haven house

3-BUTTERFLIES-6X4-sm In 2014, I began teaching art at Haven House, my local domestic abuse shelter. After almost 18 months and over 300 participants, my art program continues to thrive. Once a week, I bring in a car load of art supplies – from paint and stencils to stickers and glitter and more. I have learned that stickers can be a gateway to creativity which can spark the healing process. I also know now that everything sparkles a little brighter with glitter. Art is not always in the end product, but as with life it is often in the process in which we learn the most.

ART-AT-NEW-HOME-250The women who attend my open studio on Fridays did not come to Haven House to attend an art class. Art probably would not even make the top ten list of essential life necessities for these women when they first come to Haven House. Although, I do not know if the same holds true when they leave. Women rearrange work schedules to attend my class. I like to hand out Starter Art Kits – containing a canvas, paints, and brushes (when the budget allows) so the women can continue the healing process when I’m not there. One woman upon leaving HH, had the choice to either pack my Starter Art Kit or a dvd player – she chose the Art Kit and gave the dvd player away.

No, women do not come to Haven House to learn art, but I never heard one woman say she felt she had wasted the time she spent creating – whether it was through painting, melting crayon art, paper flowers, jewelry or some new idea I wanted to try. What I do hear is “Thank you, I needed to breathe”,“That did help” and “ When are you coming back?”.

I am grateful that I am able to create this space for these women. I do what I can, because I can.

If you are interested in helping out with my Haven House Art Project with either a tax deductible donation or to volunteer, please contact me.


explore more of my Haven House projects…