The Empathy Through Art program includes K-5 school programming, family activities and workshops, and community exhibitions and events that are all intended to provide opportunities for young people to:
  1. engage in activities that foster connection and relationship with others in their community
  2. learn language and tools that cultivate fellowship without judgement
  3. celebrate their individuality and use their creativity to be part of social change through empathy building
     in their community
At the heart of our programs is art making and creative collaboration.  We believe in the power of making art, sharing art, exhibiting art, art exchange, dialogue through art, art as inquiry, art as revolution.
school programs

Empathy Through Art offers a 10-week program for elementary schools that creates opportunities for young people K-5 to engage in art making, group discussion and classroom collaboration to encourage social-emotional learning.  Art-based activities offer a judgement-free space where students are able to:​​

  • explore feeling identification

  • learn empathy-related vocabulary

  • gain tools for talking about and managing emotions 

  • discover creative methods to recall personal experiences that involve different emotions and sharing them with


  • achieve skills needed to put themselves in someone else’s shoes

The Empathy Through Art school program is customized to meet the needs of each classroom including length of sessions, complementing existing curriculum, and developmental level of the students.  We collaborate with principals and teachers to identify social-emotional needs of a classroom, and aligned our activities with the school’s goals to encourage a positive school climate.

The program compliments existing diversity and social justice programs such as Sharing Circles, and is aligned with principles identified by the school climate committee initiative.  It meets Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) standards for Early Elementary Students and applies many of the Fine Arts Standards set forth as well.

Examples of ISBE SEL Standards for Early Elementary Students addressed in this program are:

  1. Recognize and accurately label emotions and how they are linked to behavior

  2. Recognize that others may experience situations differently from oneself

  3. Use listening skills to identify the feelings and perspectives of others

  4. Describe the ways that people are similar and different

  5. Explain why unprovoked acts that hurt others are wrong

  6. Make positive choices when interacting with classmates

community programs

We believe that empathy is the the building block for creating a community.  It's what connects us as neighbors, and encourages us to be mindful of one another, to take care of each other.  

Empathy is what compels us to take action and create change in the world around us.​

The Power of Narrative

Storytelling is the social and cultural activity of sharing narratives, and has existed throughout time and across cultures as a form of documentation, communication, fellowship, education and entertainment.  Stories are a powerful tool to better understanding one’s neighbors, community, and society.  The sharing of personal stories encourages understanding and connection, a chance to walk in each other’s shoes.  

We harness the power of the narrative to promote empathy; sharing stories as a way to break down barriers and shatter stereotypes.  We utilize storytelling - oral, written, visual - to promote dialogue and shared experiences in the community through:

  • public art exhibition

  • community workshops

  • family-centered activities and events

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:  The Danger of a Single Story

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