How It Began
Founded in 1999, ArtBridge Houston was created by an art therapist who, after working with a six-year-old named Daniel at a local psychiatric hospital, discovered that Daniel had been abandoned. His parents had given the hospital false identification and then sadly, they disappeared. Three weeks later, after a mandatory discharge, Daniel was placed in a homeless shelter. Concerned for his well-being, the art therapist began to visit him regularly and was heartbroken to discover the large number of “Daniels” in that shelter and throughout the Houston area.
ArtBridge was established to make it possible for all the “Daniels”—the homeless children and at-risk youth– to experience the healing power of therapeutic and expressive arts.
For a child without a home, the impact can be devastating. Imagine for a moment what it would mean in your own life to be without a place to sleep, to shower, to keep your clothing and possessions, and to build your life and cherish memories.
ArtBridge Houston has nurtured the spirits of thousands of homeless children during its seventeen-year history. The organizational mission is simple—it is to provide therapeutic and expressive arts programs to homeless and at-risk children within a supportive and creative environment to nurture their development to grow physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and culturally. Each week trained facilitators with the aid of two to four volunteers, lead hour long classes throughout the greater Houston community. The focus is on the process—the class is not about the end-result, but rather how the art process can provide an opportunity for a child to express their unique identity.
Homelessness and family turmoil can lead to depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, but through ArtBridge Houston thousands of children have found hope and become productive contributors to the community.