Setting the standard for art instruction and education in urban neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis

Art With a Heart offers a variety of art programs for at-risk children. Throughout the school year, we offer weekly after school programs, school-year programs within kindergarten classrooms, and honors classes for students who’ve previously exhibited a passion or natural talent for art.  During the summer months, we partner with area summer camps to engage their students with visual art.  Exhibitions are held at the conclusion of each program to celebrate successes and engage the community & parents with student masterpieces.  

Our Program Offerings

All programs are done in collaboration with schools, churches, community centers and safe havens.  Our art programs are offered to those communities & children at-risk educationally, financially and/or emotionally.

Many children who come to Art With a Heart have had little exposure to the arts; some only having experience with basic drawing materials.  By giving these students the opportunity to create with high quality art materials, we expose them to more than one way of looking at and creating art.  Art With a Heart is dedicated to exposing children to the joy that comes from creating art in a safe, secure and enriching environment.

At Art With a Heart, we believe in and adhere to the following core values:

  • Quality art starts with quality materials.
  • Low student/teacher ratios (12/1), which allow us to give more individual attention.
  • The emotional well-being of our students is of utmost importance.
  • Student safety is paramount.
  • The joy of the creative process is always to be encouraged.
  • Students should be held to high expectations in order to do their best work.
  • State standards for education should and will be incorporated into lesson plans.
  • Students can/will be challenged to learn creativity and applying problem-solving skills.
  • Artistic skill/technique is first demonstrated, then practiced, reviewed and tested.
  • Students can/should be taught leadership development, team building and cooperation skills.
  • Students can/should be taught to focus and follow through on projects to completion.

2013-2014 Favorite Moments

We could spend a lot of time and words telling you why we think AWaH is awesome! At the end of last year we asked our instructors to share their favorite moments or favorite quotes from students. We hope they speak for themselves!

  • I was astonished at how involved one student was in her project. We were working on collages, and while several kids rushed through it (some even tried getting away with dumping pieces onto gluey paper), she carefully laid her pieces in like a puzzle. Though her peers were talking loudly and her table mate kept sneaking materials away from her, she remained focused. The end result was beautiful, and so was her confident smile. Sarah Norman-Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center After School Program

Bridget Swinney IPS #74 After School Program:

  • “I think Art With a Heart is awesome!  My favorite project is Black Glue Grids because it fills me up with happiness.” -Lily, grade 4

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  • “Art With a Heart is the best program because we are with our friends, my art teacher, and do lots of creative activities.  I like to create collages with many colors, like a rainbow!” -Kasey, grade 3

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  • I was astonished at how involved one student was in her project. We were working on collages, and while several kids rushed through it (some even tried getting away with dumping pieces onto gluey paper), she carefully laid her pieces in like a puzzle. Though her peers were talking loudly and her table mate kept sneaking materials away from her, she remained focused. The end result was beautiful, and so was her confident smile. Sarah Norman-Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center After School Program

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  • This year I have thoroughly enjoyed my Saturday honors class. The amount of ambition my Saturday students have is amazing to me, in particular, their amazingly creative ideas from their sketches coming to life in their clay sarcophagi project. Not only did they make connections on why they plan their projects, but they had so much fun creating with clay. Sarah El-Rahaiby-Harrison Hill After School Program

Robin Nichols and students, IPS #96-Creative Kindergarten Connections:

  • We talk about “horizon line” a lot in the Kindergarten Program. One week I asked, “So what is the horizon line”? And this Kindergartner said without any hesitation, “It’s where the end of the rainbow meets the pot of gold.”
  • Another Kindergartner asked me: “Do you do neat art projects with all of your friends all of the time?” I thought that was an interesting perception of AWAH.
  • The enthusiasm of the volunteers is amazing to me. The dedication of like-minded people to bring art into these little lives is what makes working with AWaH so rewarding. ​Kathy Calwell, Site Director-Creative Kindergarten Connections
  • AT IPS #96, we created a collaborative project between teachers and students in four classrooms participating in our Creative Kindergarten Connections program, at the request of the teachers for a project involving found and recycled objects. On the day of this event during our AWaH time, one student who was fully engaged in gluing recycled items to the heart that was his class’s portion of the whole project, looked at his Kindergarten Teacher, Robin Nichols, and said, “Ms. Nichols, I love Art With a Heart.” Her response was, “I love Art With a Heart too!” In Kindergarten, we “see” growth happen each week during our programming, as students learn new art skills, vocabulary, and math skills through our centers. However, when a very young child verbally expresses a love for learning through art, then we know we are making a difference. The best part is that we hear, I love Art With a Heart, often! Carmen Garcia-Harris, Program Manager-Creative Kindergarten Connections 

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Kait Mariutto:

  • At Westminster Neighborhood Ministries (WMNM), during spring intercession programming, the WMNM program (outside of the AWaH time) had a daily theme that I worked to connect to during the AWaH time. One of the days it was “If I were famous…”  I had the students come together in groups and brainstorm the not so great sides of being famous as an entry into the lesson that was all about using their creativity to devise an invention that would solve at least one of the “problems” with being famous.  ​
  • As expected, there were many groans with the teacher selected groups and the request to take notes, and work together as a team with each person contributing ideas. The other part I expected was that the other adults in the room and I would really have to help facilitate the discussions.  So many kids want nothing more than to be famous and see famous people as “having it all” with all their money, attention and admiration from so many.  However, what happened was four groups of students who came up with an exhaustive list of what would “bug” them if they were famous.  Just to list a few:
  1. Lack of privacy
  2. Challenge trusting people (they might just want to be your friend because you are famous)
  3. Loneliness
  4. Your mistakes are known to EVERYBODY
  5. Feeling the pressure to ALWAYS look good
  • Once through the initial groaning of not being able to choose their groups, they worked together fabulously.  This was particularly exciting as we had all ages working together, KDG – 8th grade. Their final inventions were wonderful as well.  One in particular was “concrete spray​”.  This spray could be used on the paparazzi and would turn their camera to stone/concrete.