“Acts of kindness show us that positive things can be done during negative times,” says high schooler Ethan Sutton. “People can still do impactful acts for others.”
It is with that call to compassion that Sutton turned his focus toward helping artists in Westchester. “I am a filmmaker and my family has always supported the arts,” he explains.
Sutton says that when he heard about ArtsWestchester’s Artist Relief Fund, which awards grants of $500 to artists who have been negatively affected by the pandemic, and read the statistics about the devastating impact of the pandemic on the arts community, he wanted to help. He formed a website and GoFundMe account, “Ethan’s Random Acts of Sweetness,” and named ArtsWestchester’s Relief Fund as the beneficiary of any monies raised.
Pointing to the fact that 63% of American artists are now unemployed, Sutton’s GoFundMe page explains that “Westchester County is home to many struggling artists who are unable to pay for rent, food, medical visits and the supplies they need to continue making the art that shapes the American culture we know and enjoy today.”
In addition to raising funds for artists, Sutton is encouraging and rewarding other acts of kindness. “I took on baking as a hobby during the pandemic, inspired by my family’s passed-down recipes.” Sutton explains that anyone who submits evidence of an act of kindness during the pandemic will be entered into a lottery for the chance to win some of his homemade baked goods.
The submitted kind acts will also be posted to the dedicated Facebook account he created for the project. “I want people to enjoy my baked goods as much as my family does, so this will be another way of demonstrating a random act of kindness.”
His favorite thing to bake? “Chocolate maple babka.”
A version of this article first appeared in the April issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.