Paint the World began as an experiment. Bethany Halbreich and a few friends wanted to co-create something, so they purchased a few blank canvases and art supplies, and started painting. They found the experience therapeutic and began to think about what a difference this simple activity could make if widely spread.

Our mission’s roots

In August 2015, Bethany decided to experiment with the idea further so she secured large blank canvases and art supplies at an art festival in the Nevada desert. Her aim was to spark spontaneous creativity and bring people together around a collaborative art experience. The set-ups were always left on their own, without supervision, allowing freedom and space for anything to happen. People flocked to the canvases; those who had never painted before and those who were compelled in the moment to feel their creativity take over the direction of the paintbrush. Observing this experience manifest and watching the creativity it inspired made Bethany think of all the possibilities that could evolve. She thought: What if we scaled this? What if a blank canvas appeared in communities that have limited access to art supplies & art education?

Our people

Bethany Halbreich

Founder & President

Bethany Halbreich believes in leveraging the power of creative innovation to affect global social progress. She has most recently directed the operations of THINK Global School, the world’s first and only traveling high school, to empower the next generation of leaders through travel and cultural immersion. Before that, Bethany worked at one of America’s most-esteemed therapeutic communities for addiction rehabilitation in Tucson, Arizona, directing various projects that harnessed the Native American communities’ entrepreneurial potential. Bethany has also worked with the Thai Royal Family’s Foundation on integrating a financial literacy curriculum in rural high schools, on entrepreneurial youth empowerment with Ashoka and Do Something, and on coordinating a social impact incubator for University of Pennsylvania current students and alum. Bethany received her B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, concentrating in Sustainable Development, Entrepreneurship and Global Initiative, and conducting research on the creative process. She is now pursuing an M.S.Ed. in Education Entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as several exciting passion projects that revolve around advancing cross-cultural understanding and unlocking the world’s creative potential.

For more:

Abigail Kaage

Founding Team Member

Abigail Kaage is a visual artist interested in gaining new perspectives and in understanding the connections between all matter in the universe. Integrating ideas from science, religion, and philosophy, Abigail illustrates these connections by arranging familiar subjects in unusual, sometimes nonsensical compositions. Committed to increasing the beauty in our lives, she seeks projects that bring art to large audiences.Abigail earned her B.A. at Beloit College where she concentrated on fine art, but also extensively studied art history, feminism, philosophy, anthropology, and writing. After receiving her degree, Abigail moved to Boise, ID and began developing her practice as an artist. She completed her first mural in Boise and instantly fell in love with public art. Since relocating to Brooklyn, NY she has assisted with several large-scale murals and she has completed a few of her own street art pieces. With a life long commitment to community development; the belief that engaging the creative brain benefits an individual in innumerable ways; and with a sincere desire to inspire others to use their creativity, Abigail has joined Paint the World, a nonprofit organization that brings collaborative creative events to communities and organizations globally. As a Founding Team Member, Abigail is currently concentrated on developing the project and is excited to see what its vast potential can do.

Andrew Casarsa

Founding Team Member

Andrew Casarsa is a New York State barred attorney with a background in project management, engagement consulting, marketing, and communications. He earned his B.A. at Bucknell University, concentrating in environmental studies, sociology and philosophy. He earned his Juris Doctor at New York Law School, where he focused on intellectual property, entrepreneurial, and business law.

Andrew is passionate about enacting social change through the arts. He has worked with the New York State Division of Human Rights and has volunteered with the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts as well as with the Copyright Society of the United States of America. Andrew has most recently worked as a production manager and previously special projects fellow at New York Law School. Prior to that he was an operations manager at Casarsa Designs. Andrew has always been inspired by a desire to understand how people come together to achieve great things. He believes that truly profound innovations are born out of collaboration.

An ardent supporter of exchanging experiences and ideas, Andrew loves traveling and learning about the communities he visits. From attending a traditional Khmer wedding in a small Cambodian village to installing an internship program at Dacheng LLC while serving as a law clerk, and from supporting local artists in NYC, Andrew has come to understand that gaining new perspectives is one of the cornerstones of a fulfilled life.

Our advisors

Sofia Del Rivero

ArtBox Miami

Cyndi Stivers

Advisor to TED & Acumen

Shoshanna Fischhoff

SF Story Lab & WWD

Joel Dichter

Dichter Law

Our partners & supporters