Artistic expression as therapy

These orgs put creativity to work

“Art heals,” says Karrah Lohmpa, executive director for Free Arts for Abused Children. While we often look to art for leisure, its potential for therapy and education is astounding. These orgs put creativity to work.

NO LIMITS: First Street Gallery Art Center operates on the premise that “creativity is not limited by any physical or mental disability,” says program director Rebecca Hamm. At the center, developmentally disabled adults get a chance to express themselves visually. The result is compelling, serious artwork that often speaks volumes about living with significant challenges.

Want to help? Buying the art supports both the center and the individual artists, who keep 60% of each sale. Visit the gallery in Claremont or one of their current exhibitions at Loyola Marymount U. or Gensler Architecture in Santa Monica. More information: 1StStreetGallery.org.

LINKING UP: While arts are disappearing from public schools, the HeArt Project works to bring them to at-risk teens. The org works in continuation high schools, linking professional artists with teenagers for whom mainstream education has failed. “Some students have kids of their own,” says development and communications director Suzy Foster.

HeArt exposes them to culture they might not otherwise find. Later this month, HeArt’s students present at LACMA, the Natural History Museum and the Korean Cultural Center. More info: TheHeArtProject.org.

ART HEALS: Free Arts for Abused Children provides just what its name says. Volunteer artists visit care facilities where they work with abused and neglected children. “The first thing they get is an escape,”

says executive director Karrah Lompa. “It’s something to look forward to.” Anyone is welcome to volunteer. Programs run the gamut from crafts to dance to filmmaking, and you needn’t be a professional. Free Arts will even train you. Visit FreeArts.org to get involved or donate.