My Nonprofit Reviews

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cherylsilinskas

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2 reviews

Review for Art Expression, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Year after year, we deliver a program that makes a lasting impression with students. It's not just about art-making. It's not about getting a grade, or the academic learning that happens. Students share what's important to them through their art, with the facilitators, and with each other. They like learning something new and interesting about a subject, whether it's local bridges, being eco-smart, or pairing movement with art. They enjoy the collaboration and focus on frustration tolerance - knowing that mistakes are part of the learning process, and a very welcomed part of art-making. Many students tell us about friendships that last long after the program ends. In addition to our school programs, we reach homeless youth and families, sponsoring art shows that give directly to the art-makers. We reinforce to them that they have a voice, that they are valued no matter what the situation is. Art Expression began mural-painting projects to show our community support. I'm an art facilitator as well as a Board Member because I believe so much in this program and how it is helping people come alive with confidence and caring.

Role:  Board Member
AMLowden (Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Thank you so much for your thoughtful review. You have played, and continue to play, such a crucial role in all of our growth and successes as an organization, and in the continual development and refinement of our services for the students. I hope you know how much you are valued.

 

Review for Art Expression, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I've been an Art Therapist for years, and have worked in hospital, residential, corporate and clinical settings. Art Expression Inc. is one of the most exciting programs I have been a part of. Art Expression serves as an after school program, which reaches children of many ages. It's an opportunity for me to teach stress-reducing art techniques I did not learn until I studied art therapy in college! The Art Therapists design the art projects and are able to tailor to each classroom we serve. This means that the teachers and children can have input in what type of projects they want to work on, what type of art supplies they enjoy using. The co-facilitators are educators in the school system who already know the kids. This collaboration makes for powerful, open discussion. The art focuses on building self-esteem, frustration tolerance, social skills - things every child needs to succeed academically and throughout their lifetime.

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

In my classrooms, I have seen shy children light up during share time and make new friends. I watched "typical children" include those with special needs, to create and play their own board games. I hear teachers comment about how different the children are after school, and how their personalities have a chance to breathe and flourish. Art making and sharing quickly becomes a common ground where everyone's feelings are validated and imperfections are celebrated.

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

Increasing our funding is essential for our Nonprofit to expand. The founders of Art Expression are extremely generous, but their donations alone cannot support a growing program. The American Art Therapy Association presented the Art Expression program as a model for the Nation's K-12 schools. The schools we currently serve want to keep going, and more local schools are requesting the program.

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

How did you learn about this organization?

A colleague asked me to be an Art Therapist for the program.

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

To facilitate a positive impact in schools, using an art therapy based model to reach children from K-12.

What is its top priority in the long run?

The Foundation is working to maintain and expand the program in Allegheny County schools.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Role:  Board Member & I work as an Art Therapist for the program. I am also a volunteer Board Member.