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October 14, 2014

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1 previous review
August 22, 2013

In my extensive involvement in public education I often struggled with our inability to make profound connections with All of our students. Art Expression, by its design and implementation, creates ... more

October 14, 2014

Glenn Smartschan

I have been involved with Art Expression since its inception. First, as Superintendent of Schools in Mt. Lebanon, when Art Expression opened its first after school class in Mt. Lebanon schools, and now as a board member.

Art Expression has helped hundreds of
students find a voice and an identity through the arts. As a result of the program I have witnessed students dramatically improve their interpersonal relationships with their peers and use the Art Expression experience to enhance academic performance.

I am proud to be a member of the Board and to be a part of a program which has changed the lives of many students.
August 22, 2013

In my extensive involvement in public education I often struggled with our inability to make profound connections with All of our students. Art Expression, by its design and implementation, creates unique opportunities for young people to grow socially, emotionally and academically through exposure and participation in the ARTS.

More feedback...

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?

2013

October 14, 2014

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October 14, 2014

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.
October 8, 2014

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October 8, 2014

My daughter was only a couple of years into elementary school when she began taking after-school classes through the Art Expression program. Her self-confidence and creativity grew as she continued through the program over the years. I would encourage any parent to give their child the gift of Art Expression.
October 7, 2014

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October 7, 2014

I began the Art Expression program in the Mt. Lebanon School District when I was just in first grade. From the start, I looked forward to each session, wondering what sort of project we would be working on. Even though I did not know many of the other students in the program going in, I was glad to be with each one of them by the end of six weeks. Everyone was very positive and friendly--even the fifth-graders complimented my clay dog! I loved the program so much that I continued throughout elementary school and middle school!
I found pleasure in the freedom that came with the middle-school program format. I could harness all of my energy into multiple projects--working on a plaster mask, watercolor painting, and a card for a friend all in the same session! I was never the “Picasso” or “Rembrandt” of the group during my sessions, but I still took pride in the work I created. All students--artistic or not--were fueled by the positivity and encouragement in the room.
Throughout elementary and middle school, the program boosted my self-esteem and confidence. By the time eighth-grade was wrapping up, I believed I had grown into a more certain leader. Inside and outside the art room, I felt as though I did not need others’ approval and was more comfortable with myself.
Now, I help out as a volunteer for the program. My experience with Art Expression has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my life. I am very grateful to this exceptional organization and would encourage parents and schools to get their kids involved and support this program in any way possible.
October 1, 2014

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October 1, 2014

I am a facilitator with the Art Expression program at 2 different elementary schools in Mt. Lebanon.
The students are so accepting of each other and appreciative of the art work that this fully inclusive program is a joy to assist with.
September 29, 2014

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1 previous review
September 27, 2011

It is rare in ones life to find something that one can be truly passionate about and I consider myself lucky to have been fortunate enough to have found Art Expression Incorporated. This organization... more

September 29, 2014

It is rare in one’s life to find something that one can be an advocate for and I consider myself fortunate to have found Art Expression Incorporated. This organization is a unique program that utilizes my personal passions of art therapy, helping children, and volunteering for a wonderful cause. Being a board member since its nonprofit inception has been one of the best experiences of my life. I consider myself lucky to be a part of a team of like minded individuals, whose ultimate goal is to help others. The positive results of the program are seen in participant’s behaviors, attitudes, and personal stories. I have seen the program grow and change over the last few years to help not only those in schools but also within the military, homeless shelters, and within various community based programs. Even with its expansions it continues to hold its core principals and ideals closely. I look forward to seeing the program grows, expands, and changes in the coming years.
September 27, 2011

It is rare in ones life to find something that one can be truly passionate about and I consider myself lucky to have been fortunate enough to have found Art Expression Incorporated. This organization is a one of a kind program that utilizes my passion of art therapy within school systems. What makes this program unique is that it is an inclusive (having both regular and special education students) social skill building program. It is run by a master level art therapist and school facilitators within the school building; the place where most socialization occurs. Students use both directive and open studio approaches to expressive themselves in distinctive ways. The programs goals include increase in self esteem, increase in positive socialization techniques, use of problem solving steps, and better tolerance of anger frustration. The positive results of the program are seen in students behaviors, attitudes, and personal stories.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the testimonials I have received from parents/ student/ teachers, observable positive peer interactions, observable decrease in negative behaviors.

Ways to make it better...

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

continue to grow and make positive changes to better meet the overall goals of the program.

September 23, 2014

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September 23, 2014

As Art Expression begins its fifth year in the Keystone Oaks School District, the enthusiasm of the students participating in this after-school program continues to be strong. Opportunities to engage in creative art activities provided in an inclusive environment enhances the social and academic growth of our students! The program not only encourages creative development, and supports academic/creative arts standards, but also provides opportunities for students to be supportive of one another and share their own perspective, while learning to understand the perspectives of their peers. As both a District Administrator and an Art Expression Board member, I value the program on both levels for its contributions to Keystone Oaks School District.
September 23, 2014

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1 previous review
October 18, 2013

Having followed the progression of Art Expression over the last 3 years from an outsider and nonprofit blogger perspective, I can’t say enough about the work that Art Expression does. Coming from m... more

September 23, 2014

I knew when I was invited to join the Art Expression Board of Directors that I already connected with the mission and guiding principles of the organization. Overall, Art Expression, Inc. is motivated to provide programs that ‘facilitate positive socialization with children and adolescents through expressive art activities in an inclusive educational environment.”

It wasn’t until I became involved with the board that I realized this was so much more. To hear the positive statements of children finding their creativity and passion, growing in confidence both artistically and personally, and navigating the realm of positive socialization and peer to peer interaction because of the impact Art Expression is making in their lives renews a commitment to the work that Art Expression does in the schools and the community programs we service.

As a Music Therapist, writer, and social media manager, I have worked with many organizations and groups that do great work in the Pittsburgh area. Bringing those tools to the board and learning more in-depth about the work of Art Expression have been an exciting endeavor and I am proud of my association with the members of the board and the staff of Art Expression.

I encourage all artists, creative types, parents and school administrators, and those interested in bringing positive social tools through art, youth-focused groups who support inclusive programming, and community-based businesses who support youth and educational programs to learn more about the work our Masters level Art Therapists facilitate with these students and children through the many programs Art Expression offers. You won’t be disappointed.

Melissa Carey
October 18, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

Having followed the progression of Art Expression over the last 3 years from an outsider and nonprofit blogger perspective, I can’t say enough about the work that Art Expression does. Coming from my background in Music Therapy, I value the impact of their work using art to develop positive social interaction, self-esteem, and creativity in our youth in a fully inclusive environment. When you speak with those involved with the organization, you can feel the passion, intensity, intelligence, and devotion they have for providing the services they offer. The organization has established a range of programs, integrating artistic mediums with science and technology, math, environmental issues, and emotional well-being. What is also impressive, is that Art Expression works well with others – aligning their programming with educational core standards accessing teacher input; connecting with other organizations to combine projects, such as with the Toonseum, Operation Military Kids, and the Homeless Children’s Education Fund; and bringing together children of all abilities and backgrounds to experience the power of art in their lives. I fully endorse and support the ways Art Expression implements their mission and passion for bringing expressive art activities to children.

Ways to make it better...

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

I believe Art Expression, Inc. has built a strong, necessary, organized, and viable resource to the area - the only change needed is to access more funding avenues so that their reach may be broadened.

More feedback...

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?

2013

September 10, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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1 previous review
August 21, 2013

I truly believe the purpose of Art Expression is a much needed safe haven for these children. Seeing the results of the activities and the effect on these children makes all of this work extremely w... more

September 10, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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.
August 21, 2013

I truly believe the purpose of Art Expression is a much needed safe haven for these children. Seeing the results of the activities and the effect on these children makes all of this work extremely worthwhile.

Ways to make it better...

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

Expand Board to have more diversified talents.

More feedback...

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?

2013

August 22, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

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August 22, 2014
2 people found this review helpful

Art Expression provided a valuable after-school experience for Colfax Upper Elementary School students in the Allegheny Valley School District. Students, staff and families appreciated the design of the program, especially the focus on creativity and individualized learning. The culminating activity was a showcase event that drew great response and increased interest and support for Art Expression. Allegheny Valley hopes to continue its partnership with Art Expression. Cheryl Griffith, Superintendent of Schools
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