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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services

Mission: The Art Expression Inc. mission is to facilitate positive socialization through expressive art activities and provide academic enrichment in an inclusive educational environment.

Results: Who Are We? Art Expression, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization that was founded by James and Angela Lowden in 2001 as an expression of their passion for alleviating the social inequalities that exist among children of different abilities. It is a fully inclusive, after-school program that focuses on developing the social skills of children through art in the Pittsburgh area. Mission Statement: "To facilitate positive socialization with children and adolescents through expressive art activities in an inclusive educational environment." Who Do We Serve? Since founding Art Expression, Inc. the organization has served over 5,000 children in Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. Some of our partners include: School Districts  Allegheny Valley School District  Central Greene School District  Charleroi School District  Chartiers Valley School District  Frazier School District  Greensburg Salem School District  Keystone Oaks School District  Laurel Highlands School District  Mt. Lebanon School District  South Allegheny School District  Trinity Area School District  Wilkinsburg School District  Woodland Hills School District Community Organizations  Carnegie Library of Homestead  East End United Community Center, Uniontown  Homeless Children's Education Fund  Military Family Network  Operation Military Kids Awards and Recognition 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NAHYP) Finalist Art Expression, Inc. was chosen as one of 50 finalists distinguishing the program as one of the top arts- and humanities- based programs in the country. Art Expression, Inc. has received a 2013 NAHYP Award Certificate of Excellence. American Association of School Administrators & American Art Therapy Association 2011 Model Art Therapy Programs in K-12 Schools. Program Goals The goals of Art Expression, Inc. are as follows :  Increase self-esteem and creative self-expression as evidenced by participants' ability to express and verbalize their feelings  Enhance social skills as evidenced by age-appropriate skills including ability to observe personal space of others, ability to share materials, ability to listen reflectively and comment positively on projects and ideas of other participants  Improve problem-solving skills as evidenced by participants’ ability to identify and communicate a problem, develop a solution, seek assistance if needed, and evaluate the outcome  Improve frustration tolerance as evidenced by participant ability to apply problem-solving skills  Establish independence as evidenced by participants' ability to present themselves in an appropriate manner  Provide the social skills and tools necessary to participants to support themselves or others when being bullied  Provide a program to participants which supports academic core standards

Target demographics: improve social skills and provide academic enrichment through art in an inclusive educational environment..

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 1,000 students.

Geographic areas served: schools, homeless shelters and community organizations

Programs: Creative pARTners, From the HeART, ARTchitecture: Building Bridges, ARTmosphere: Weather, EcoSmART, StART Growing, and ARTS in Motion.

Community Stories

49 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Art Expression, Inc. does exceptional work engaging children and youth through art to increase their social skills, self awareness and respect for others. The organization is to be commended for its role in reaching out to those communities where children and youth may be dislocated, disenfranchised and/or left behind due to unfortunate circumstances like homelessness. Art Expression, Inc. lets kids know they matter and gives them expression through their artwork to be seen and heard. Thank you, Art Expression!

Comments ( 1 )

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

Thank you!!!

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a senior officer of Military Family Network™ and a board member with Art Expression, Inc. I have twenty years of experience working with the military community increasing their readiness, well being and resiliency to meet the challenges presented by military life.

When I was introduced to Art Expression, I knew right away the significance of its work and the value of its programs for military children.

Military children are not immune to the challenges of military life. Prolonged separations from a parent and/or caregiver, disturbances to routine and living with uncertainty during war can have unintended adverse consequences on children and their development. Some of these consequences are: age regression; separation anxiety; delayed skill development; acting out and other negative behaviors; anger; depression; and isolation. Most alarming, perhaps, is that a military child is at risk of losing one grade level in school due to a parent's and/or caregiver's service in the military.

In light of these findings, the military has sought to support its children by focusing on building resiliency, increasing well being especially in schools and easing periods of potential stress and disruption for families during transitions like deployment and reunification.

Programs offered by Art Expression are ideal in meeting these needs.

Military Family Network™ has witnessed deliberate and thoughtful sessions constructed and delivered by caring Art Therapists and facilitators; art rooms buzzing with kids' frenetic energy and whirls of creativity; respectful peer-to-peer engagement and support that blossoms both friendships and confidence; and, the look of achievement on faces brimming with pride.

Art Expression delivers fun and interactive art activities that bolster kids' sense of self, feelings of worth, connection, value and security - or, precisely what military children need.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I served on the Art Expression Board for many years. The services offered are exceptional and I have personally seen the positive results of the work with students who are in the program.

The program is delivered by certified art therapists and the cognitive and social benefits that accrue to the students in this program are exceptional.

Comments ( 1 )

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a Board Member of Art Expression, Inc. It is truly a wonderful organization that works hard to provide children with excellent opportunities to socialize with their peers using the arts as a catalyst. The therapist are top notch in working the children. Everyone works hard to ensure that children receive excellent services.

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

Many thanks for your review.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I became familiar with Art Expression at least four years ago and worked with Angela to learn about after-school programs and offer them in the district where I served as superintendent. Art Expression provides opportunities for children of all ages and abilities through an interdisciplinary, engaging approach that is customized for each learner. One program was piloted initially at the upper elementary level successfully. And because of the partnership with students, staff and parents that developed quickly, there was a strong desire from many to grow the program, which eventually became an option throughout the K-12 system. Art Expression provides high-quality programming that demonstrates extraordinary planning and extraordinary results.

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

Thank you so much for this lovely review. Your words are very encouraging and gratifying. We are honored to have served (and still serve!) the students in your former school district.

Client Served

Rating: 5

For a second year, our out-of-school program chose Art Expression, Inc. for arts activities for the Summer Enrichment Series. For six consecutive Thursdays, our students, ages 7-17, enjoyed journaling, exploring their emotions and expressing themselves in a unique project. It was great fun to see the end results of the creative processes. As an administrator, I have to add that Angela and all of her instructors are professionals and a pleasure to work with.

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

Thank you for your kind words! We are honored to work with the youth in your program and hope to continue our relationship again next year and beyond. You and your staff are also a pleasure to work with!

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Client Served

Rating: 5

One of our volunteers was so impressed with the work of Art Expression, Inc. at another nonprofit she supported, that she confidently provided the funding for Art Expression in our Summer Enrichment Series for our out-of-school program. The kids loved each week's art adventure. In particular, I was thrilled that our instructor, Miss Cheryl, tweaked the projects to coincide with our pirate play, creating backdrops, props and costumes. More importantly, she recognized the needs of each child and handled those with special needs expertly. Art Expression made our summer perfect.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Art Expression is truly an incredible organization that has such a positive influence on the children they work with. I have been able to be a part of their after-school program and the best part is witnessing the creativity and watching the students get excited about their art. I have seen students who, at first, seem uninterested then get involved with the art and all of a sudden, they open up with so much to say! It is really wonderful to experience that and is just one of the reasons Art Expression Inc. deserves a top rating in every way.

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

Thank you so much for this review and for your kind words. We really appreciate all you have been contributing to our organization! It's been a pleasure getting to know you!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of working for Art Expression Inc. the past five years and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve a variety of children and their families. I can't say enough positive things about the founder Angela. She she is incredibly passionate about bringing art to children in a positive and supportive environment. I have also enjoyed seeing how much the program has grown and adapted so that it can continue to touch as many individuals as possible.

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

Thank you so much for your kind words. You have played a huge role in our growth during the past few years and I can say enough about how much you are valued by this organization. It is truly a pleasure to work with you.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Art Expression Inc. is truly a unquie experience for both staff and participants involved. With many of the art programs struggling in schools currently children need a place where they can confidently express themselves and find their inner artists. Not only does the program provide a variety of creative experiences but it also helps children learn about themselves as an indiviudal and as part of a group. This program continues to evolve, serve, and provide a postive outlook for our local communities.

Erieotter

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Art Expression since its inception. Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with many dedicated, selfless individuals devoting their time and energy to helping children find their true personalities and gifts through the social settings provided by the Art Expression programs. Growing up I was blessed to have a loving family and acceptance by my peers. I am saddened when I hear of the issues that young children face today, but proud of this organization's mission to provide a safe, nurturing environment for these children.

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

Thank you for these lovely thoughts. You clearly "get" what we do and your kind words of encouragement are very much appreciated!

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I originally got involved with Art Expression Inc. as a financial advisor. I was asked to be a Board Member because of my skill set. I had no previous experience with organizations helping children and having no children of my own, I looked at this as more of a business related function. As time progressed, although I had never personally attended one of Art Expression's sessions, I was able to see the results of the dedication of the art therapists and facilitators through videos and personal testimonials of the children attending the sessions. It was heart warming to see children developing a sense of self and building self confidence through the projects and interaction with other children. It was only recently, when I heard a personal testimonial from a prior student, that I remembered being extremely shy growing up and realizing that Art Expression is providing a vehicle to help children overcome self consciousness and provide a safe, nurturing environment where they can just be themselves.

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1 Beth113

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Art Expression is a unique experience - it's easier to fully appreciate it when you see it in action. As an Art Expression facilitator, I do get to see it in action, so let me describe to you one of the priceless experiences that occurred last spring with a 4th grade student. By the end of our second class, he said to me "I never thought I was good at art but I am!" On the last day of our work shop, he confided to me that when he grows up, he wants to be an art teacher. Whether or not he becomes an art teacher is not the crucial point. The real point is that this work shop gave him the very priceless gift of experiencing SUCCESS. It's such a joy to see a child go from tentatively trying something to feeling really good about what he has done.
I get to see this sort of thing in every Art Expression Work Shop. The children are so animated, so focused, so joyful. These work shops are geared to enable every child to feel success. I really think that an experience of success is one of the most valuable things we can give to a child - it's a building block that can catapult him on doing better in all areas of his life.

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

Thank you so much for this thoughtful review and for your kind words about the organization. Your contributions to the success of our program have been immense and you continue to do such great work with the children. I really appreciate your taking the time to write this, as I appreciate all you do! It is a pleasure to have you as part of our team.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am an Art Therapist, relatively new to Art Expression. Prior to working at Art Expression, I worked as an Art Teacher for the Pittsburgh City Schools and at The Children's Institute, a school devoted to Special Education students. During my career, I have been on both sides of Special Education - at The Children's Institute I worked exclusively with Special Education students, while at the Pittsburgh City Schools, I was called upon to practice "Inclusion" - that is to incorporate Special Ed. students into the "Mainstream" classes of students. One of the things I value most about Art Expression is how successful we are at Inclusion. A typical Art Expression after school work shop is comprised of 10 Mainstream children and 5 Special Ed. children. In all my years in this field, I have never seen Inclusion work as well as it does in Art Expression. I have so many examples of this - from a parent of a Life Skills student writing to us to say that her little girl was, for the first time, experiencing success in Art Making to an Autistic boy who went from communicating only by whispering to standing in front of the entire group and sharing what he had created. This is a program that plants a seed of success for these kids - it is truly an exemplary model for Inclusion.

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Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Art Expression provides high quality and engaging programming. Happy to have worked with this organization for several years.

Comments ( 1 )

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AMLowden 11/02/2016

Thank you so much for the review!