Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona Receives $75,000 Grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation

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Every year Free Arts serves over 6,000 homeless, abused and at-risk children in the greater Phoenix area through four different programs: Weekly Mentor, Free Arts Days, Multicultural Arts Camps and the Professional Artist Series. Thanks to a grant from The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, the Professional Artist Series will be $50,000 stronger.

Free Arts Check Presentation

Free Arts Check Presentation

Exhibiting young participants’ creativity is another level of helping build their self-esteem and social skills.

Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona celebrates its 20th Anniversary next month with a kick-off luncheon October 2, 2013 at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn. Since 1993, Free Arts has served over 82,000 homeless, abused and at-risk youth through its programs for children, delivering the mission of healing through artistic expression. Free Arts is the only organization in Arizona that specifically targets the healing effects of the arts for our state’s most vulnerable children.

Free Arts serves over 6,000 children a year through four different programs: Weekly Mentor, Free Arts Days, Multicultural Arts Camps and the Professional Artist Series. Thanks to a grant from The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, the Professional Artist Series will be $50,000 stronger. The grant will allow for artwork to not only be created but also showcased throughout the Valley. Exhibiting young participants’ creativity is another level of helping build their self-esteem and social skills.

“Art is wonderful therapy,” said The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation Co-Founder Renee Parsons. “Free Arts does an incredible job empowering Arizona’s most fragile youth to find their voice – and their smile – through their art.”

In December 2012, The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation supported the Professional Artist Series which allowed for the creation of a mural based on the works of Diego Rivera. The program partnered five professional teaching artists with youth in a predominantly Hispanic domestic violence shelter run by Chicanos por La Causa. The mural, which creates a bright exterior area adorned with familiar, cultural images on an otherwise brown campus, is a point of pride for all the women and children who participated in the program.

One 12 year old girl proclaimed, “the mural makes me so happy. It reminds me of making tortillas with my grandmother.”

The remaining $25,000 will support a new and exciting initiative which will enable Free Arts to further engage donors and expand the organization’s reach. The gift from The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation exemplifies their commitment to helping organizations invest in their own sustainability.

“We are very grateful to Bob and Renee Parsons for seeing the value in our programs for at-risk youth,” said Free Arts Development Manager Marion Donaldson. “Free Arts is the next step in the healing process for the children who seek refuge through our 30 plus partners agencies. We empower kids to build healthy relations with adults and find sanctuary in their creativity.”

About Free Arts for Abused Children’s Professional Artist Series
Free Arts’ Professional Artist Series commissions’ professional teaching artists across all mediums to work in-depth with at-risk youth in a specific art form. Painting, dancing, glass blowing, culinary arts, drumming, etc. allow for the therapeutic benefits of art and offer these youth the opportunity to explore their talents and dream about their future. Often these series and workshops culminate in a final performance or exhibition. For more information on Free Arts, visit: http://www.freeartsaz.org.

About the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation inspires hope by providing critical funding at critical times to communities striving to make a difference. The foundation primarily focuses on issues in the greater Phoenix area. The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation believes every person is entitled to an education, good nutrition, medical care, a stress-free, happy environment and the hope that they too, will share in the American Dream. The foundation provides funding to non-profit organizations that are successfully addressing these essential needs. The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation is also committed to the children of Haiti, helping to grow and improve schools, medical services and overall well-being for communities in rural Haiti through the Hope for Haiti organization.

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Leela Brennan

Marion Donaldson