To see the enjoyment this creative break brings to their stressful lives is magic.
"To see the enjoyment this creative break brings to their stressful lives is magic. The art projects create such a strongvibe of thoughtfulness, concentration, and peacefulness. It's truly magic."
- Michele Christopher, Social Service Agency Social Worker
In 1993, art therapists Elda Unger and Margaret Beresford met to talk about the Free Arts for Abused Children Program that Elda founded in California. Inspired by these programs that used the creative arts to heal abused children, Margaret and founding Executive Director Stephanie Small gathered a group of individuals who were passionate about the arts, healing and children, and laid the ground work to develop Free Arts.
From an initial budget of $30,000 and a volunteer base of five individuals serving 60 children, Free Arts now employs 11 staff members and has over 500 volunteers that serve nearly 6,000 children each year in four core programs with a budget of more than $900,000.
In 2011, Free Arts was awarded the Governor’s Arts Community Award and was named the Arts Organization of the Year by the Arts and Business Council of Greater Phoenix, the only organization to win the award twice. Free Arts is the only nonprofit organization in Arizona that brings therapeutic creative arts programs to homeless and abused children.