heARTS is a unique space where unique things happen. It’s a place where kids and teens can drop in and create art without instructions, or the lists of Dos and Don’ts that are all over our classrooms and clubs from age five on. In fact, that exact thing is avoided.
The philosophy has always been about giving teens the opportunity and supplies we usually don’t have, so we can find our own unique ways to tell our stories. It’s about introducing us to types of art we’d never get to experience otherwise; different types of dance and music and more obscure things like paper quilling and intuitive painting.
Courageous heARTS changes lives. Maybe not in the giant, disease-curing ways that people think of when they hear that phrase, but in smaller forms. It’s a place that empowers you, and teaches you new talents and passions that you can take with you wherever you go.
I’m a member of the Youth Advisory Board at heARTS. I joined in the first summer, almost two years ago, just after my freshman year in high school. I was shy and uncomfortable with who I was, and had told myself I was just not an artist. At least, not a real one.
heARTS changed all of that. One of the first things I heard from Lindsay, the founder, was that everyone is an artist. There’s no special qualifications, no “Your trees must be this realistic,” or “Your faces should have these proportions.” The only thing you need to do to be an artist it make art. The only thing that makes it art is your decision that it is.
That boggled my mind. It changed my life, that realization, the classification of myself as an artist, was important. It was the first step to becoming comfortable with being me. That’s the sort of thing that courageous heARTS does, and it’s something that needs to keep happening, something that every teen deserves to have happen for them. It’s something that can only happen at a place like heARTS.
However, the reality of the world is that places need money, and that money is kind of hard to get when you don’t charge anyone for what you do. We need money for art supplies, for the snacks we have during classes, and to pay the rent. We’d also like to be able to finally pay a salary to our amazing, hardworking, and incredibly courageous leader, Lindsay Walz, who gives 110% of herself to this place.
Courageous heARTS is one of a kind, and the things that happen there are too important to lose. What I’m asking is that this November 13th, you give to the max, from the heART, so kids and teens can keep discovering new things about who they are as artists, as community members, and as people.
P.S. Share your support for heARTS on social media and use the official Give to the Max Day hashtag #GTMD14. Hopefully even more people will find out about heARTS!