Mission: To inspire hope in the lives of children and youth who have experienced abuse, neglect, poverty and homelessness through innovative creative arts programs and positive interactions with caring adult volunteers.
About the Organization: Founded in 1977 in Los Angeles, Free Arts (aka Free Arts for Abused Children) uses art to restore hope, resiliency, and self-esteem in children and youth who have experienced abuse, neglect, poverty, and/or homelessness. The organization pairs children with adult mentors who serve as positive role models and uses "process-oriented" art, including writing, drawing, and painting, to develop and cultivate participants' leadership skills and a belief in a brighter future. The organization currently provides creative arts programs to more than twenty-two thousand children and youth a year through partnerships with homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, housing programs, afterschool programs, and schools serving disadvantaged children.
Current Programs: The organization's programs include Free Arts Mentorship, an eight-week creative arts program in which trained mentors help children discover their strengths ("inner superhero"), develop a sense of mastery, and build a sense of empowerment through various art projects. The Free Arts for Children's Court provides a safe space for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse/or neglect and who must endure long delays when testifying at Edelman Children's Court, where they often have to appear with their abuser(s) in front of the judge. The Free Arts for Families program helps family members forge stronger bonds and improve their interpersonal dynamics through family-centered art projects that typically require eight to twelve weeks to complete. In addition, the organization offers Free Arts Days, one-day events that help communities cope with and rebuild following a traumatic event.
Website: Visitors to the Free Arts site can browse a gallery of artworks and videos from each of the programs, read about the organization's impact and its partners, and/or keep abreast of developments through the Free Arts blog. They also can apply to become a volunteer mentor or learn more about how to support the organization.
Funding: Free Arts is funded by foundations and individuals.