Community Arts

Art HOPE offers free expressive arts programs, creativity retreats, and educational outreach to intergenerational participants in collaboration with our community partners.

Art HOPE Youth Service in Healthcare Program is an on-going project with local schools and the University of Maine Extension 4-H.  Youth ages 4 to 18 volunteer at community events and in schools to make Happy Art cards and origami Cranes of Hope for people living with cancer and other long-term illness. The program introduces youth to healthcare and raises their empathy awareness through the lens of creativity. The intergenerational learning project is driven by energetic adult-youth partnerships involving artists, teachers, healthcare workers, and cancer patients creatively connecting with youth through art-making, art-taking ad art-giving. Read more, get involved.

Simple WatercolorsSimple Watercolors for Well-being is a popular creativity workshop that provides a nurturing studio environment for adventurous painters at any skill level. Basic watercolor techniques are demonstrated with an inspiring group conversation about painting, creativity and life. Art materials are provided and great advice about how to simply start painting. Participants may bring their own watercolors and artwork to share. Classes are on-going at the Cancer Community Center  in South Portland, the York Hospital Living Well Center in York, and at wellness centers across southern Maine.

Creativity Taking Flight: Making Origami, an on-going creative learning project in schools, libraries and at community venues, teaches artists of all ages how to fold a classic origami crane. The program highlights the history and therapeutic qualities of the medium. Origami mentors help teach the folding process at the open studio gatherings. Participants can support the Art HOPE 1000 Healing Cranes Project and make origami for York Hospital and individuals with longterm illness in our community. The project is part of the Art HOPE Youth Service in Healthcare Program.

1000 Healing Cranes Community Origami Gathering at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art is a fall project with local schools and York Hospital Oncology. It involves the Youth Service in Healthcare Program and is a continuum of Creativity Taking Flight: Making Origami. Educational outreach activities culminate in a hands-on origami event in the OMAA, overlooking the scenic autumn gardens and coastline. This intergenerational community arts and learning program is led by youth mentors and volunteer artists.

Art HOPE Fresh Air Studio at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm is offered in season. With nature inspiring the senses, participants can create a nature journal and paint, draw or write about their observations of the environment and scenic vistas. This historic site features 2250 acres of protected coastal habitat, including the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.


Finding Peace in Art and Nature – FPAN at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. Four seasons of Art HOPE Studios with a focus on creative wellness in nature. Participants can discover watercolors and sketching, origami and 3-D sculpting, writing activities, or learning guitar. Mentors and instructors will be on hand to support the process. Family participation is encouraged with access to the Visitors Center, the Coastal Resource Library, and the scenic environment and trails in season at the Wells Reserve. This project is supported by a grant from the Maine Community Foundation.

DSCN0248Art HOPE Sea Water Studio is a painting retreat on Ogunquit Beach for cancer survivors, family and friends that celebrates community arts. With Ogunquit’s stunning natural beach as inspiration, fresh air watercolor techniques and a conversation about creative wellness are presented in a relaxed group gathering that includes local artists who mentor the studio. Painting materials are provided in the intergenerational program or field artists may bring their own materials. This community arts experience in a beautiful place by the sea is summer at it’s best in Maine.

Creative BeingArt HOPE Creative Wellness Model Program with the Livestrong Cancer Support Group at the YMCA in southern Maine is an art therapy curriculum currently being developed. Led by the Y’s wellness coordinators, the cancer support group is a twelve week, research-based physical activity and well-being program that combines fitness, nutrition, and hands-on projects that improve self-esteem and confidence. The Art HOPE Creative Wellness Model program provides participants tools for recognizing their personal everyday creativity and embracing those activities for health and well-being. The workshop includes decorating origami paper with creative wellness wishes and learning to fold it into the classic crane.

Loving HandsArtist-in-Residence Programs are facilitated by Laura Jaquays, the organization’s founder and executive director, and include a variety of customized creativity workshops in collaboration with health and wellness organizations in Maine. Program activities are based on the Creative Wellness Model and are designed to reduce stress and promote creative self-expression, with a focus on support for cancer, mental health, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, caregivers, and hospice. Initially developed in 2009 with Hospice of York, “Loving Hands” is a on-going project that brings creative expression to those at the end-of-life and their loved ones. The images are made by participants who have painted and imprinted their hands as part of a process for storytelling and creating memories. Laura is the longtime Art HOPE, artist-in-residence at York Hospital Oncology Care, where she offers patient support groups and one-to-one creativity sessions. Student interns work directly with the artist-in-residence to support these programs and other community expressive arts activities.