Saturday, October 21, 2023
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown
340 N. 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the Pure Imagination Costume Gala on Saturday, October 21, 2023. That’s right. We’re throwing a costume party! Attendees can dress up however the theme inspires them, from superheroes to fairy tales and everything in between. The theme “Pure Imagination” is meant to encourage supporters to connect with their inner child and that same sense of adventure, curiosity, and wonder from our childhood.
This event will represent the soul of Free Arts with intentional art projects, live performances from teaching artists, stories about our past and future, and so much more. This event will also represent the future of Free Arts. This is a time of great change. Our programs are expanding to serve families and young adults with a new clinical lens on our work. Our staff has grown to 27 members, including new leadership focused on expanding Free Arts statewide by 2028. The Pure Imagination Costume Gala not only celebrates 30 years of growth, but also a bright future ahead.
Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona was founded in 1993 by art therapist Margaret Beresford. She was inspired by California art therapist Elda Unger, who launched the first Free Arts in Los Angeles in the 1970s.
Elda and Margaret recognized the positive impact that engaging in art-making, in partnership with supportive adults, has on children. That’s why the basis of Free Arts’ programs is to convene and connect adults who care for these children, providing them with artistic and trauma-informed resources and opportunities to learn and grow.
Today, Free Arts serves more than 7,000 children, on average, each year through five key trauma-informed programs. Free Arts uses the power of the arts to help children who have experienced the trauma of abuse, neglect, and homelessness. Free Arts’ research-based program model, Art + Mentors = Resilience, helps children build the resilience they need to overcome trauma by connecting them with caring adults and creative activities that develop their skills and sense of self.
Free Arts believes that healthy connections with adults create change. Through partnerships with local child welfare agencies, Free Arts is able to provide this intervention to children free of cost to program participants.