Beautiful Tote Bags: After-School Workshop 4 of 12 at Red Hook Initiative

April 17, 2015 - Arts & Dreams worked with middle-school aged young women at Red Hook Initiative in our 4th of 12 empowering art workshops. The focus was on personal power.

We had a rich and rewarding discussion highlighting how empowering it feels when we practice self love. The young women opened up with comments and questions about bullying, snide remarks from other kids, feeling unliked, aggression and fighting. Laura and Patricia shared that the better we get at affirming ourselves, the stronger we feel, and the more supportive people we attract. The negative people begin to sense that we love ourselves, and they don't mess with us as much. And if they do, we speak up, we bring peace, we tell an adult, we believe in our worthiness of love and we don't take any shame personally. We know that bullies often are suffering more than we are, that's why they lash out. When we love ourselves, we don't need to lash out. We feel healthy.

To expand our self love, we painted tote bags with fabric paints, bringing beautiful colors, phrases and designs to a plain cotton bag. These bags will carry our things and our hopes and dreams, as well. A very rewarding workshop.

Thank you to Deanna at RHI, our middle school artists for their honesty and creativity, and all of our donors for making our work possible.

Photos by Patricia Geremia and Laura Baran


Tshirt Postivity: After-School Workshop 3 of 12 at Red Hook Initiative

Arts & Dreams shared the 3rd of 12 empowering art workshops at Red Hook Initiative (RHI) on April 10, 2015. Co-founders Laura Baran and Patricia Geremia worked with high school student leaders and LGBTQ activists. We talked about issues facing teens today, the pressures of life, depression, suicide, sex, drugs, gangs, parents and school. In terms of empowerment, life is filled with challenges and it's our choice to decide if we want to consider them as opportunities and to learn how to love ourselves through them. The discussion focused on encouraging students to view themselves as leaders, hope-bringers, and unique individuals worthy of living their dreams. One key to help us remember to follow our dreams, let alone believe we're meant to have those dreams, Laura explained, is to practice self-love. As a fun way to expand self-love, we gave everyone a white tshirt, multi-colored fabric paints and beginners painting instruction. Each workshop participant painted beautiful tees with positive messages and designs, wearable art to uplift and inspire them. Then the students discussed why they chose their words and images and what the project meant to them. Later, we introduced the practice of mirror work to close out the workshop, as we always do, because it feels good to say loving words into a mirror, and everyone got a chance to try it.
Thank you Ericka, the wonderful group leader, and everyone at RHI for an amazing workshop.
Photos by Patricia Geremia and Laura Baran


Gratitude Journals: After-School Workshop 2 of 12 at Red Hook Initiative

Arts & Dreams worked with middle school and high school students to create Gratitude Journals at the Red Hook Initiative on April 3, 2015. Our activities as always focused on creating art that empowers self-love and hope, led by Arts & Dreams' co-founders Laura Baran and Patricia GeremiaFirst we discussed the power of feeling grateful for every blessing, and how gratitude brings more to feel grateful about. We gave everyone a blank journal with unlined pages where they can draw, write and express their dreams, hopes and fears. Opening to the first blank page, we each wrote a list of 10 things for which we are grateful, and we shared what was on our lists, feeling that magic spark of gratitude for all that's going well. Then we decorated our journals with paints and appliques. We closed the workshop by looking into a mirror and expressing a kind and loving word to ourselves. Thank you to RHI and all of our donors and supporters for making Arts & Dreams empowering art workshops possible. 
Photos by Patricia Geremia and Laura Baran

Affirmation Paintings: After-School Workshop 1 of 12 at the Red Hook Initiative

March 27, 2015
Friday after-school programming was in full swing at the Red Hook Initiative (RHI) in Brooklyn. Pizza and salad was available for youth to enjoy and music was coming from the main room as the students unwinded. For the middle-school aged young women of RHI's Mirrors of Strength group, Arts & Dreams shared the first of 12 workshops. Our activities focused on creating art that empowers self-love and hope, led by Arts & Dreams' co-founders Laura Baran and Patricia Geremia. Once Laura shared her background challenges growing up and then making art to heal herself after her brother's suicide, a rich experience took place. Through discussion and painting, the group seemed to express a real understanding of their worthiness of living the life of their dreams, and engaging in acts of creative kindness to self. They painted personal positive affirmations on stretched canvas, discussed why they created their art and spoke loving words to themselves in a mirror. A big thanks to Deanna Cherry and Jade Elias for making this workshop series possible! Also to everyone at the Red Hook Initiative and all of our generous donors for their support. 
Photos by Patricia Geremia



Thank you for making a donation to Arts & Dreams!

Your donation enables us to carry the message of hope and self-love to more children, teens and adults. 

Arts & Dreams is a partner project of Fractured Atlas. Donations to Fractured Atlas, a charitable organization, are eligible for charitable deductions under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Donate by check: Write a check payable to Fractured Atlas and mail to: 

Arts & Dreams
317 W. 21st Street, #4B
New York, NY 10011

Click here to donate by credit card.

We appreciate your support at any level. Please see below for a list of giving levels and how your donation can help Arts & Dreams.
Will help us reach more than 120 people to expand hope and self-love through creativity. 

Will cover the cost of all of our supplies: watercolor paper, canvas, paints, paint brushes, tablecloths, mixing trays, transportation, artist and facilitator fees, stickers, handouts, sharpies and palettes. 

Will cover all costs for a 2-hour Arts & Dreams workshop for 25 people. 

Will cover the cost of the beautiful extra thick watercolor paper for one workshop. 

Will cover the cost of 4 new paint brushes. 

Will enable us to buy 2 new tubes of paint.

Thank you, generous donors, for supporting Arts & Dreams:
Anonymous, Suzanne Baran Bridges, Donna Barsotti, Daniel Bober, Megan Brandt-Meyer, Thomas A. Christie, Dorothy Cunningham, Jeffrey Currier, Margaret Curry, John E. D'Amico, Edward DeAngelo, Maribel de la Torre, Jessica Eth, Michael Flood, Jane Gelfand, Pat Geremia, Sharon and Marc Gerstein, The Hay Foundation, Joan E. Jakubowski, Annie Karcinski, Carina Kleter, Lazarus Nazario, Debbie Perez, Andrea Peterson, Joanne Ratner, Joan Sapinsley, Agnes M. Simulinas, Michael Syers, Nikki E. Walker and Theola Wong


Contact Arts & Dreams at
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Arts & Dreams Empowering Art Workshops

Arts & Dreams is a New York City based organization providing two-hour empowering art workshops for children, teens and adults. 
Our mission is to expand hope and self-love through creative expression. 
Since 2009, Arts & Dreams has been carrying out its mission by sharing empowering art workshops with hundreds of people throughout New York and New Jersey.

Arts & Dreams helps change the way we think
and feel about ourselves through:

Mirror work
Positive affirmations

Arts & Dreams Co-Founders/Workshop Leaders
Arts & Dreams was co-founded by
 friends Laura Baran and Patricia Geremia while working together in a Wall Street office where they discovered a mutual love of art, spirituality, education, mental health and the desire to help people thrive.

Laura Baran
is an award-winning professional artist. She received her BFA with honors from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Laura served on the Board of Directors for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's NYC Chapter 2012-13.
Patricia Geremia
is the owner of PatriciaG Photos, her own line of photo greeting cards and prints.
She is a certified professional Reiki healer. Patricia has served as a youth mentor in NYC since 1995.

Our Story
Laura Baran: 
Arts & Dreams is an antidote to hopelessness. We make art that encourages us to feel enthusiastic about our worthiness of dreaming big. I share my personal experience with depression and what it was like to lose my 20-year-old brother Jeff in 2000. In his suicide note, Jeff wrote it wasn’t the depression that he couldn't take, it was the hopelessness. My life's mission is to empower people to build ourselves up using art and self-love, and to expand the sense of hopefullness that can prevent suicide.

Patricia Geremia: When we worked together on Wall Street, while reading Louise Hay's 'You Can Heal Your Life' just for fun, Laura and I began wondering what life would be like if we had learned tools for self-love as children. Why don’t we learn how to love ourselves in school along with the basics? How different would our lives be if we did? Laura found solace and release through her painting - she was using affirmations – positive statements – in her art. She had the idea of asking children to think of an affirmation that resonated with them and then paint it, feel it, have fun with it, and take it home to inspire them. We want to create that hopeful spark in a child’s life by teaching them it is okay to love themselves, in fact it is necessary! And give them some tools to do it. Louise Hay tells us to look in the mirror and say 'I love you. I really, really love you.' I thought we’d emulate that with a unique, silver hand-mirror that someone gave me as a gift many years ago.

Laura: The act of creating art is healing. I believe every person has the creative ability to make art. Sometimes as we get older we come to think that we aren’t creative. When we’re little, we all want to have fun and exciting lives. We’re all artists and we’re all dreamers. Arts & Dreams was born.
As we grow Arts & Dreams, we are gratefully accepting donations through our Donation Page to provide free workshops in schools and community centers without budgets for these types of events. Arts & Dreams is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a charitable organization, and donations are eligible for tax deductions.



We've had the privilege of sharing empowering Arts & Dreams workshops with many wonderful organizations! Click the link next to the dates to view pictures from each workshop.

2/25/15 Affirmation Painting WorkshopsPassages Academy at Summit, Bronx Hope, Bronx, NY


12/18/14 Holiday Painting/Collaging, Alchemical Theatre Lab, New York, NY
11/16/14 Thanksgiving Affirmation Painting, Alchemical Theatre Lab, New York, NY
5/2/14     Power of You: Kindness and Self-Empowerment Through Art with Life Vest Inside, Brooklyn College, NY
4/6/14     House of the Roses Volunteer Dance Company, Jersey City, NJ
3/5/14     Final Workshop in Series of 7: Dream Boards, Red Hook Initiative, Brooklyn, NY
2/26/14   Sixth of 7: Universe Boxes, Red Hook Initiative, Brooklyn, NY
2/12/14   Fifth of 7: Self-Love Valentines, Red Hook Initiative, Brooklyn, NY
2/5/14     Fourth of 7: Gratitude Journals, Red Hook Initiative, Brooklyn, NY
1/29/14   Third of 7: T-Shirts, Red Hook Initiative, Brooklyn, NY
1/22/14   Second of 7: Self Portraits, Red Hook Initiative, Brooklyn, NY
1/15/14   First of 7 Workshops with Middle-School Youth: Affirmation Paintings, Red Hook Initiative, Brooklyn, NY


9/21/13   Get Your Wellness On! Annual Suicide Awareness & Prevention Fair, Washington Square Park, New York, NY
8/12/13   Affirmation Art Workshop for Adults, The New York Public Library at Kips Bay, New York, NY
8/3/13     Children's Museum of the Arts, Guest workshop, New York, NY
7/13/13   Grand Street BID Weekend Walk Block Party, Brooklyn, NY
4/6/13     Workshop for Adults, Alchemical Theatre Lab, New York, NY
2/12/13   Valentine's Workshop at JivamukTea Cafe, New York, NY


12/14/12 Holiday Affirmation Painting Party, Alchemical Theatre Lab, New York, NY
12/4/12   Red Hook Initiative, Brooklyn, NY
11/20/12 Passages Academy, Bronx, NY
10/28/12 Out of the Darkness Community Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, New York, NY
10/21/12 Get Your Wellness On!, Washington Square Park, New York, NY
7/21/12   Grand Street BID Weekend Walk Block Party, Brooklyn, NY
7/16/12   Art Shack, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, NY
5/25/12   Divine Mercy Catholic Academy, Ozone Park, Queens, NY
5/8/12     Passages Academy at Summit, Bronx, NY
1/25/12   Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, New York, NY


12/10/11 International Humans Rights Day, Union Square, New York, NY
11/8/11   Occupy Wall Street, Zuccotti Park, New York, NY
10/23/11 Out of the Darkness Community Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Brooklyn, NY
10/2/11   RECESS!, Space on White, New York, NY
9/10/11   Get Your Wellness On! for Suicide Prevention and Awareness, Washington Square Park, New York, NY
5/5/11     Passages Academy at Summit, Bronx, NY
1/31/11   Manhattan Free School, New York, NY


9/28/10   P.S. 11, Chelsea, New York, NY


7/21/09   Divine Mercy Catholic Academy, Queens, NY

Affirmation Paintings at Passages Academy, Bronx Hope

ON TRACK by Arts & Dreams Workshop Facilitator Zyambo "Z" Phillips
Arts & Dreams shared two empowering art workshops in the Library at Passages Academy, Bronx Hope. The students are incarcerated, have been through major life challenges, and all expressed interest in art to Librarian Ms. Anja Kennedy, who invited us back to talk about self-love, hope and how to paint positive affirmations on stretched canvas.

It was a thrill to be joined by the talented actress Nikki E. Walker who talked about what it means to live your dreams no matter what. Our facilitator Zyambo Phillips shared that when it may feel like the end, it's not the end. Life does move on.

We're unable to show the students' faces to protect their anonymity. Their creativity shines in their art, and in the art made by the staff and teachers. We carried the spirit of fun into the rest of our day, getting a little childlike in our storage space. Enjoy pics by Arts & Dreams co-founder Patricia Geremia! Thanking everyone at Passages for all the love you give to students.

Staff member Denice Martin-Thompson creates these beautiful notebooks! Check out

Make Ur Haters Ur Motivators


Laura Baran of Arts & Dreams at the 2:39 mark
We're publishing an illustrated Arts & Dreams book!
Balboa Press, a division of Hay House
We frequently read books during our workshops to explain the ideas of self-love and empowerment, and now we're creating our own book, which has been generously funded by our awesome supporters through a successful kickstarter campaign in June 2012. We thank our generous book donors:
Matt Green
Andrea Peterson
Michael Davis
Vivian Seidner
Agnes Goralska
Jodi Bullock
Florence Mahony
Carina Kleter
Jhonathan Free
Ben Schumaker
Sheryl Abbey
Erin Stutland
Mike Syers
Suzanne Baran
Debra Perez
Tyler Cash
Joseph Zimm
Grayson Fisher
Amy Pearlman
Will Cornell
Arie Toporovsky
Amanda Young
Carol Wilkie
Donna Grancio
Darlene Rae Heller
Nikki Walker
Jack Nowakowski
Mike Shimansky
Annemarie DiCola
Julie-Anne Lee Kinney
Joanne Czarnecki
Jack Cheevers
Kathleen Cordina
Lee Bob Black
Tara DePorte
Maria Stanley
Helen and Mike Baran
Jacqueline and Marvin Lowensteiner
Dan Bober
Grace Cangialosi
Rebekah Davis
Anja Kennedy
Pat Geremia
Allison Pierce
Donna Barsotti
Wendy Granger
Peter Pentz
Traci O'Very Covey
Bruna M. Z. Mascia
Katherine Uschmann
Chauncey Jacks
Jacquie McArdel
Margaret Curry
Elizabeth Walsh
Daniel and Maureen Lange
Elfreda Skidmore
Mae Skidmore
James Skidmore


"Arts & Dreams was very therapeutic and fun. We can always use a boost and reminder that we are unique, beautiful and worth it." Danielle R., Student, Brooklyn College, NY

"Wow! I think the Arts & Dreams experience was worthwhile for both me and my students. I want to thank you for a wonderful break from the usual school routine, and for the opportunity for the students to learn strategies (slow purposeful breathing, speaking affirmations, and painting) to relieve stress and to aid them in becoming their own best friends. I think you both are awesome, and I applaud you for the work you are doing! With Gratitude,"
Sandra DeMarco, Grade 5 Teacher
Divine Mercy Catholic Academy, Queens, NY

"Arts & Dreams is a wonderful program and I love seeing the students express themselves in such positive ways.
Thank you Laura, Patricia, and Zyambo for coming in and working with our kids. We should do more of these."
Stephen Wilder
Principal, Passages Academy, Bronx, NY

"Arts & Dreams rocked!! Please bring them back!"

"I would love to see Arts & Dreams for the teachers as well."

"I truly think Arts & Dreams is great for the kids."
Bronx Hope Social Workers and Reading Specialist
Passages Academy, Bronx, NY

"I loved Arts & Dreams because I had fun painting and using my imagination."
Student, Passages Academy, Bronx, NY

"Things like this are needed more often! 

I would have Arts & Dreams again because it helps relieve all the stress on paper."
Student, Passages Academy, Bronx, NY

"Love Arts & Dreams and need to do it again, a lot of fun! :)"
Student, Passages Academy, Bronx, NY

 "Arts & Dreams was a great program. I would like to do this again sometime.
I learned a lot about myself that I did not know about myself."
Student, Passages Academy, Bronx, NY

"A huge thanks to Arts & Dreams -- they taught us all how to think positive in small steps and to create beautiful, meaningful art

This program addressed the following American Association of School Librarians (AASL) standards: 1.1.2 Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning.
1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within the learning community. 2.1.6 Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings. 2.2.4 Demonstrate personal productivity by completing products to express learning. 4.1.8 Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning. 

Nine students and one staff filled out evaluations following the program. 100% of respondents said they were motivated or inspired by the presenters and would use this information in the future."

Anja Kennedy, School LibrarianPassages Academy, Bronx, NY

"Really enjoyed Arts & Dreams. It was very relaxing and stress free. First time painting, I was nervous at the beginning, but the group of workers made me feel comfortable and confident with myself. 

Great work!"
Student, Passages Academy, Bronx, NY

"I had the best time ever at Arts & Dreams. The affirmations were fun to learn about. Hopefully I can get my cousin to do this also. Her birthday is coming up and she loves painting. She also wants to be an artist. I showed her the picture of mine and she wanted to do at least 3 on her walls. 
Thank you so much for everything."
Brandon, Grade 8
Divine Mercy Catholic Academy, Queens, NY

"My favorite part of Arts & Dreams was that I was painting. I felt happy and proud of what I did."
Amanda, Grade 6
Divine Mercy Catholic Academy, Queens, NY
"Arts & Dreams was so healing and filled with joy. And to paint with joy and ease made me feel like a kid again. Tonight's event was a great reminder on why we shouldn't give up on the world."
Nikki Walker, Actor
New York, NY

"Our students truly love your workshops."
Ma Lis Wendt, Treasurer, Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, NY

"I had a really wonderful time at Arts & Dreams and I'm so glad I came :) I loved the positive energy and mood that was created in the room. I left the workshop feeling awesome! I took so much more with me than a painting. I hope to see you again at an upcoming event! Thanks so much for your loving spirit and all that you give :)"
Christina, New York, NY

"On behalf of NYP Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, thank you so much for bringing your wonderful Arts & Dreams program to not only our patients and families but our local school kids as well! I heard nothing but wonderful feedback and would love to schedule your group to come back in the future!
We are so grateful
Ana Furnari, Special Events Manager
Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NY

"I thought Arts & Dreams was great! I was a bit apprehensive that it was even applicable for me. I am NOT an artist :-) But when we started talking about making our affirmation paintings, I realized that I had been having doubts about the new career move which I have recently made. When I drew the words "I am creating a wonderful new career for myself" on my canvas, I realized that I had been trying too hard....that my new career is exactly what I should be doing, and I need to just relax and let it flow. I left the room feeling more confident in my decision, and less impatient about expecting immediate outcomes!" 
Dotti Cunningham, Chief Exploration Officer, globeDOTTIngTravel

"I met Patricia when I won an art contest in the 6th grade to have my mural painted on my school. Patricia was one of the volunteers. We hit it off right away. If I could sum up 
Arts & Dreams in one word: “amazing”. I knew I wanted to be a part of it every chance I got. When I had the honor of helping with Arts & Dreams, I never saw anyone leave without a smile. I’m so happy to be a part of something so wonderful."
Zyambo Phillips, Arts & Dreams Facilitator, Bronx, NY

"One of the things I love about Arts & Dreams is that it doesn't matter how old you are or how talented you are with a paintbrush; anyone can benefit from painting an affirmation that makes you feel good about yourself. It's an amazing experience sharing your affirmation with friends, family or even strangers. Such a simple act of sharing your dreams with others not only brings you closer to your authentic self, but brings you closer to the people around you."
Matt GreenArts & Dreams Facilitator, New York, NY

"I am in love with your workshops!"
Jessica Clunn, Teacher
The Scandinavian School of Jersey City, NJ

“Thank you both. So much love was created.”
Jade Elias, Director of Programs, Red Hook Initiative
Brooklyn, NY

"Arts & Dreams made me feel alive, uplifted my spirit." 
Allen P., Student, Brooklyn College, NY

"The Arts & Dreams workshop was amazing. It's great to see two women so powerful, beautiful & smart helping others understand and realize their worth."
Amanda V., Student, Brooklyn Collge, NY

"I love this workshop. I expect everyone to come out to at least one of these Arts & Dreams events. It will make a difference in your life." 
Michelle R., Student, Brooklyn College, NY

Thanksgiving Affirmation Painting Workshop

On Saturday, November 16, we hosted a Thanksgiving Affirmation Painting workshop at Alchemical Theatre Lab in NYC. 

We discussed the power of self-love, self-kindness, and thankfulness as a practice to heal and uplift. 

Patricia led a meditation, Laura gave painting instruction and everyone made acrylic paintings on canvas - personally meaningful to them. 

The paintings feature affirmations - positive, loving statements to self - and embodied the intention of inspiring their creators. 

Between painting, Patricia gave free mini-Reiki sessions that included essential oil aromatherapy and angel card readings. 

We wrapped up by talking about why we made our paintings and what they mean to us. Each of us looked at ourselves in a mirror and spoke kind words. 

We're thankful for everyone who came out! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones!
~ Laura & Patricia of Arts & Dreams

In Memoriam of Pat Geremia

Pat Geremia, loving mother of Arts & Dreams' Co-Founder Patricia Geremia, passed away on February 14, 2013.

Pat and Patricia, mother and daughter best friends, were as close as their names are the same. Pat was passionate about helping others and was one of Arts & Dreams' original supporters. She always believed that charitable donations should be made directly to those in need.

The family requests that a donation be made to Arts & Dreams in lieu of flowers. Your tax deductible donation can be made here.

Donate in memory of Pat Geremia by check:
Please make the check payable to Fractured Atlas and mail it to: Arts & Dreams 317 W. 21 Street, #4B New York, NY 10011.

Donate in memory of Pat Geremia by credit card:
Click the link here

The Geremia family appreciates the love and support in Pat's name from:
Carmela & Raymond Bartolo, Olivia Petzy Binning, Gina Carey, Joan Jakubowski, Annie Karcinski, Daniel & Maureen Lange, Edward & Betty Lange, Patricia Stola, Maria Teri, Michael & Laura Zabrocki and Roberta Zelem

Arts & Dreams is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a 501 (c)(3) organization, which means all donations are tax deductible. 

Power of You: Kindness and Self-Empowerment Through Art Workshop with Life Vest Inside at Brooklyn College

Arts & Dreams led a workshop with Life Vest Inside called "Power of You" with students at Brooklyn College. We explored the quality of our loving relationships with ourselves, how it affects our perceptions and interactions with others and how creativity empowers us to treat ourselves with more kindness.  
The students were overflowing with creative ideas and they used acrylics on canvas to paint positive mantras and messages for themselves. Thank you Brooklyn College, Orly Wahba and everyone at Life Vest Inside for inviting us to be a part of this uplifting event that left us so inspired!  
Enjoy these pictures taken by Nancy for Life Vest Inside and Arts & Dreams co-founder Patricia Geremia.


Painting Affirmations with House of the Roses Volunteer Dance Company

We gave an empowering art workshop on April 6, 2014, with volunteers from House of the Roses Volunteer Dance Company, an organization that provides free dance lessons to young people faced with homelessness and poverty. Together we discussed ways to use art to help young people love themselves using different art forms to encourage and empower children to live their dreams.

The House of the Roses volunteers created their own affirmation art on stretched canvases. They intend to bring affirmations and visual art to the children they work with. And we did mirror work - saying something loving to ourselves while looking into a mirror.

Coming into spring in the northeast, it was wonderful to sit outside and spend a meaningful afternoon in Jersey City with House of the Roses, captured in these photos through the lens of Arts & Dreams co-founder Patricia. This was Arts & Dreams' first workshop outside of NY in Laura Baran's home state of New Jersey. Thanks to Lauren Fakete and everyone at House of the Roses, for all that you do to help young people!

What's the most important thing you learned in Arts & Dreams?

Arts & Dreams just completed a series of 7 empowering art workshops with middle-school youth at Red Hook Initiative!

In every workshop we explored self-love and hope through creative projects. 
Great news: The anonymous feedback we collected from RHI youth and staff after each Arts & Dreams workshop was super positive! Here's a sampling:

What's the most important thing you learned in Arts & Dreams?
  • “I am unique.”
  • “How to draw”
  • “Doing art is the most amazing thing.”
  • “To care for myself”
  • “How to love yourself”
  • “It made me feel loved.”
  • “I like that we do things to feel good about ourself.”
  • “It was mad fun. I enjoyed it very much.”
  • “I like the information, because I can use this information in every day life.”
  • “I am good at art.”
  • “That there are 7 different ways to feel good again.”
  • “Always think positive.”
  • “How not to say bad things to people”
Will you use positive affirmations/thoughts in the future?
YES 75% 
Will you say nice things to yourself when you look in the mirror?
YES 83% 
Would you like to see Arts & Dreams come back again? 
100% of students and staff said YES.

We loved working with RHI youth and were amazed at how receptive they were to new ideas and expressing their creativity! Click the links to see more.
Week 2 – Self Portraits
Week 4 – Gratitude Journals
Week 6 – Universe Boxes
Week 7 – Dream Boards

Final Workshop in Our Series of 7 with Youth at Red Hook Initiative: Dream Boards

On March 5, 2014, we shared the final Arts & Dreams empowering art workshop in our series of 7 with middle-school youth during their after school programming at Red Hook Initiative

We reviewed the previous six workshops and what we accomplished together - learning to love ourselves, being kind, using our creativity and dreaming big! Everyone has something unique to offer and our role is to discover what our unique gift that brings us joy and to share it with others. 
Creating a Dream Board is a visual reminder of what we love and want in life, which helps invite our big dreams into reality. We provided stretched canvases, acrylic paints, photos, appliques and images from magazines. We printed some of Patricia's photos from our previous workshops for the youth to keep or use on their Dream Board. 

Before we wrapped up with mirror work, we had two more surprises: cupcakes from Billy's Bakery and a special reading of the Arts & Dreams book draft. While they snacked, we explained we're writing a book - which no one else has seen yet - about the topics we've discussed and the art we created during our workshops: how we can use creativity to empower ourselves, to dream big dreams, and to truly love who we are. We are grateful that our buddies at RHI agreed to give a listen and an affirming nod to our dream creation in draft form!

It’s been a beautiful journey with RHI this winter, and we remain so inspired by the amazing group of youth. We were there to educate, and we wound up learning so much from you all. Thank you, Samora Coles, Jade Elias, Ricky Santana and everyone Red Hook Initiative. Onward, youth! You're all unique geniuses and we love you!