Art Expression, Inc.

Rating: 4.97 stars   35 reviews

Nonprofit Issues:

Children & Youth

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.

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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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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  

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

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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.

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

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

I am an art therapist and have had the honor of facilitating Art Expressions programs in many Pittsburgh area schools over the past 8+ years. What I love about the Art Expressions programs are that they are fun experiences for children that allows them to explore feelings, emotions, troubles and most of all, the developing person they are becoming. I've experienced children in Art Expression programs share for the first time that they are victims of violence, sexual abuse or are a member of a family in crisis. I've experienced bullies and victims in the same Art Expressions group find middle ground. I've also experienced kids who appreciate the opportunity to address issues large and small; good or bad in an encouraging environment. It's magical, and we know it works. Feedback from families and school personal tell us we're on to something.

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

alleviate the funding component. School districts would write it into their yearly budget, because it enhances the academic and developmental experience in a way traditional curriculum does not. We know Art Expressions is a valuable experience that helps with academic performance, coping and identification of unresolved issues.

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

 
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