When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston earlier this year and we saw thousands of people being displaced and facing such loss and difficulty, our community's and our country's response was "How can I help?"
At Paint Love, we bring transformational art experiences to children and teens facing poverty and trauma and our team knew the programming and services of Paint Love could be our way of helping.
We put an ask out to the Paint Love community of "who wants to be involved?" and we got such a supportive response. After considering the best way to bring what we do to Houston, we decided to follow our own model in Atlanta of connecting artists with nonprofits and see if there were any artists and volunteers in Houston that were interested in service but needed logistical and resource support.
Through email exchanges with the Houston Arts Alliance, Galveston Arts Center and other great arts organizations on the ground we were connected to Meghan Hendley-Lopez and her husband Felipe (together they run fmhelps.me) who were working to organize artists, mostly musicians at the time, to serve at the NRG center. From there we started talking about project needs and came up with a plan.
We decided to take two of our favorite projects from Atlanta that work well with groups of people and foster a sense of community to Houston.
PORTRAIT PARTNER PROJECT
The first was a portrait partner project created by Joe Dreher (@joekingatl). We did the project our first night in Houston at NRG and it was such a great success! Five volunteers from Houston came out to support the project. We had a steady flow of children and families throughout the evening. We heard some stories that broke our hearts and were able to hopefully encourage and bring some joy during a difficult time. It was a fun night filled with smiles and great community. We created the following video to send to our volunteers in Houston so they could prepare for the project before we arrived, check it out:
HOUSTON STRONG MURAL
Our second project, which we brought to the Children's Museum of Houston with the help of Jerry's Artarama, Meghan, Felipe, and Andrew Karnavas (of Andyroo and the Andyrooniverse) during their free admission day, was a collaborative mural project we first did with Paint Love artist Morgan Corbett here. With suggestions from Meghan, our executive director, Julie McKevitt, created a #Houstonstrong skyline design. We invited 192 children and families to join us in painting the piece together! The mural was a huge success!!
We are honored to have created such wonderful partnerships and for the opportunity to work side by side with community members and artists in Houston!