BuildaBridge Arts Relief and Development is an advanced program of BuildaBridge International that connects creative arts therapy professionals, artist educators, and community artists with organizations serving those in crisis and poverty. We engage both creative arts therapy (clinical) and therapeutic art experiences (healing power of art-making) in our collaboration with local organizations and their work with children, youth, and families in crisis and in poverty. We call affiliate artists who volunteer for this work: Artists on Call.

When crisis and catastrophe occur, children are often unable to process their fear, grief, and trauma with words. The creative arts provide a vehicle through which children can express pain, trauma, and abuse by tapping into their psyche without the use of verbal language. The creative arts affect human physiology as well as emotional status and can heal and restore the human spirit.

What Art Does

  • Help create physical and psychological safe spaces for children
  • Help people seek beauty even in the worst of situations (aesthetic nourishment)
  • Provide opportunities to re-imagine circumstances
  • Are non-verbal and bypass cognitive defenses
  • Help resolve conflicts and problems
  • Help manage and structure behavior through providing experiences of success
  • Reduce stress
  • Increases self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Provides non-verbal outlets for emotions associated with traumatic
  • Promote positive changes in moods and emotional states
  • Promote active and positive participant involvement in treatment
  • Enhances feelings of control, confidence, and empowerment
  • Promotes positive physiological changes such as lower blood pressure,reduced heart rate, and relaxed muscle tension
  • Provides a space for emotional intimacy with peers, families, caregivers,
    and meaningful time spent together

Three Major Roles of Artists

Creating Safe Places

Artists on Call are trained to create safe spaces for kids in groups settings through a structured classroom model. Artists work in teams or in tandem with workers in medical clinics, orphanages, schools, even feeding stations in order to provide holistic services. Artists work under the direction of the team leader and are selected based on the needs of the mission or service group. Arts camps with teams of artists are possible collaboration with local organizations.

Listening and Mentoring
Artists focus on the needs of the child. First, artmaking is engaged as a method for resilience helping the child in dealing with trauma, skill building, character development, spiritual strength-building, and relationship making. Second, the artist serves as a mentor, and advocate, through speaking blessings (providing supportive guidance) to the child throughout the art-making process. Third, the artist uses art as a metaphor to teach life skills through art-making.

Building Relationships
Artists build healthy relationships with children. They should be free of biases and wrongful motivation that inhibit objective help during the art-making intervention and process.


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