Free Arts Minnesota
is a non-profit organization that brings the healing power of artistic expression to the at-risk youth of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding areas.
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The Art Heals! Breakfast recently provided by Free Arts Minnesota was a memorable and meaningful occasion on many levels. As volunteer service specialist for Catholic Charities Children’s Services Division, I am also an art major and an advocate for the healing power of partnered creativity for children at risk. I am also very passionate about Free Arts!
I was not prepared, however, for the emotionally uplifting impact that I felt listening to the words of a young teen whose outlook on life and whose personal survival have been a result of her valued connection to Free Arts Minnesota.
Art truly heals! It has for Tia. Her story of having overcome egregiously horrific childhood abuse to find help and hope in the company of the caring volunteers of Free Arts Minnesota, moved me to tears. Her history of having been labeled a failure and her ultimate triumph as a straight A student, gave me renewed optimism for today’s children being served by Free Arts. Tia is a beautiful and accomplished young woman, and so much more. She is an amazing inspiration to those of us who work with children who are most in need. We need Free Arts Minnesota. I am grateful for the opportunity of attending your wonderful breakfast.
Volunteer Services Specialist
A lovely card and words of wisdom from our Fall Intern, Randa. She’s now traveling in Ecuador! We miss you and hope to see you again this summer!
“We started out talking about a few social justice issues, and asked them to chime in when they thought of things they would like to change in their community. One kid did mention that he would like to “stop the snitchin” and “get rid of police” but didn’t paint that on his shirt. Instead he used a crown stencil. Many of the shirts were inspiring. A lot of peace and love, hearts, one GLBT shirt, one Respect Your Body Shirt. It was great! I think the fact that we were making something wearable really appealed to them. Also, the fact that stencils make things look professional, makes it a very rewarding technique. They were totally into it. The spray fabric paint was the best.” Team Lead Carrie Scott from The Bridge for Youth
January is National Mentoring Month! It is gratifying to know you made a difference in a child’s day. Become a mentor with Free Arts!
I’ve been an intern at Free Arts MN for two weeks now and there are a couple things that have become increasingly clear:
1. Anything can be an inspiration for art. On every wall that Free Arts calls its office, there are framed works of art by kids. You can tell that each child started out doing the same project with the same prompt, but the end results vary from poetry to painting to photography.
2. Getting things accomplished at a nonprofit is painfully slow because it takes meeting after meeting and approval after approval to get an idea off the ground and launched into our community. For example, last week at the programming meeting, we brainstormed ideas for a new healthy eating curriculum. Edible arrangements? Food illustration? Veggie dance with Dan? The possibilities are endless. The important thing is that everyone keeps doing it, they keep coming back everyday with the energy to make it happen.
Yesterday, we regrouped. At my second programming meeting, the list of items to discuss was double what it was the first day, resulting in a meeting that lasted over two hours. Remember what I was saying about this kind of work? As we discussed volunteer survey questions, grant applications, and the like, one very simple thing struck me: always include art.
We were talking about fruit and vegetables— things you chop up willy nilly and throw in a salad for a quick and healthy dinner. We weren’t talking about an art event or an art supply drive. And yet, in the middle of all our suggestions (some better than others), Dan reminded us to “always include art.” How could we make this new healthy eating curriculum fun, practical, AND artistic?
It was inspiration enough for me: always include art daliy. In sports and activities, volunteering opportunities, as we sing(ish) along to the radio, as we doodle in meetings or classes… it’s all art, and it’s all up for interpretation. So the next time you’re bored in class, stuck in traffic, struggling with a family member, think about how you can include art in the solution and I promise you: it will never be a waste of time or energy.
January 11th is I am a Mentor Day! Free Arts is proud of its 300 volunteers who, through art, collectively mentor over 4000 kids in the Twin Cities area. What better way to celebrate National Mentoring Month than by becoming one yourself?! Mentor Pa Nhia Lee speaks to the gratitude that mentoring can bring:
“They have dreams and goals that they all want to accomplish. Being able to see their development through art has made me realized that ‘ART HEALS’ and helps create a better, stronger community for kids and teens.”
Need more inspiration? Already a mentor? Talk about it! This facebook page is a forum for talking about your experience and finding out about new ones.
Proof that being a mentor is awesome.
Photo reblogged from a collection of chemicals
Art makes life worthwhile, yo.
Even PostSecreters experience the healing of art.
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