It has long been said that art feeds the soul as well as the mind, and now it seems the Duchess of Cambridge would agree. The Mirror reported yesterday that the Princess, Kate Middleton hosted a charity reception at London's National Portrait Gallery, one of the city's most esteemed art institutions, to celebrate the power of art in the lives of children. Natalie Evans reports:
 "Kate will honour the work of one of her chosen charities, The Art Room, which uses painting and drawing to build the self-esteem, self-confidence and independence of young people. The event will also celebrate the launch of the Pledge for the Future appeal, the charity's new fundraising initiative, and its 11th anniversary. The organisation maintains a dedicated art room in a number of secondary and primary schools in Oxford - running sessions from one to four days a week - and works with more than 20 other schools."
Art therapy, developed as early as the 1940s, promotes self-expression through a multitude of media, such as painting, drawing, sculpture, and music, in order to encourage communication and creativity.The Art Room, the charity endorsed by Middleton, works primarily with 5-16 year olds in order to work through emotional difficulties as well as build up a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Whether by creating yourself or by admiring the work of others, art certainly has a way of transforming our experience. In what ways has art been therapeutic in your life?
children painting art
[caption id="attachment_3738" align="aligncenter" width="528"]children painting canvas art Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons[/caption] Follow me on Google+

A special visit from Manor High’s Art students

Tweet After the recent art makeover of Manor ISD’s Oak meadows elementary, the high school art students decided to visit the Gallery Direct offices in Austin, Texas.  Everyday we transform original works of art into pretty much anything you can think … Read More

After the recent art makeover of Manor ISD’s Oak meadows elementary, the high school art students decided to visit the Gallery Direct offices in Austin, Texas.  Everyday we transform original works of art into pretty much anything you can think up, from wall sized art to prints on unique materials such as birchwood and aluminum!   students admiring the gallery checking out our fun graffiti wall mural   The students were eager to see the equipment and the process we use to create the prints found throughout our office and we were excited to show them every step of the process, from imaging to framing; which is now widely spread out since our recent renovation and growth!     We could tell by the conversations the students were having towards the end of the tour about the many creative ways in which they could print their own artwork or possibly have  future careers working with art, that they left inspired - & of course not empty handed.

Because Art = Freedom with ART FEEDS

Tweet Because Art = Freedom. “These children are being empowered through the freedom of expression. They are learning, some for the first time, how to be kids and dream big. At one point in their lives, they were sold for … Read More

Because Art = Freedom. “These children are being empowered through the freedom of expression. They are learning, some for the first time, how to be kids and dream big. At one point in their lives, they were sold for the amount we pay for a few cups of coffee.” - Go Team Ghana Website Art Feeds, an art therapy program based out of Joplin, Missouri developed the art curriculum programs for the Touch A Life Foundation's long term rehabilitative care center in Ghana. The Touch A Life Foundation is dedicated to rescuing children in Ghana, Vietnam and Cambodia that were sold into child slavery.  Providing holistic long-term child care to these vulnerable children, the foundation has rescued 93 children out of slavery. [caption id="attachment_2508" align="alignright" width="317" style="float:right; position:relative;"] Photo Credit: Touch A Life Foundation[/caption] Gallery Direct learned about their mission and jumped at the opportunity to help these brave children and other children that have suffered. We are honored to donate one blank canvas to Art Feeds for every piece of Gallery Direct Artwork sold in December. Your art purchase helps bring inspiration and a smile to these children's lives. I encourage you to read the story about Mark Kwadwo on the home page that inspired the, Find Your Mark campaign.  The story is heavy on the heart, but knowing that fortunate people, like most of us, have taken a stand to help these children is inspirational. "People say I rescued Mark, but the truth is, he rescued me. He has shown me what matters in life - the things that are really important. Without Mark, I’d never be the person, the woman, or the Mom that I am today. And it all started with the decisions to believe in myself, and to take a huge risk." - Pam Cope, Co-Founder For more information about Art Feeds and the Touch A Life Foundation please visit: http://www.touchalifekids.org  

Move That Bus!!!

Tweet If you remember, a group of the Gallery Direct team went out to the Extreme Makeover Home Edition build last year.  The episode airs tonight!!!  Tune in to ABC at 7pm Central Time. The two hour show is the special Christmas-themed … Read More

If you remember, a group of the Gallery Direct team went out to the Extreme Makeover Home Edition build last year.  The episode airs tonight!!!  Tune in to ABC at 7pm Central Time. The two hour show is the special Christmas-themed episode, where host Ty Pennington visits the Zdroj Family of Smithville, TX. Mizzy Zdroj is a female firefighter volunteer whose own home was destroyed by the largest wildfire in Texas history. The episode features an appearance by BMX biker Matt Hoffman, Chef Art Smith and some special guests from "Star Wars." No longer than two months before we arrived to the home, the most destructive wild fire in Texas history ripped through this area destroying over 1,600 homes; leaving many families and the surrounding pine forests completely devastated. The community has since demonstrated that even a natural disaster of this magnitude couldn't keep them down. After the month long fire ended, volunteers with varying skills from Bastrop and surrounding areas banded together to rebuild their homes from rubble. Extreme Makeover spent a lot of time in Bastrop speaking to locals about the specific destruction they had experienced while also searching for a family who was in need of more than a little extra help. During their search they learned about the Heart of the Pines Volunteer Fire Department which had been completely destroyed during the fire while the firefighters were out battling the flames themselves. Members of the Heart of the Pines are all long standing volunteer members, but during such an unexpected and overwhelming catastrophe, many members of community left their homes behind to help aid the Firefighters defend what was left of the town they share and call home. One of these selfless individuals was Mizzie Zdroj. The Zdroj home was located less than 400 yards from the Heart of the Pines fire station, and burned to the ground in mere moments of each other. Abandoned foundations and burned single standing chimneys lined the road leading up to the Zdroj and Heart of the Pines site. It's heartbreaking to see the widespread damage throughout Bastrop and Smithville. In just 7 days, Extreme Makeover and the community not only rebuilt the Zdroj family home, but also completed a fire station for Smithville's Heart of the Pines firefighter family. As proud sponsors of this effort and Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Gallery Direct got out of the office for a few days and into the volunteer action over in Smithville. Nearing the end of the project, for 3 days hundreds of volunteers came out to help with the finals stages, from landscaping to simply moving furniture in. Every aspect of building these new structures was donated, sponsored and offered up freely by Extreme Makeover and the community. That's pretty powerful, see for yourself and tune in tonight at 7p (CT) on ABC.

BECAUSE ART = FREEDOM

Tweet “Because Art = Freedom” is written across the Touch a Life Foundation’s website, followed by, “These children are being empowered through the freedom of expression. They are learning, some for the first time, how to be kids and dream … Read More

“Because Art = Freedom” is written across the Touch a Life Foundation’s website, followed by, “These children are being empowered through the freedom of expression. They are learning, some for the first time, how to be kids and dream big. At one point in their lives, they were sold for the amount we pay for a few cups of coffee.” The Touch of Life Foundation is dedicated to rescuing children in Ghana, Vietnam and Cambodia that were sold into child slavery.  Providing holistic long-term child care to these vulnerable children, the foundation has rescued over 100 of the 7,000 children and use art as a way to heal. Gallery Direct learned about their mission and jumped at the opportunity to help these brave children.   We are honored to have recently donated artwork and supplies to help bring inspiration and a smile to these children.  The supplies included blank canvases, wallquotes, and empty frames. I encourage you to read the story about "Mark" on the home page that inspired the, "find your mark" campaign.  The story is heavy on the heart, but knowing that fortunate people, like most of us, have taken a stand to help these children is inspirational. "People say I rescued Mark, but the truth is, he rescued me. He has shown me what matters in life - the things that are really important. Without Mark, I’d never be the person, the woman, or the Mom that I am today. And it all started with the decisions to believe in myself, and to take a huge risk." - Pam Cope, Founder For more information about the Touch a Life Foundation please visit: http://www.touchalifekids.org  

Changing Lives with LifeWorks, One Room at a Time

Tweet We’re always honored to have the opportunity to work with LifeWorks, an awe-inspiring organization that provides counseling, housing and support services to at-risk youth and families in the Austin area. Through the LifeWorks Supportive Housing program, former foster children, … Read More

We're always honored to have the opportunity to work with LifeWorks, an awe-inspiring organization that provides counseling, housing and support services to at-risk youth and families in the Austin area. Through the LifeWorks Supportive Housing program, former foster children, formerly homeless kids, and teen parents are provided with a safe place to live while they get back on their feet. Last week, more than 300 corporate and community volunteers came together to participate in LifeWorks' annual Home Improvement Challenge, and teams of volunteers worked with local designers to transform these living spaces into fully furnished and decorated homes—in a one-day race against the clock. We can't think of any group of people who deserve beautiful, inspiring spaces more than the kids and families LifeWorks supports. We were thrilled to play a role in this year's Home Improvement Challenge: our photographer, Candice, shot photos of each LifeWorks client family, and each of them received a surprise family portrait in their newly transformed apartment. On top of that, our amazing CEO, Joseph Garcia, and his wife spent the day working on an apartment makeover (Joseph is on the LifeWorks board).    

Often when school budgets are tight, art programs are first to get cut. This was the case at the Manor School District near Austin, Texas.  Gallery Direct heard about their situation and immediately wanted to help get art into these students lives.

Studies have shown that art in schools increases test scores and productivity.  Students also behave better when they are in a school that has clean hallways, classrooms and common areas.  Art gives students a sense of pride in their school and inspiration to achieve thier dreams.

Gallery Direct worked with the Manor School teachers and students to bring thier walls to life with inspiration.  Checkout our before and after photos of the cafeteria below.

[caption id="attachment_2317" align="alignleft" width="299"] The Cafeteria Before Gallery Direct's Makeover[/caption]

 

 

 

 

 

[caption id="attachment_2318" align="alignleft" width="528"] The Cafeteria after Gallery Direct's Makeover[/caption]

 

Move that bus!

Gallery

This gallery contains 34 photos.

Recently, Extreme Makeover Home Edition was in our neck of the woods, literally!  In Season 9-Episode 14, the Extreme Team makes their way deep into The Lost Pines forest of Smithville, Texas. No longer than two months ago the most … Read More

If you're in the Austin, Texas area sign up now to help build a miracle in Bastrop County.  That is right!!! Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is headed to Bastrop County. Join the crew tomorrow night for a pep rally and sign up to help out!  Visit www.joinextreme.com/texas
Not to sure if this is a Texas thing or maybe it was just my old school, but I hated walking the hallways and seeing nothing but brick walls.  Me, being an art person, always wanted to see colors and pictures, but my school just never had that.  Tuesday I had the pleasure of giving a tour to the Principal and a couple of teachers from Oak Meadows Elementary School, Manor ISD.  We recently put up a Mural in their school and I can’t tell you how grateful they were to have something so wonderful on their walls. The teachers absolutely loved the mural, but the kids thought it was the most awesome thing!  (especially the young man in the picture J) So as I gave the tour, I spoke more about what our CEO, Joe Garcia, wanted to do and in the making.  He wants to help cover up those ugly brick walls with some nice, beautiful artwork made by our artist and these students.  Here is part of an e-mail he wrote to the company: “In the meantime, we still want to continue with the mission of helping disadvantaged schools and school districts by providing art, art supplies such as our bi-products which can be stretched canvas, rolls of paper, loose canvas, wall coverings, returned art work, etc. Our cause is to help keep art essential! Many schools districts are cutting or eliminating art programs. This teaches kids that art is not important. I would love to see more people involved in this great cause which aligns well with the company” I am absolutely stoked about this project in the making, which we hope will be called InvisionART, a non-profit foundation. We thank the Teachers, Principles, Director of Advanced Programs and Fine Arts and Superintendent from Manor ISD for all the help, inspiration, and excitement that they have given our company.  We hope that the art given to you all brings joy to you and your students as much as it gives us! On an ending note please keep a look out as we continue to work hard on building this foundation!  We are excited! Take a look at the link below for a sneak peek! InvisionART MANOR ISD