Outside the Box, Inside the Frame

Char Pribuss, art collector and co-founder of the international organization, Paintbrush Diplomacy, was guest speaker on January 23 at a reception for Menlo College’s first art show of the year, featuring a collection of art created by children. The exhibit, on display in the Menlo College Administration building, includes works from 40 young artists from all over the world. Char shared her story about Paintbrush Diplomacy, a lifelong project that she created together with her husband Rudy, over 30 years ago.

“When my husband and I visited China in the early 1970s, it was very difficult for Americans to get permission to travel there. This was before normalization of relations with Communist China. We brought with us some small pieces of art created by children from the United States just to show them something about our culture,” explained Pribuss. “When our Chinese hosts reciprocated with 60 brush paintings by Chinese children, we cried.”

Paintbrush Diplomacy grew to become a non-profit organization and a San Francisco Bay Area success story. It has facilitated exchanges of art and personal stories between more than 10,000 children across the globe in 100 countries annually. All proceeds go towards furthering their mission to connect people through the arts.