The art-making and creative process is rooted in a human’s need to communicate and to know. ArtVan utilizes a community-based group setting with a co-leader to model co-parenting and offer a wider range of artistic skillsets and opportunities. Through the creative process, we may discover new meanings and relationships, create a practical path to the unseen, and then bring it to a place of reality with Art TherapyThe therapeutic arts support building positive social skills, life skills, good decision-making and resilience. Participating in Art Therapy provides a safe and tangible outlet for underlying thoughts and feelings. Anti-social behaviors, such as theft, drugs, alcohol and risky sexual behavior, are less likely to occur where safe outlets and opportunities for self-expression are available.

Through art exhibits, events and volunteerism, community leaders can see Youth as positive members while Youth are able to take ownership of their community in a way that is productive, not destructive. As a result, Youth may develop more positive relationships with authority figures. The growth of these relationships often lead to a deeper mutual understanding between two parties.


Since 2004, ArtVan has provided therapeutic arts, strengths-based programs to under-resourced neighborhoods, due to numerous grants and steady support from individual donors and foundational grants. Our Core Neighborhoods remain at the heart of ArtVan’s mission & weekly work:  

  • Maritime Apartments, Bath
  • Atlantic Townhouses, Bath
  • Perryman Village, Brunswick
  • Lewiston Public Library
  • Tree Street Neighborhood, Lewiston
  • Bacon Street, Biddeford
  • Family Development, Auburn
  • Broadview Acres, Auburn


ArtVan works with all populations, agencies, & organizations to support specific needs and requests. These Community Partner Programs (CPPs) may be on a one-time or ongoing basis, depending on the hiring organization who pays a fee-for-service cost for the program.

  • Lewiston Public Schools 
  • River Valley Village
  • Horizon Program
  • The Center for Wisdom’s Women
  • Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT)
  • BREATHE Program

“Relationship-building is so important to help make the creative process more enriched.”

Throughout COVID-19, ArtBags were our connecting point to ensure youth in our core neighborhoods still had access to creative outlets at home during an isolating year. As always, we encourage you to use the recommended materials any way you choose.

New Perspectives

Youth may begin to see themselves, their peers, and their community in a different way. Working to create an image, dance, performance, or poem requires self-discipline and communication. It also requires healthy risk-taking to try something new or extraordinary.