An art therapist founded the first Free Arts for Abused Children affiliate in Los Angeles over 25 years ago. She was motivated by the theory that art and positive adult relationships are not a luxury for abused children, but a necessity.
In 1997, Free Arts Minnesota began serving children in residential treatment centers, domestic abuse shelters, and therapeutic pre-schools.
In Minnesota alone, there are more than 25,000 reports of child abuse each year, and one in four families are affected by physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
This abuse afflicts the most vulnerable in our society - about 80 percent of the victims are children under the age of 10. And each day, nearly 90 children are taken from their parent's custody and added to an already over-burdened foster-care system.
Abused children are often distrusting of adults, exhibit aggressive behavior or withdraw from their surroundings altogether, while others perpetuate violence on themselves or on other children. Most all lack any sense of self-esteem.
Free Arts programs seek to interrupt the cycle of violence. Through painting, drawing, music, writing, drama and other creative outlets, the program serves as a catalyst to help children communicate and express themselves in new - and positive - ways.