Hopefully you can join us for the holiday party on the 4th (invitation below)!
Meanwhile, here’s what we have to share during this wonderful season of light:
(read the pdf of our 2018-Annual Request Letter or read text below)
Happy Holidays from Kumi!
My name is Kumi, and I am 18 years old. This holiday season, I’d like to share my story of transformation with you.
Before Art from Ashes, I was just an empty shell named Kumi, and I had a degree in making bad decisions. Now I’m getting a different kind of degree at CCD, thanks in large part to Art from Ashes!
I was full of creativity, hidden behind a door barred shut by my enemy Bipolar Disorder. I was frustrated, depressed, ecstatic, and powerless. Imagine trying to defeat a monster with only a bottle of pills, the wrong kind of friends, and bad love relationships. Doesn’t make much sense, right?
But then Art from Ashes came to our Creative Writing class at Endeavor Academy. I was so excited about how easy it was to let out my creativity in the form of poetry. I didn’t really ever do much poetry before, so it was new and interesting…and soon it became my favorite thing to do.
I finally had something new to fight my monster with and you better believe I felt empowered! I felt strong with my new weapon and confident in my new skills. I learned the power of my voice as I read my poetry to the people willing to listen, and I learned how to conquer my fears. And with Art from Ashes, I learned to help empower others, as well.
Art from Ashes was able to come to Endeavor Academy because of generous donations from community members just like you. I’d like to thank you for your support and ask that you please consider financially supporting Art from Ashes this holiday season so that more youth can experience empowerment and transformation through art and poetry.
—Kumi Avila, Youth Representative to the Art from Ashes Board of Directors
Here’s what your generous donation provides:
- At Art from Ashes, we believe in paying artists! Your donation of $50 provides an honorarium for a guest poet or artist to inspire and motivate the young people in our workshops.
- We spend more than $1000 a year providing an honorarium to youth who perform their poetry for the community! Any amount you designate can support that goal!
- We believe in healthy food and LOTS of water for youth. Your donation of $50 will provide enough food and water for one 2-hour workshop for up to 20 young people! How many workshops would you like to support?
- A monthly donation of $100 will provide writing and art materials for four of our weekly drop-in workshops, held every Wednesday (Phoenix Rising) and Thursday (Drawing on Air Creative Time).
- A one-time gift of $2000 will support a year’s worth of weekly workshops for a struggling youth.
- A one-time gift of $5000 will provide the cost of an 8-workshop program for 20 youth ($15/hr. per youth), which would include operating costs as well as program expenses.
- Of course, we would very much appreciate any amount you’re willing to donate!
Does your employer match your donation? Please let us know!
And we hope you’ll come to our Annual Celebration of Light Party on Colorado Gives Day, Dec 4th from 7 to 9 pm at Art from Ashes, 1310 west 10th ave, denver
Happy Season of Light from the board and staff of AfA!
We hope you enjoyed Kumi’s powerful story of transformation. Stories like Kumi’s, and the stories we’ve heard from countless other young people over the years, remind us why we exist and inspire us to continue this important work. Colorado Gives Day is Tuesday, December 4th—a day that allows our generous donors to contribute towards that beautiful goal. During that 24-hour period your donation counts more than any other time.
Speaking of years…on October 10, Art from Ashes celebrated its 15th anniversary! That’s 15 years of young people discovering their creative genius through our unique and innovative programs. At Art from Ashes, we believe that by discovering their creativity, young people are empowered through art and poetry to find their voice, change their stories, and transform their lives. And as numerous studies and our own surveys have shown, it works.
In 2018, Art from Ashes experienced a few transformations as well:
- AfA won the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture! This prestigious award is given to organizations that make significant and lasting contributions in the City and County of Denver. What a great way to celebrate our 15th anniversary!
- AfA merged with Violet Hive’s Art As Healing youth program, a nonprofit organization that shares our belief that art facilitates empowerment and healing. Founder of Violet Hive, Amy Leiter, joined the AfA staff; Bridget Hofstadter of Violet Hive is now our volunteer coordinator; and both are trained Phoenix Rising facilitators who have expanded our weekly Creative Time drop-in workshops!
- Our programs and the work we do with youth in the community were highlighted on CBS4 and Fox Network, helping to send our message of hope and transformation to thousands of people.
- AfA hosted and facilitated a workshop for the World Denver Iraqi Youth Delegation.
- AfA has now partnered with more than 180 organizations to serve nearly 13,000 young people!
In addition to our ongoing workshops in the community and weekly on-site workshops, young people have shared their stories and their voices at a number of events in 2018. Some of these events include monthly First Friday performances at AfA, the Mercury Café’s 30th Annual Poetry Rodeo, the Youth Voices in Recovery poetry performance, and AfA’s 9th Annual Running of the Gays. Additionally, two of our youth poets were featured at the 2018 Denver Women’s March, where they performed in front of thousands of people!
Seeing the magic happen in workshops and watching the transformation of both youth and community members during performances and art shows re-ignites our passion for the work we do and leaves us energized for a groundbreaking future:
- Next year Violet Hive artists and AfA staff will expand the Drawing on Air curriculum, which is built on the foundation of our award-winning Phoenix Rising program.
- Of our existing trained facilitators, two are professional dancers interested in expanding and facilitating our Wingspan program, which we hope to launch by the end of 2019.
Our programs are magical, but we can’t soar without you. We hope you will help us meet our goal to serve even more youth in 2019. Please consider making a holiday contribution to provide creative empowerment workshops to the young people in our community.
With gratitude and joy,
The Art from Ashes staff, board, facilitators, contractors and volunteers
Catherine O’Neill Thorn, Celeste Seiler, Bridget Hofstadter, Sarah Lanzarotta, Samantha Albala, Savannah Arterburn, Tiffany Bowden, Amy Leiter, Marie Verrett, Carolyn Klier, Lewis Lease, Jessica Jarrard, Susie Martin, Johnnie Thorn, Kumi Avila, plus 63 interns, volunteers, and guest poets/artists!
PS. For those of you who have been supporting, praying for, and thinking of Catherine as she has journeyed through this difficult past year, you can find her medical update on our website here: www.artfromashes.org/category/news