Healing through creative expression and community
The journey starts with art, but that's just the beginning. We spark creativity in underprivileged communities and inspire individuals to experience the joy of self-expression to improve quality of life.
From young students to seniors, we have programs for everyone. Our programs, classes and events are designed to make participants feel calm and comfortable in creating art as individuals. We supply all of the art supplies needed for expression, but we also bring our empathy and work to make sure everyone is having a positive experience.
Promoting overall well-being, joy and a sense of achievement.
We honor the dignity of our artists.
Providing a welcoming environment that promotes personal expression, development and even healing.
Creativity and the gifts of our volunteers transform all of us and call together a generous community who can facilitate a positive change in the lives of others.
Promoting kindness, hospitality and support.
Building bridges and relationships with people in need that offer hope and opportunities for a better life.
Art for the Journey was initially an adult art instruction class until we noticed that many people who sought out painting classes weren't participating solely for instruction, but as a way of stepping back from a busy life or experiencing peace and perspective during a difficult time. It was a natural choice for us to see beyond art instruction and recognize the wonderful powers of creativity for well-being and even healing, making AFTJ the organization it is today.
We Teach Painting in a Prison
In Mark Hierholzer's art studio, relationships grow around the idea of bringing art-making benefits to women in prison. Those four people start the first art class at Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland with eight incarcerated women.
Our Organization is Founded
The prison program is a wonderful success. A founding board of directors is formed and Art for the Journey becomes a nonprofit corporation on June 19, 2014.
First Children’s Program is Launched
At the invitation of The Carmel School in Ruther Glen, VA, a group of volunteers begin conducting a weekly painting class for students.
Staff and Funding Are Established
In April, Mark Hierholzer is hired by the board to be part-time President/CEO. By the end of 2015, $88,667 is raised to support staff, programs and operations.
New Partnership in Mental Health
Art for the Journey pilots a program for people with mental health challenges in partnership with Henrico County, led by artist and doctor, Steve Sawyer.
Older Adults with Dementia Make Art
Hierholzer and two volunteers are trained and certified in “Opening Minds through Art” (OMA). St. Mary’s Woods Retirement Community partners with us to launch the first OMA program in Virginia.
The Team Grows
To manage the growing number of programs, volunteers and VCU work-study students, Cindy Paullin is hired as part-time Volunteer Coordinator and Jamie Wigginton is hired as part-time Program Coordinator.
In October, we celebrate the healing benefits of art in our community at our first annual Gala and Art Exhibit. By the end of 2016, our budget is at $125,000.
We Widen Our Reach to Youth and Elderly
Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School in Richmond's East End invites us to bring art to its underserved youth. Meanwhile, Art for the Journey becomes the first OMA training center outside Ohio.
The Community Bears Witness
Our programs are highlighted through the media and community presentations, and we exhibit program art at General Assembly through the “Abilities Caucus."
We Meet the Veterans
We develop specialized programming for veterans suffering combat-related disabilities, and partner with McGuire Holmes Veterans Affairs Hospital.
Our Space & Staff Expand
We move into The Frable Studio at Independence Golf Club. Our staff grows to include Melba Gibbs as Community Engagement Coordinator and Stephanie Shanks as Operations Coordinator. Our volunteer cohort is at 250 people.
The New Brand Is Launched
A new logo, new print materials, and new website by Veracity expresses the essence of our mission and captures the spirit of this beautiful community.