunteers with have the chance to impact all sorts of populations. Volunteering in art projects abroad may entail working with elementary school children, underprivileged youth, minority populations, or simply those that enjoy art, and life!


African countries, as well as Central and South America, often provide the highest number of options for volunteering in art programs abroad.

South Africa and Zimbabwe are especially popular locations for volunteering in art programs abroad, as these nations have much to offer in terms of programs options and extracurricular activities. Home to countless wildlife reserves and the famous Big Five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros), volunteers looking for slightly more comfortable accommodations and art volunteer placements in wildlife photography need to look no further than these two African countries.

Togo is one of the smallest and poorest countries in Africa, and it is an incredible destination to volunteer in art programs, especially for those looking to make a difference in the lives of locals through art. In this sliver of land in western Africa, volunteers will complement NGO (non-governmental organization) efforts by teaching their artistic skills in orphanages, allowing young artists to develop their talents, gain confidence in their abilities, and possibly learn an income-sustaining craft.

Ghana and Douala are also popular destinations in Africa for volunteers interested in working with children through art programs. Volunteers may find themselves in schools, art centers, orphanages, or out in the community spending time teaching the youth about art (and often about theater, dance, and music as well).

In Latin America, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua are equally great choices for kid-loving volunteers who want to teach art, theater, dance, and music in schools. Guatemala additionally offers volunteers the chance to work with the large Maya population, which makes up 40 percent of the country’s natives. Art programs in Guatemala often work with female artisans to further their craft and grant them market access to Fair Trade options.

Brazil makes the top of the list of South American countries for volunteering in art programs abroad. Brazil offers an especially unique volunteer experience by allowing volunteers to partake in the preparation and celebration of the country’s annual Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. The program cost for participating in this week-long festival will be noticeably higher than other placements, as a result of the flocking tourists, inflated prices, and the Carnaval cost itself, but it will be well worth the expense.

Art Volunteering Abroad

Volunteering in art programs abroad will most often include working in the following placement types: teaching arts and crafting skills, partaking in culture-specific projects, or photography.

Teaching. Teaching arts and crafts skills is the most common form of art volunteering abroad. Volunteers may teach in schools, art centers, or orphanages, and may work with ages ranging from primary school children to adult artisans. Most placements focused on art education involve underprivileged populations, it is especially common to work in schools that can’t afford art teachers or with impoverished women who have limited resources to support their families. Duties may include planning workshops, helping children use art media, or teaching artisan skills, such as pottery or jewelry making. Accommodation for art education volunteers is most often in homestays, and some meals and pre-departure and in-country support is usually provided as well. Volunteer who teach art abroad may also have the chance to work in other areas during their program too.

Projects & Events. Art volunteers who work at cultural events or in community art projects will often need to plan their trip timeline accordingly. Some art programs may have openings for volunteers year-round, while others may happen during specific dates. For example, Brazil’s Carnaval starts forty-six days before Easter each year and lasts for only one week. Though the minimum time commitment for volunteering in art programs abroad is generally two weeks, most programs will offer the opportunity to stay for much longer. Volunteering in art programs focused on specific projects or events will include a range of activities, such as making costumes, decorating floats, or painting educational murals around town.

Photography. Those who choose to volunteer in photography abroad will be able to develop their artistic skills while benefiting local communities in the process. Benefits may be related to conservation, educational development, or general artistic creativity. Volunteers should be sure to read the fine print to ensure they are aware of all the necessary equipment require and whether or not they are responsible for bringing supplies. Volunteer activities may include conducting photography workshops or capturing wildlife shots or volunteers in action. In some African countries, volunteer photographs may even be used for research, wildlife databases, and monitoring animal populations.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Language Lessons. While volunteering in art programs abroad, volunteers will often have the option to take language courses to advance their immersion and learning experience. This is especially common in Central and South American countries.

No Experience Necessary. Volunteers will find that little to no experience is required to volunteer in the arts abroad, above and beyond a passion for the arts and a desire to impact the local community. This means anyone and everyone can volunteer in art programs abroad!

Leave a Lasting Impression. Whether you paint a mural, take a photo, or teach a skill, the impact you make on the community through art volunteering abroad will last much longer than your stay abroad.

Read More
Banner Report 2018

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in the Arts


 Find Arts Volunteer Programs Abroad Now


This listing has been saved 19 times

Volunteer in Childcare in Ghana

The Ghanaian orphanage program seeks to address the numerous problems that many children without proper education, health care, food, love and attention face as a result of their parents not being there for them. Orphans everywhere need care, and volunteers will be placed in either rural or urban environments where they will teach, love and care for these less fortunate children. Volunteers...


This listing has been saved 26 times

South Africa - Cape Town Community Projects

Meet the amazing people who call the settlements surrounding Cape Town home. By joining this project, you will get to make a real difference in the community and in the lives of the children, adults and families living in the area through a variety of ways. The residents of the community are looking to improve their lives and that is exactly the aim of this project. Plus, the project is flex...


This listing has been saved 273 times

Make a REAL difference with Love Volunteers – From US$175!

Love Volunteers' participants will have the chance to travel abroad and experience new cultures all while providing essential support to communities in real need. Join us now! Participate in Love Volunteers' Arts voluntary service projects and have a truly exciting experience volunteering abroad. Check out our exciting program options!


This listing has been saved 9 times

Care Work with Children in Costa Rica with Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad offers the opportunity for volunteers of all ages to join our Care project in Costa Rica, This childcare project is based in day care centers and kindergartens. Based in Heredia and San Jose, volunteers will spend their days at their Care placements, and return to their host family accommodation in the afternoon. At the placement, volunteers typically run educational games and g...


This listing has been saved 15 times

Hospital and Clinic Medical Volunteering, Kenya

Offer an extra pair of hands as a healthcare volunteer in Africa where a small act of kindness will go a long way. Your assistance can have a life-changing effect on the vulnerable, ill and over-burdened communities in Kenya. You will realise that a smile costs nothing but means the world in encouragement and that you are capable of achieving far more than you ever thought possible.


This listing has been saved 12 times

Volunteer in Guatemala. A Life-Changing Experience Abroad!

When you volunteer in Guatemala, you'll be welcomed by the hospitality of the Guatemalan people who are usually mestizo, a mix of Spanish and Maya ancestry, or they are direct descendants of the Maya. Following a military coup in 1954, Guatemala plunged into a brutal 36-year-long civil war between government military forces and left-wing guerilla groups. Though the conflict is now long over,...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Construction Programs—Volunteer in Costa Rica!

Maximo Nivel offers unique volunteer construction projects in Costa Rica. Volunteers work on repairing or building classrooms, community centers, schools. and assisted living facilities. Construction work is physically demanding, including digging, removing dirt, carrying bricks, mixing cement, plastering, painting, cleaning, and various other needs related to construction. Working hours are...


This listing has been saved 4 times

Teaching and Community Assistance in Victoria Falls

Volunteer in teaching and community assistance projects in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The project has a diverse range of activities that volunteers can become involved with. At the orphanage, volunteers will be interacting with children on a daily basis, providing them with extra lessons, playing games with them, and helping to provide one-on-one attention. Volunteers will also have the opportun...


This listing has been saved 16 times

Volunteer in Dublin with Connect-123!

Dedicate your time and skills for a good cause through our numerous volunteering opportunities in Dublin. As a Connect-123 volunteer, you will be placed in one of the many non-profits, clinics, hospitals, and schools we work with around the city. We have a range of placement areas available, allowing you to choose a specific role that needs your specific set of skills. Get the chance to cont...


This listing has been saved 14 times

Volunteer in Oaxaca, Mexico - Adelante Abroad

Make a positive impact in Mexico! Adelante Abroad offers affordable volunteer programs in a wide variety of fields and sectors in Oaxaca, Mexico including ecology internships and social work internships abroad. Oaxaca is one of the most bio-diverse areas in Mexico, known for the craft-work of local artisans. It is also home to warm spirited people and there are plenty of opportunities to give...


This listing has been saved 11 times

Volunteer in the Philippines!

Like any third world country, the Philippines suffers from diseases due to poor hygiene and sanitation brought about by poor awareness programs. This is one of the major issues the country needs to face, and come up with solutions to. A lot of people in rural areas cannot afford to pay for medicines and regular medical check-ups. Volunteer for the Visayans is reaching out to those in need of...


This listing has been saved 11 times

Volunteer Teaching in Kenya

As in many countries, the Kenyan school system is facing many challenges including limited resources, overcrowding and lack of qualified teachers. Volunteers can work at a primary or secondary school in Nakuru. Volunteers will assist by teaching English and other subjects. Volunteers must be prepared for the challenge of working in schools with very limited materials and resources but must also...


This listing has been saved 10 times

Music Volunteering in Costa Rica

Spend your time living on Costa Rica’s breathtaking Pacific Coast and enrich your appreciation of the power of music, and impact local children by volunteering at a local music school. Contribute your skills by giving individual lessons and teaching group music courses to local low-income children. Through volunteering you will give the school and community a great resource and gain an intricat...


This listing has been saved 259 times

Conservation, Community & Adventure Placements Worldwide!

With more than 400 projects worldwide and with 25 years experience of providing ethical travel placements, Frontier can find you the perfect adventure whatever you want to achieve. We offer placements in more than 50 countries including Costa Rica, Madagascar, Fiji and loads more. Here are just some of the options available: Marine Conservation and Diving Travel to beach paradises, scuba...