free arts Volunteer News November 2011

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Frederick Douglass


see the ways free arts is impacting youth in the community


Recently, I've been noticing many testimonies to the impact Free Arts mentors have on their mentees. Overwhelmed with the feeling of "we are doing something right" and giddy to be involved in such a meaningful program, I thought I would share one example of this evidence with you, the foundation of our existence, the hands and feet of the mission, the weekly mentor.

Marques is a mentee at called Headway, a day treatment center for teens. Although he struggles with depression and anxiety, he felt compelled to speak at the Art Heals! Breakfast and explain how Free Arts changed his life to 400+ people.

Marques and Kat presenting at breakfast

At the breakfast, Marques explained that, " Free Arts has been a very important experience for me.  Working with Free Arts volunteers has changed my perspective on how society is... the volunteers were always really nice to me and it made me more comfortable being around people... I learned to stop being such a critic of my own creative work.  Free Arts helps me with a lot of my therapeutic goals.  The Free Arts volunteers come in and have conversations with me and listen to what I have to say.  That helps me with my conversation goals in therapy. The projects we do help me with my self-motivation goals.  I criticize myself so much, that when I get something done and I like what I have done, it feels like I've accomplished something."

After the breakfast, Tim Erickson, a therapist who worked closely with Marques congratulated Free Arts saying, "It was great to see Marques do such a great job with his speech.  It shows how much he has grown and changed in his time at Headway and in working with you all."


Program Update


Our first session partnering with Northpoint was a success!  Approximately 40 youth from the Jerry Gamble Boys and Girls Club came to make art and spend time with our AWESOME mentors!  It was great fun to make connections with the kids and see them warm up to our volunteers.  We even learned some hip new dance moves!

The youth enjoyed going to different “art studios” and using their “portfolios” to collect the pieces they created.  They made jewelry, mini-framed canvas pieces, puzzles reflecting our wishes for the community, and self-portrait quilt squares.  As always, the young artists blew us away with their incredible artistic abilities and creativity.

10th Annual art heals! Breakfast

Chastity Brown and Kids from Northside

The 10th Annual Art Heals Breakfast was a huge success this year! We were fortunate to be able to share Free Arts' Mission with over 400 people. Special guests included Marques and Kat (a mentor and mentee from Headway), Sue Abderholden of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Chastity Brown and the kids from Northside Child Development Center to read a recap of the breakfast, visit our Tumblr page.

Special thanks

Special thanks to all our volunteers who helped at the breakfast and Northpoint, we couldn't have made these events possible without you!

Mtm Corner

The Mentor To Mentor Committee is off to a running start this year. We would like to welcome JJ Hernandez, Ben Brockman, Elsa Perushek, and Arielle Courtney to the committee. Be on the look-out for events the MtM Committee is working on this winter such as the Art Sled Rally and participating in a HUGE volunteer fair!



Upcoming opportunities

facing Race Workshop

What: Free Arts Minnesota is partnering with the St Paul Foundation’s Facing Race Initiative to bring a facilitated conversation and workshop about race and racism to our mentors on Sunday, December 4th from 1-4 pm. Space is limited, if you are interested, register here.

January volunteers

Free Arts is currently looking for volunteer mentors to begin in January. If you know someone who might be interested, direct them to our volunteer webpage.

Calling Videographers

Do you have expertise in shooting and editing video? Are you an experienced photographer? Free Arts has an ongoing need for volunteers to film and photograph our events.

If you can donate your photo and video skills, please contact Rebecca.

Project of the Month

calm down jars

This is a great idea for kids to help deal with stress. Facilitate a conversation about healthy ways to get yourself to relax, then teach youngsters how to make this fun project!

Materials needed: jar, hot water, glitter, food coloring and glitter glue

Instructions: Mix 1 Tbsp glitter glue per 1 cup of hot water. Add glitter, tightly seal the jar, shake, and relax as you watch the glitter slowly fall to the bottom of the jar.

Calm Down Jar

Picture courtesy of




project ideas


Follow us at mentorideas for inspirational weekly mentor projects! If you would like to create your own pinterest, send an email to Rebecca requesting an invitation.

Company matching programs

Check out a list of companies that will match their employees donations. See if your gift can be matched today!

Read our blog and add us on facebook to find stories from other mentors!


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Our Community

the blind squirrel

Do you like coupon sites like Groupon? How about checking out The Blind Squirrel! For every purchase you make, they donate a percentage to charity of your choice and Free Arts MN is one of the choices!

Art on display at Franklin Bank

If you're in the neighborhood, check out Free Arts Minnesota's children's art on display at Franklin Bank.

525 Washington Ave No.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Click here to see a map