Free Arts Minnesota inspires hope and builds self-esteem for youth who have experienced poverty, homelessness, abuse and mental illness, using the healing powers of artistic expression and caring adult mentors.
HELPING YOUTH IN LA, NYC, PHOENIX, AND MINNEAPOLIS SINCE 1997
An Art Therapist founded the first Free Arts for Abused Children in Los Angeles over 30 years ago. She was motivated by the belief that art and positive adult relationships are not a luxury for children dealing with physical and sexual abuse, but a necessity.
In 1997, Free Arts Minnesota began serving children in residential treatment center, domestic abuse shelters, and therapeutic pre-schools. We began as a project of the Junior League of Minneapolis. Soon thereafter, we received our first major funding from Lifetouch. They are still supporting us today!
In 2001, Free Arts Minnesota became a separate nonprofit with Michelle Silverman as the first executive director. Our aim was to help at-risk kids have a more positive and productive future. Our art programs for homeless and abused youth began to impact even more youth in the Twin Cities.
In 2010, Dan Thomas was hired as executive director. He started the â€œTwice the Healing Campaignâ€ which brought about the expansion of Free Arts Weekly Mentorship program to many more social service agencies and gave 4,000 young people each year more access to art.
In 2012, the Free Arts board changed our name from Free Arts for Abused Children of Minnesota to Free Arts Minnesota. This was in recognition of a revised mission to â€œinspire hope and build self-esteem for youth who have experienced poverty, homelessness, abuse and mental illness, using the healing powers of artistic expression and caring adult mentors.â€
Where We Work
What We Do
The children and staff at Catholic Charities Northside Child Development Center and mentors at Free Arts Minnesota will create handmade holiday cards and gift bags to give to children and families at two Twin Cities hospitals. During the hour-long activity, kids will assemble gift bags and create handmade cards of support. They will also participate in a story-time and discussion on the season of giving. Later that day, the gift bags will be delivered to Shrinerâ€™s Hospital and cards will be sent to the University of Minnesota Fairview Hospital.