Canvas of the Heart Podcast

Canvas of the Heart is a podcast series brought to you by Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona. The series is a collection of conversations that spotlight ways Free Arts creates hope for children, teens, and young adults who have experienced trauma. Hosted by Free Arts Executive Director, Matt Sandoval, and Free Arts Program Clinical Director Jenna Christie-Tabron, Canvas of the Heart also seeks to educate listeners about the benefits of mentorship and expressive art through a trauma-informed clinical lens.

Produced by Alvaro Morello and Justin Stewart
Music by Epidemic sound: Tell ‘em no by Flux Vortex, Free Throw by Timothy Infinite
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Season 1, Ep. 1: The Free Arts Story with Alicia Sutton Campbell

Episode one’s guest is Free Arts Executive Director Alicia Sutton Campbell, who chronicles the origin story of Free Arts, beginning with Margaret Beresford, an art therapist who founded Free Arts in Arizona in 1993.

“The idea around Free Arts is that you don’t have to be an art therapist, you can be anyone in the community, and you can do art with kids to create a connection with them … and to really give them an outlet to engage with an adult that wants to be in their lives, and can serve as that kind of positive force in their lives,” Alicia says.


Season 1, Ep. 2, What is Trauma?

What is trauma? On this week’s Canvas of the Heart podcast, we dive deep into this topic with Free Arts Clinical Director Jenna Christie-Tabron, who says, “Trauma can manifest as so many different things in the lives of children, and oftentimes you find that they’re misinterpreted by the adults in their life.”

Season 1, EP. 3, The Free Arts Theory of Change

On this week’s episode, we talk about the Theory of Change. “On a wider organizational level, when we’re talking about the Theory of Change, we’re talking about the level of impact that we’re looking to have … not just on the individuals that come through our programs, but that we’re looking at it from a systemic lens, too … that’s where Free Arts really stands apart … recognizing that the change that is happening with the individuals are community-based.” – Free Arts Clinical Director Jenna Christie-Tabron

Season 1, EP. 4, Empowering Young Adults with Paula Wilson

What do we mean when we say Free Arts Alumni? On this week’s episode of Canvas of the Heart, Matt and Jenna speak with Senior Program Coordinator, Paula Wilson, who works with our young adults in the Free Arts Young Adult Empowerment Program.

“These young adults participated in our programs when they were children, and they kind of graduated from … those social service agencies, and they wanted to stay connected to us—so we call them our Free Arts Alumni, and then we built programs around that term … they can stay connected while also continuing to build skills and connections with caring individuals.”

Season 1, EP. 5, A Story of A Young Adult Empowerment with Jacob

This week Matt and Jenna share a conversation with Jacob, who has spent 11 years with Free Arts.

Jacob came to Free Arts as a Theater Camp participant at 13 years old, and then eventually transitioned into the role of Alumni in the Young Adult Empowerment Program.

“To me, alumni, we have a saying called “Show love, get love.” I think that’s the foundation for the term alumni. I think it’s family rooted. We’ve been through ups and downs together. We support each other outside of Free Arts in a personal and brother and sister role. And it just shows that if you have those adults that can nurture you, those youth that then get that nurturing love, you can nurture other people. And that’s what the alumni do; we care about those youth that are like us. And I just think it’s a full circle.”

Season 1, Episode 6, Happy Campers With Chanel Bragg and Beth Garrett-Coleman

This week, Matt and Jenna are joined by our Program Manager, Beth Garrett-Coleman, and Free Arts teaching artist, Chanel Bragg, as they reflect on their experiences at Free Arts Theater Camp.

“For me, it’s an opportunity for students who don’t really have a lot of access to the arts or to theater to learn not only theater terms and terminology, but also they become composers, essentially, of their own work, which is really exciting,” says Chanel.

Season 2, Ep. 1, A Chat with Matt the New Executive Director

Season 2, EP. 2, Growing Resilient Roots with Erina Sanchez