It’s Nutcase Unframed season – we’re using every means we can think of to reach a wide range of international artists to entice them to enter our helmet art design contest. (If this is YOU, go straight here to get the contest details.)

In the mounting excitement of looking at the helmet art submissions as they come into our e-mail inbox, it’s easy to forget for a moment what might be the most important component of this campaign – i.e. the giveback.

When we conceived Unframed, what we set out to do was make great art more visible. That was our vision. And what we quickly realized is that working with artists and watching art in action is its own reward – that demonstration of raw creativity is exciting as well as uplifting.

What really multiplies that uplift, though, is art in the service of humanity, which is why we added  World Bicycle Relief (WBR) as a key partner in our Unframed campaign.

We love what they do – mobilizing people through the power of bicycles – and we’ve had a ton of fun working with the WBR teams, so it truly is a fruitful partnership.

“What initially got us so excited about Unframed was the collaboration with a brand that has so much personality behind it,” said Katie Bolling, development director of WBR.


Katie Bolling, WBR

What neither Nutcase nor WBR realized before our first (2014) Unframed campaign, however, is how enthusiastically the idea of live artists at the Eurobike and Interbike bicycle trade shows would be received.

Bolling said WBR was thrilled not only by the awareness Unframed raised in the show-going public, but also by the knowledge of how many bicycles would get on the ground from the auctioning of the artists’ work produced at the shows. (A donation of $134 to WBR will currently, with matching donors in place, allow two custom-designed bikes to get to their new owners in one of ten program sites in Southern Africa. Find out more through this video.)

“Seeing that impact in terms of awareness as well as the more than $7,000 amount raised to date by the sale of the three Unframed artists’ paintings was a very exciting and tangible result,” Bolling said. A second auction of art panels is planned in Europe in February.

Ray Moore, artist in action

Ray Moore, artist in action

Qhubeka, one of WBR’s  partners, connects to domestic artists as it works in South Africa to put more bikes out into the field, and we at Nutcase are definitely looking forward to seeing some of the helmet designs that may emerge from artists in that region.

With just 17 days left for submissions, now is the moment. If you know of an artist – well established or just budding – that might be interested, send them this link.

And stay tuned to this blog next week as we introduce the quirky panel of Nutcases who will review and judge on this year’s entries.