We are the only nonprofit organization in Arizona delivering creative and therapeutic arts programs, at no cost, to children ages 3 to 21 who have faced abuse, neglect and homelessness.
Transforming children’s trauma to resilience through the arts.
Every child who has experienced the trauma of abuse, neglect and/or homelessness has access to resilience-building arts programs and caring adult volunteer mentors.
About the Children We Serve
The majority live in…
- Domestic violence or homeless shelters with one or both of their parents.
- Foster care group homes where they’ve been placed due to abuse or neglect.
- Residential treatment centers where they’re working through issues such as physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse, and violence.
- Unaccompanied minor shelters.
- Select alternative schools.
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 in Arizona.
From an initial budget of $30,000 and a volunteer base of five individuals serving 60 kids, Free Arts now employs 14 staff members and has more than 800 trained volunteers who serve more than 8,000 children each year with a budget of more than $1,200,000.
In 2011, Free Arts of Arizona 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 this award twice.
In 2015, Free Arts was awarded the 2015 Arts Advocacy Group Award by The Greater Arizona Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters. This award recognizes a non-profit organization which has demonstrated outstanding achievements in the arts community: an organization which has taken a leadership role in making an impact on culture, family life, work, leisure and/or education in and through the arts.