Collaboration helps foster families through artistic expression

Participating in the arts, whether it’s music, theater, painting, or some other form, has proven to offer many benefits, including healing effects. Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona (Free Arts) strives to share such effects with children aged three to twenty-one who have faced abuse, neglect, and homelessness through creative and therapeutic arts programs. Over the past few years, MIM and Free Arts have worked together to help prekindergarten through 12th-grade youths express themselves through music.

“Thanks to generous funders, such as the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, the Molly Blank Fund, and others, MIM and Free Arts have partnered several times each year to bring unique arts experiences to Arizona foster families,” says Niki Cuccinotto, MIM’s education specialist.

In early August, more than four hundred children and adults in foster families visited MIM for its Signature Event “Experience the Andes,” making it the largest collaboration with Free Arts to date. During the celebration of South American music and culture, participants watched live musical performances, played Peruvian instruments such as the arpa grande and charango, danced in a participatory Chilean dance workshop, and had their faces painted by local artists.

“In the calm and safe environment of MIM, families get to bond, learn something new, and create memories together, all while exploring the world of music,” says Cuccinotto.

MIM and Free Arts collaborate at many events throughout the year and they are already planning their next one, where one hundred children and adults will make their own musical instruments, participate in a South African Gumboot Dance, and tour MIM’s galleries.