Community MosaicWhat We Create 

Art HOPE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and healing organization dedicated to promoting creative wellness through free expressive arts programs for people living with cancer or other longterm illness and the community at large. Together with our community partners in Maine we offer intergenerational art therapy activities in hospitals, wellness centers, schools, public libraries, cultural institutions, and at scenic natural locations across the state.

We develop and facilitate customized art therapy curriculums for wellness support groups and youth enrichment programs. Interns and students can participate in the Art HOPE Youth Service in Healthcare Program, a dynamic youth-adult mentoring project with the University of Maine Extension 4-H that involves hands-on creative learning and doing. This program introduces youth volunteers to healthcare and raises their empathy awareness at a local level through the lens of creativity.

Art-making, art-taking and art-giving are ways we teach the therapeutic qualities of experiential creativity. The Art HOPE Creative Wellness Model provides a self-help tool for recognizing how we are creative everyday, just by doing the things we love to do. The model is used to support workshop themes in an at-a-glance reference that illustrates the nine universal aspects of creativity. These are mental, physical, spiritual, relating to the mind, body and spirit, environmental, community, home, relating to a sense of place and connectedness, and language, sound, visual, relating to what animates life with beauty and expression. The workshop model relates to participants interests and needs, and when applied, empowers their creative expression in ways that benefit health and well-being.

Why We CreateTaking Flight Origami Program

These are the benefits of everyday creativity:

  • reduces stress
  • boosts the immune system
  • supports good mental health
  • promotes relaxation or stimulation
  • inspires in-the-momentness
  • facilitates healthy expression
  • teaches new skills
  • nurtures wonder, curiosity and play
  • creates community connections
  • celebrates living

Happy Art at the Acton FairCreated by Community

The organization was founded by Laura Jaquays, an expressive arts practitioner, educator, and visual artist who first developed Art HOPE in 2006 inspired by her work as the artist-in-residence at York Hospital Cancer Care in York, Maine. At the cancer center, she identified a need for on-going creative wellness support for patients, their families, and caregivers outside of the clinical environment. The community programs and mission have grown, and in 2011 Art HOPE became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Workshops are always free to participants and provide a supportive environment for creative expression. The website provides a venue for creative wellness with a monthly blog, our events calendar, information about programs and resources, and the opportunity to participate in the Art HOPE Gallery.

Art HOPE is being created by community in collaboration with our programming partners, a dedicated Board of Directors, an intergenerational group of volunteers, and the many community members who participate in our programs annually. We are supported by our collaborators, foundation grants, and charitable donations.