Fundraiser benefits Art with a Heart’s Workforce Development Program

On Friday, September 13 from 5:30 to 8 pm, Art with a Heart is hosting a free evening of live music and art created by students in their HeARTworks Workforce Development program. There will be a wide variety of unique works of art large and small, including mosaics, succulent planters, ceramics, jewelry, home decor and more.

This outdoor event will feature food and beverages by Sporty Dog Creations and Peabody Heights brewery along with the music of The Swayzees – a surf/soul/rock-a-billy ensemble from Key West – at Art with a Heart’s headquarters on Falls Rd.

Proceeds from the sale of items are shared between the organization and its community partners. Attendees will also have the chance to get creative on an art project serving the Baltimore community.

Executive director Randi Pupkin started Art with a Heart out of the trunk of her car in 2000 with a mission to enhance the lives of people in need through visual art. Back then, while she was still a practicing attorney, she brought art classes into two group homes, the House of Ruth for victims of domestic violence, and a facility for patients with Alzheimer’s.

“I got frustrated with fighting with other lawyers as opposed to making a difference in the world. So I combined my love of people and art and started Art with a Heart,” said Pupkin, who stopped practicing law and now runs the organization full time. “We bring art into communities for people who don’t have access to visual art.”

What started out in just four locations has ballooned to 14,500 classes annually in Baltimore’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. Art with a Heart brings interactive visual arts classes into schools, community centers, group homes, shelters, permanent housing facilities, hospitals, and senior housing facilities.

Art with a Heart provides teachers, assistants, materials and innovative curriculum to engage vulnerable neighbors in consistent art programming. In addition to its interactive art classes, Art with a Heart has complementary initiatives, including a job program (HeARTworks Workforce Development program), service learning opportunities, community service projects, public art efforts, a social enterprise/retail store, HeARTwares, and a leadership program.

In the HeARTworks program, youth ages 14 – 24 learn essential job skills while learning to make art. This program has provided a safe and collaborative work environment for almost 600 young adults since it began 12 years ago. Participants of this program meet every day, produce marketable works of art, and engage in job skills workshops. This program provides tangible work opportunities for the participants who create, price and sell the items they have produced.

Participants sell their art at Art with a Heart’s social enterprise and retail store, HeARTwares, and are paid a daily stipend contingent upon attendance and timeliness. Young people learn to think creatively about their personal goals and future plans as each session offers them a sense of belonging and accomplishment.

Throughout the program, participants benefit by learning how to comply with the rules and procedures of a workplace, engaging in a program with concrete expectations and structure, working in a retail store, and meeting and talking to the public in a meaningful and appropriate manner.

“The program helped me to break out of my shell and I was becoming a better person each day of the program,” said one recent participant. “This program always ends up changing my life in multiple ways, the people here are amazing…I felt as though it was a privilege to be here.”

HeARTwares offers a wide variety of handmade and one-of-a-kind artwork, jewelry, housewares, furniture, stationery, and garden ornaments. If you can’t make the Shop and Bop event, be sure to check out HeARTwares Monday- Thursday from 10 am – 6 pm; Friday from 10 am – 2 pm; and Saturday & Sunday by appointment.

Shop and Bop at Art with a Heart

Friday, September 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Mill No. 1: 3000 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211

For more information, go to http://artwithaheart.net.

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by AvenueNews.com

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