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Cheryl101

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9 reviews

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

Rating: 5 stars  

Art Expression, Inc. continues to adapt to the needs of schools, shelters, and community partners. Summer Camps kicked off a return to in-person art-making and impactful discussions for youth. We heard firsthand how the pandemic times were influencing them, and everyone around them. The children were excited to make all kinds of projects, and they loved getting to collaborate on some fantastic group dialogue and creative writing activities.
Our art and music facilitators went over and above to deliver programs. Graduate Art therapy students were ushered in, and those of us staying at home guided them through the ups and downs of the unknowns in co-facilitating with teachers who did not get to be in person with their students for most of the year. It was a summer like never before! Thankfully, everyone remained safe, and had a fun dose of summer learning before going back to school, whether that meant another hybrid year or in-person. American Rescue Plan funding will make it easier than ever for Art Expression to deliver its award-winning programs to schools, free of charge to participants. But we need your help in calling attention! If you’re a parent or teacher, now is the time to tell your Pennsylvania district “we want Art Expression” and reach out to Angela Lowden, Founder and President of Art Expression, Inc.

Role:  Board Member
 

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

Rating: 5 stars  

The year 2020 has been an unprecedented year of change for us, globally. Our team at Art Expression quickly altered plans with our providers and continued to serve our community. As creative thinkers, we put together over 150 art kits for children and families in shelters, along with some tried-and-true art activities. We launched a summer program in coordination with Pittsburgh Public Schools, adapting their Summer Dreamers academic enrichment program to be 100% virtual. We offered live video sessions, along with art kits, to second graders, who were so proud and excited about their art! We included our new music therapist partners, who offered children a much-needed movement break, and a lot of fun with sing alongs and lyric-making. Most importantly, we spoke to people about how they felt about isolation, school changes, not seeing friends. We all Zoomed, learned MS Teams, set up Google Classrooms, and jumped on board to adapt all we could. Our main goal is to retain the heart of the program. In a time of social distancing, art keeps us connected. We all need that time to sort through and express all of the changes that keep occurring. That's still what Art Expression is all about!

Role:  Board Member
 

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

Rating: 5 stars  

Art Expression continues to create programs that impact people in so many good ways. This year, we launched a Parent-Child workshop series that has been well-received in local shelter programs. We teach parents some of our favorite activities, and boost their self-confidence in making art and music. We teach parents the developmental stages in the arts, both fine and gross motor skills, and how to create adaptations for special needs. We give them plenty of time to discuss their own children's challenges, and help to problem-solve on the spot. Then, we add their children to the mix and let the parents take the lead! We still do some mentoring and help smooth over any rough patches. The results have been wonderful - we can see them bond more than scold. We can see them have FUN with their children, and praise their work instead of worry that they're "behind" or not doing well enough. Our facilitators work to change those dynamics, promote social-emotional learning, and sprinkle on the fun.

Role:  Board Member
 

Review for Woodlands Foundation Inc., Wexford, PA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

The Woodlands is a magical place for children with special needs to socialize, experience a really fun indoor & outdoor camp setting, go swimming, and make music together. We found this gem in the woods through their open house, and immediately were enchanted by the grounds and all of the offerings. I've been referring children like my daughter to go to this camp - she looks forward to every event she can attend! When I pick her up, everyone is smiling, at ease, enjoying the artwork they made or games they played, and the campers look forward to the next time - that's the sign of a good experience. The staff are all amazing people who truly love the work they do. I can't say enough about this nonprofit, so grateful it exists.

Role:  Client Served
 

Review for Homeless Children's Education Fund, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

The HCEF funds enrichment programs which serve children directly during out of school time. I work as a partnership provider in various shelters and community settings, and helped pilot Art Expression: From the heART, in order to help both children and staff connect through art-making and discussion. Using the Art Expression model, we are able to reach so many more youth because of HCEF funding. They have been a wonderful partner for many years, and we continue to support them, as they do us.

Role:  Professional with expertise in this field
 

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

Rating: 5 stars  

This year we responded to the severe weather that hit so much of the United States, Puerto Rico, and worldwide by creating ARTmosphere: Severe Weather. This program helped children feel more aware and included in disaster preparedness, as well as the emotional worries surrounding displacement and interruption to daily life. My work specifically for Art Expression in partnership with HCEF was featured in a book titled "Art for Children Experiencing Psychological Trauma". The recent focus for our artwork has been on dreams and well-wishes for everyone touched by disaster and school violence. Programs like Art Expression need continued support in order to reach out to those children and families.

Role:  Board Member
 

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

Rating: 5 stars  

Time and again, I see the benefits of this program in schools, shelters, and in the community. I have been an Art Facilitator for years. I believe in the mission and goals and loved the work so much that I became a Board member and V.P. of Art Expression, Inc. We are a small but mighty nonprofit! To be recognized nationally yet again is amazing. I hope to continue to help expand the program to others in need. This year, we ran ARTventures in History: Australia, where children discovered the littlest penguins in the world and their part in ecosystems. We added Musical pARTners with music therapists on board as facilitators. We created ARTmosphere: Severe Weather in response to helping children and families prepare for disasters, and to respond to others around the country impacted by hurricanes. Our work goes beyond the expressive arts - it's about empowering people. Life is an adventure, and we help children express their journeys, even through hard times.

Role:  Board Member
 

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

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!

Role:  Board Member
 

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

Rating: 5 stars  

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

Role:  Board Member