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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

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


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.

Comments ( 1 )


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!



Rating: 5

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.



Rating: 5

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.


Rating: 5

I am an active nonprofit volunteer in the Greater Pittsburgh area. I have had first hand experience with the entire Art Expression community. They are a group of passionate, creative individuals committed to making a positive change in the lives of the students they serve.