Madhubani lies in the Indian state of Bihar. There are several artists in the Ranti and Jitwarpur villages of this district who paint for a living. More than six thousand people here are practicing the craft. Earlier, the painters did not exhibit their work to anyone. What really led them to share their work with the larger world was a major ecological economic crisis the resulted from a prolonged drought in 1966-68 that struck Madhubani. In order to create a new source of non-agricultural income, the All-India Handicrafts Board encouraged the artists to produce their traditional paintings on handmade paper for commercial sale. Shilp Sangh, a Jiyo!-Jeevika initiative, implemented by The Asian Heritage Foundation in this village is a platform for the women artists to showcase their work and develop new designs. It is a self-supporting cooperative. Mithila Art Institute was established in Madhubani in 1980 by The Ethnic Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization, dedicated to encouraging, training and creating opportunities for the younger generation of the talented Mithila painters.The Institute provides free instruction, working and exhibit space, materials, and a supportive community for these artists. The major emphasis is on developing their painterly skills and imaginations, while retaining a rootedness in Mithila traditions and aesthetics.