Arts Refreshing the Soul (A.R.T.S.) focuses its efforts on shelters, social service agencies, and community centers throughout the greater Chicagoland area. Our target population is women and children coping with and/or recovering from domestic violence, poverty and/or homelessness.

We currently serve over 1000 children and women!

Our Purpose

We use the arts as a self-empowering tool to encourage our clients to: creatively express themselves and access their inner voice, create positive and joyful memories while creating art, learn new skills whether they be the basic fundamentals of the arts disciplines, school readiness skills, or parenting skills, and gain insight into a broader world perspective.

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Our Weekly Classes

Moms and Young Child (0-6 years)

The “Moms and Young Child” program incorporates music (both instrumental and vocal), dance, visual arts, and imaginative play-acting into a 1 ½ hour lesson each week. The music curriculum is a standards-based, research-supported curriculum that incorporates age-appropriate school readiness skills, pre-literacy skills, and music foundations from Kindermusik International. The art curriculum consists of complimentary age-appropriate art projects that include exposure to many different mediums using cultural, seasonal, and thematic ideas for inspiration. Repetition is built into our lesson format to help young children with routine and behavior expectations, but the specific activities within each component of the lessons are changed every week.

Our program fits our philosophy perfectly – we cover the spectrum of basic arts fundamentals while weaving in other goals of recovery and discovery of self by engaging our clients in self-empowering experiences in the arts.

If you are interested in teaching a Moms and Young Child Class and want to learn more, click here.


Youth Programs (K-8th grade)

A.R.T.S. Classes are adaptable for older children and can be tailored to best fit the needs of the particular agency A.R.T.S. is serving.

The “Youth Group Drumming Circle” is a new addition to A.R.T.S. programming and was introduced in the fall of 2017. Group Drumming uses rhythm and assorted drums and percussion instruments as a tool for positivity, self-empowerment and unity within a group setting. This form of programming is used to empower each individual by sharing their creative expression and celebrating being part of a community, while at the same time allowing each youth to find their individual voice within the group drumming circle.  Since rhythm is a language used universally without having to learn to read music, even the youngest individual in the group can be engaged in our drum circle for a positive interaction with their peers. Group drumming has been shown to improve academic scores in school, improve anger in adolescents 6 weeks after completion of the protocol, and also improve negative self-evaluation and depression which can be common in at-risk youth. Drumming in these types of groups also builds social emotional skills and has been shown to improve attention and hyperactivity problems. Youth will be able to attend weekly drumming groups throughout the school year.

If you are interested in teaching a Youth Program Class in either art or music and want to learn more, click here.


Special Arts Experiences

A.R.T.S. partners with community businesses, performing arts organizations, museums, and guest artists to provide special programming for our clients. Experiences can include: Employee volunteer A.R.T.S./Works! Days, field trip experiences, guest artist performances, and guest artist teaching/sharing experiences.

In addition, your company can also sponsor a special artist residency program. These programs help young people deepen their understanding of their own creative capacity by working with a professional artist for 4 to 6 weeks.

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Partner Organizations

Please contact A.R.T.S. if you are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit shelter program or social service agency interested in partnering with A.R.T.S. to provide arts programming at your agency.

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Calling all teachers and guest artists!

Please contact A.R.T.S. if you wish to be considered for a weekly afterschool contracted teaching position or guest teaching-artist – for art and/or music.

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Why Our Program is Important

Arts education makes a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has been proven to help level the “learning field” across socio-economic boundaries.

“This class has been the most precious gift and reward every week for my 2 little girls since they were babies. They both grew up with this class learning skills and new songs, and also learning to share, take turns, and to cleanup the instruments and art materials they use in class. The first songs they learned were the ABC songs we sang every week in class. My girls insist we play the music CD‘s from the class with those same songs everywhere we drive and in our daily play. Thanks Miss Kim and Miss Laura for your patience and all you taught to my little girls. Thanks to everyone who makes this possible for my girls. We love A.R.T.S. class.”

Carmen, Samantha, and Allyson 

We offer many ways to contribute to the A.R.T.S. mission. Find the way that best suits you!  LEARN MORE