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


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!

Paintings to Boost Self-Love with Local Youth at the Red Hook Initiative

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, one of the NYC neighborhoods hit hardest was Red Hook, Brooklyn. Arts & Dreams was fortunate to team up with the Red Hook Initiative, an organization in Red Hook dedicated to empowering local youth to co-create their community, and we visited to share a workshop about empowerment through art.

We talked about healing self-esteem issues and expressing love and appreciation through painting. Local youth and facilitators created their own affirmation paintings with positive words about themselves and their dreams.

Talking nicely to ourselves, in our mind or out loud, can have a big impact. It can return a state of ease into our bodies. After painting, we passed Patricia's silver hand mirror around the room and everyone said something nice to themselves while looking into their own eyes. For some, this was their first time painting, and it was a particular honor for us to introduce that experience. Everyone made incredible work to take home and remind themselves of their worthiness.
Patricia captured these moments beautifully, as always. A big thank you to our volunteers (Mom and daughter) Adriane and Brooke Adler! And a huge virtual hug to Jade Elias and everyone at the Red Hook Initiative for welcoming us into your inspiring organization yesterday! Can't wait to come back.

Out of the Darkness Community Walk with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Battery Park, NYC

Patricia here. I'd be lying if I said today was an easy one for Arts & Dreams. Being witness to the sorrow and heartbreak of people left behind by suicide is really tough. But bringing smiles to some faces, giving hugs and providing a creative outlet for these brave people as they waited for the suicide prevention walk to begin is something that fills my heart beyond words. My window into this world is through my dear friend and Arts & Dreams partner Laura Baran who lost her beautiful brother Jeff to suicide.

I am inspired by, and in awe of, the courage of Laura's boyfriend, another dear friend, Matt Green, also touched by suicide, and all of the people in attendance, as they put one foot in front of the other - today & every day moving forward. God bless all of you. - Patricia Geremia

Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Brooklyn

Arts & Dreams joined forces with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention again on Sunday, October 23, 2011 at the Out of the Darkness Community Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. We gathered at Cadman Park Plaza in Brooklyn, steps away from the Brooklyn War Memorial. Arts & Dreams brought a healing and empowering way for suicide survivors to feel their feelings - through art making.

The inspirational books we love: Louise Hay, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Dallas Clayton's works. Plus Patricia's beautiful silver hand mirror for "mirror work", a wonderful technique made popular by Louise Hay
where you look into your own eyes and say something loving to yourself.

Volunteer Matt Green and Arts & Dreams Instructor Patricia Geremia watching over the artists.

Awesome affirmation t-shirt.



Both me and Matt have been touched by suicide. My brother Jeff took his life in 2000
and Matt's Uncle Stuart took his life before Matt was born.

This piece was based on an affirmation on one of Louise Hay's Power Thoughts for Teens cards.
We had them on the table for inspiration.


The walkers took off and the tent was left decorated on all sides with loving tributes.
Thank you for having us, AFSP. Thank you to everyone who walked over the bridge and back, made art,
smiled, cried, talked and shared. We love you and we hope to see you again.

All photos by Patricia Geremia, Matt Green or Laura Baran.

Teaming up with AFSP again! Oct 23 at Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn

We are delighted to announce we're teaming up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention again, with an Arts & Dreams workshop at the New York City Walk this Sunday to empower kids, teens and adults.

Join us on October 23, 2011 to prevent hopelessness by uplifting spirits. Arts & Dreams uses art-making to grow self-love, positivity and hope. No art experience necessary. We want to empower you to lead joyful and successful lives. And we're going to have fun doing it. 

Cadman Plaza Park (click the link for Google map)
Brooklyn, New York

Arts & Dreams Empowering Art Workshop: 
2pm - 3pm

Walk Registration:
2pm - 3pm

Opening Ceremony:
2:45pm - 3pm

Walk begins at 3pm

Subway Directions:

A, C to High Street - 2,3 to Clark Street - N, R to Court Street - F to York Street. Since it is a Sunday, be sure to check

The Out of the Darkness Community Walks are 3-5 mile walks taking place in over 200 communities across the country this year, with the proceeds benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). By walking in the Out of the Darkness Community Walks, you will be walking with thousands of other walkers nationwide to raise money for AFSP's vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives, increase national awareness about depression and suicide and provide support for survivors of suicide loss. In deciding to walk you are taking us a step closer to making suicide prevention a national priority.  You are welcome to register for the walk here.

Arts & Dreams is proud to support AFSP! We invite you to donate to AFSP.

Takin' it to the Streets!

On Saturday, Sept 10, Arts & Dreams had the awesome honor of sharing an Affirmation Drawing Workshop in Washington Square Park, as participants in the Community Wellness Fair sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We were ready for some art making fun, rain or shine.
Handy cray-pas and the very inspiring and popular Louise Hay's Power Thoughts for Teens cards.

Our sheet of affirmations. At the end of each workshop we ask everyone to read one of these affirmations out loud while looking into their own eyes in a mirror. It's powerful.

Stickers and colored pencils? Check! And a sample affirmation painting previously made by me, Laura Baran.

New York, let's do this! (That's us: Patricia Geremia and Laura Baran)

A 5 minute rain shower, Patricia started her drawing. So did Matt Green, our extra special volunteer. All photos by Patricia or Matt. He's already on his 2nd drawing here.

Oh, hello. I'm getting interviewed about Arts & Dreams. Here I'm showing a drawing of my brother Jeff. He passed away in 2000. Arts & Dreams is basically a love letter from me to him.
Check it out: I Love Myself, yo! I made this little painting to convince myself to really believe it.

The sun came out!


Grateful and stoked after a perfect day. Thank you AFSP for inviting us. And THANK YOU everyone who smiled, chatted and came over to make beautiful, meaningful art. You're all well on your way to feeling good about yourself. With love, till the next time!

Free Arts & Dreams Sep 10 in Washington Sq Park

Arts & Dreams will be a part of the NYC Community Wellness Fair on September 10, 2011!
Saturday, September 10, 2011 · 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Washington Square Park, Holley Plaza (Map)

Come visit the Arts & Dreams table and make an affirmation drawing for free! 
The NYC Chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a main sponsor of this Fair, which will consist of music, yoga classes, massages, and tables with important information on mental health and suicide prevention for the people of New York City in Washington Square Park on Saturday, September 10th from 1-5pm. 
For more information about the AFSP, click the button below.
Please share this/blog it/tweet it/repost it.
See you Sept. 10th!

The Memory Project

Ben Schumaker was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin when he created the Memory Project for kids who have been orphaned and disadvantaged. Since the kids don't have personal belongings from their childhood like photographs of themselves or baby pictures, high school students paint their portraits. This is such a magical project. Click here to check it out: The Memory Project