3 Benefits of Art Therapy for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

April 22, 2023

By Courtney Chandler

Since its emergence in 1969, art therapy is a growing mental health field that uses traditional processes of therapy integrated with creative expression. Today, art therapy is widely practiced in a variety of settings, including churches, homeless shelters, and community centers.

How does art therapy benefit individuals that are experiencing homelessness? Here are three ways:

1. Art making can be a meaningful activity with therapeutic benefits.

Research has demonstrated that art therapy is a unique tool for reducing stress and anxiety, resolving inner afflictions, healing from grief, increasing self-esteem and wellbeing, and working through maladjusted behaviors, addictions, or other mental-health conditions.

2. Therapeutic art making in a group setting provides positive community connection, while allowing individuals to express themselves with personal autonomy. Art therapy provides a safe space for life stories to be seen and heard.

Unfortunately, individuals experiencing homelessness are often battling mental illness, trauma, and challenging life circumstance that can leave them feeling dehumanized, unworthy, or unfit for society. Art therapy provides a creative outlet for individuals to share their thoughts, emotions, and stories in empowering ways. In a group setting, meaningful connections are made as individuals connect through their vulnerability.

3. Creating meaningful artwork can promote self-worth and give rise to feelings of pride and accomplishment.

Learning new skills promotes self-esteem and confidence. Additionally, expressive art making can be a joyful activity that has mood-boosting benefits. Being able to recognize, ‘Wow, I’ve created something from nothing’ is a tangible metaphor for what is possible in other areas of life.

Alison Hughey

Music Therapist

Alison Hughey’s greatest passion is guiding clients in connection, comfort and communication through music. Since studying music therapy at Converse University and earning her board certification in 2010, she has served clients from 18 months of age up to 103 years old and contributed to research in community mental health and dementia care. Alison wears multiple “music hats” as a worship leader, band member, and music & wellness workshop facilitator.

Jared Emerson

Performance Artist

Jared Emerson is world renown for his captivating performance art and studio originals.  His art has raised millions of dollars for charities and ministries around the world.  Jared’s work with Premier Arts Collective allows him to use his gifts by engaging in interactive art classes and performances across the globe; using his art for healing, therapy and restoration for those who have experienced trauma and abuse.

Born in Michigan and now residing in Greenville, South Carolina, Jared’s personal mission has led him to perform and create art, in a vast array of media, for a large number of collectors, corporations, churches and charities, with his performance piece “Face of God” being the most requested.

Jared’s credits include: ReviveUs 2 with Kirk Cameron, Winter Jam concert tour, TEDx, K-LOVE, CBS Sports, Game Plan for Life, The 700 Club, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, NASCAR, Museum of the Bible, Coca-Cola, Michelin, Land Rover, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Pistons, Family Christian Stores and countless others.

Jared’s success has made his artwork sought after by many celebrities and sports figures.  His clients include: Carrie Underwood, Carson Wentz, Jack Nicklaus, Guy Fieri, Joe Gibbs, Willie Mays, Albert Pujols, Jimmy John, Forrest Lucas, Smokey Robinson and Joe Greene, to name a few.

For booking information, contact gene@premierartscollective.com 

Anita Yeh Norrie

Art Therapist

Anita Yeh Norrie (MA-Art Therapy) is passionate about creating change and improving lives through the transformative power of creating art. A life-long believer in the therapeutic and cathartic power of art, she built her career around developing programs and relationships that encourage expression, and self-realization through creativity.

While an art and design business owner, she was the vehicle of expression for her client’s vision. As an art therapist, she has created therapeutic art programs for kids, for mental health programs and non-profits, launched and operated an open art studio for a community arts center, and led hundreds of people to live a better life through their own discovery of creativity and artistic self-expression.

Anita’s current work of art is Art Power!, the non-profit she founded in 2017 where she and her team are working to change the lives of underserved kids in Cozumel, Mexico, through their therapeutic, choice-based art studio.”

When not in the art studio, you can usually find Anita contemplating her next project while exploring tasty food stands and out-of-the-way eateries, wherever she may be.

Courtney Chandler

Art Therapist

Courtney Chandler is a registered art therapist, licensed professional counselor associate, trauma-conscious yoga teacher, and founder of HeARTS for Hope Therapy in Greenville, SC. She has a decade of experience offering expressive art therapy groups in mental health facilities, schools, detention facilities, and substance use treatment centers across the country. She loves supporting adults and teens as they navigate challenges of trauma and grief, using an integrative combination of art therapy, somatic psychotherapy, and EMDR. Motivated by the belief that everyone is innately creative and art is an expression of self-love and divine connection, she uses a holistic mind-body approach in her therapeutic practice, and feels honored to hold space for hope and healing.

Samuel Monterrosa

Vocal Coach and Head of Nu-Day Academy

Samuel Monterrosa is the Director of Nu-Day Academy in San Salvador, El Salvador. He has been mentoring, coaching and advising students in music education for over 15 years. He is often asked how music helps. Samuel believes that for many children, music is opportunity. Music is the way out of a life of poverty and brokenness. Nu-Day Academy provides opportunities for youth to build their self-esteem through music.

Born and raised in San Salvador, Samuel believes all lasting achievement is rooted in developing good character and maturity through the daily exercise of personal responsibility. Samuel’s guidance at Nu-Day Academy has built an environment focusing on character skills.

Under Samuel’s leadership, Nu-Day Community Choir was formed. The choir has become a favorite to the entire country, performing on every national television station, at concerts and for the Salvadorian government. Samuel is also the baritone pillar in the youth band known throughout Latin America as One Love El Salvador.