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Art Expression, Inc.

Rating: 4.97 stars   35 reviews 1,494

Address:

31 Spalding Circle Pittsburgh PA 15228 USA

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.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

412-561-3006
www.artexpressioninc.org

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Reviews for Art Expression, Inc.

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 4 stars  

The children enjoy making the art. Not only was they making art they was also learning at the same time. which made it fun and educational for the children. The instructor work very good with the children. I recommend this program for all children.

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

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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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I am a former Art Teacher for the Pittsburgh City Schools and also for The Children's Institute, a school created to meet the needs of children who are challenged with special needs. Consequently, I have seen various attempts at "inclusion." The goal of inclusion is to have children with special needs feel good about participating in a program with "mainstream children." After all, how can a child learn to function in the "real world" when they are never interacting with children outside of their special ed. setting.
I can honestly say that I have never seen inclusion work as well as it does in Art Expression.
I can also say that every child who participates in Art Expression is getting invaluable gifts that are not available any where else - they are having unique opportunities to express themselves and to feel supported and less isolated. Planting these ego strengthening seeds is priceless and can change a child's life in ways that we can't even measure.
I was an Art Facilitator in this group last spring and I took away 2 images that have stayed with me. One was when my co-facilitator, their 3rd grader teacher, exclaimed that she has never seen her students "this focused." The second image was one of the kids writing on the board,"Art Expression Rocks!' I couldn't agree more.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

like to see it in more schools.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Each year, we bring more innovative programs to life, and as a Board Member and Art Facilitator, I get to see many aspects of the program. The dedication and talent of the adults involved has a ripple effect for students. They sense our enthusiasm and commitment to them, and their personal art process. Seeing their faces each week light up with inspiration, self-awareness and confidence is a joy. I see students enter the program eager but hesitant, maybe even shy and uncertain of themselves and fitting in. By the end of six weeks, I see students who have really bonded with each other and the facilitators. I hear students tell each other, "I met the best friends of my life during Art Expression." When I go back to a school, the students remember me, they show or tell me about what they're working on, they remember the lessons. That's how I know the program meant something to them. I'm only there once a week for six weeks at a time, and they remember! None of this would be possible without Angela Lowden's vision, efforts and her family's support. Angela handles all of the daily operations, as well as assisting on site. We would love to see more funding and staff to support her efforts, or direct donations to the program. Tweet and Like us on Facebook, visit our website and talk to your school or community agency about having Art Expression programs near you!

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

In any newspaper or broadcast, we witness the growing social concern of violence, trauma, bullying, and social exclusion. As an Art Therapist and parent, I know the importance of taking action by using creative problem-solving, kindness, and inspiration. The Art Expression program aims to address underlying causes by reaching students after school, as well as those who are currently in crisis in our shelter programs. We achieve our mission in a fun, interactive way that boosts morale of participants and educators. We help participants to feel good about themselves, empowered to have a voice, encouraged to treat others with respect. We show them how to use art to benefit themselves and society. I walk away from the workshops I do feeling inspired by the student's work. The students "get it", they become more confident artists, and often make new friendships. Those lessons can carry them through life.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add an administrative support base and grant writer to our team. The program has grown exponentially, yet Art Expression's founder, Angela Lowden, still does most of the work herself. Without her, this program would not exist, nor would it have sustained itself all of these years. She deserves a vacation, and a team to support this wonderful organization on a full-time basis.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

It was truly wonderful working with Art Expression in our district's after school program. Inspiring middle school students, particularly boys, to engage in art and open creative space had been an ongoing struggle for several years, but our Art Expression instructors were very innovative in their approach to working with our students. Instead of entering the program with a firm or canned curriculum, the instructors captured the ideas, interests, and needs of our students as a means to determine which materials and projects to engage. For example, we had a lot of boys who did not want to paint, but really enjoyed working with their hands designing clay models and miniature worlds. They then combined all of their creations to make stop animation projects. In another case, many of our students, both boys and girls were dealing with the death of a fellow student due to neighborhood violence. The instructors were able to help our students creatively and therapeutically express themselves through art in a way that was respectful, tactful, and productive.

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Art Expressions has been coming to our facility for a couple years now and we could not be happier! Our agency works with mothers and children experiencing domestic violence and starting anew free of abuse. Our families love the projects Art Expressions brings in and the opportunity it gives for mother/child bonding. They look forward to Art Expression groups and the therapeutic escape it provides. We have had nothing but positive experiences with this agency and highly recommend their services. All of the people are wonderful to work with and strive to make the experiences engaging and memorable for our families. Art Expressions would be a positive program for any school or agency.

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Art Expressions is a remarkable approach to teaching real-world concepts with art as the vehicle. The program serves children and young people by creating an atmosphere that promotes healthy learning and social relationships. Art Expressions is a wonderful opportunity for students to not only create something, but learn how to reflect and communicate their unique ideas and thought patterns. The Art Expressions faculty are well-organized, prepared, and devoted to fostering high-thinking learners and future contributors of society. I would strongly recommend the program and hope to have Art Expressions return to my district for years to come!

 
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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

During elementary and middle school, I was a student in the Art Expression program. Now, as a senior in high school, I have volunteered with the program for several years. Art Expression has helped me become who I am today.

In elementary school, Art Expression boosted my self-esteem and confidence. Each session provides a "safe space" for students to feel free to speak openly, express themselves, and be accepted. As a student in the program, I looked forward to every session and can even still remember specific projects I created as far back as first grade--a colorful scarf, massive painting of a cave, and decorated box, to name a few.

In middle school, Art Expression sessions additionally gave me the opportunity to develop my communication skills as my fellow students and I collaborated and bonded over our love of creating art.

Art Expression is a unique and impactful organization that I know can benefit any school and any child. I look forward to seeing the organization continue to grow and touch more children in the future.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Art Expression has demonstrated kindness, creativity, and engagement with the at risk youth they serve during the Service Access for Youth program. Each session is tailored to the youth as artists, empowering them to explore their artistic process and express themselves in a tangible way. Art Expression provides a safe space where the youth not only have access to materials and new techniques, but they facilitate meaningful discussions. I can not say how grateful I am to have Art Expression (specifically Jen and Julie) participate in the SAY collaboration.

 
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