project leader
Emily C
Beatty Street
(East Liberty and Larimer)
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the project

Art in the Garden, OMA Center for Mind Body and Sprit's program for youth and families, invests in the resiliency and social and emotional development of youth. Check out our new website here.

Art in the Garden is a program that:

  • Provides children of Pittsburgh six free weeks of arts and ecology camp programming and year-round family events
  • Has created an arts and ecology curriculum centered around the five core Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies, fostering the values of self-awareness, gratitude, empathy, communication, and collaboration
  • Gives children tools to grow in their ability to empathize, communicate, develop confidence, be team-players, and make constructive choices
  • Supports children in seeing themselves as creators so that they may live their fullest expression of themselves
  • Empowers children with solutions-based approaches to care for our environment
  • Utilizes research from neuroscience on how to help children develop resilience
  • Hosts trauma informed trainings to develop our understanding of trauma and its effects on youth, provide our teachers with the skills to recognize the pervasive impact of trauma on children with the aim to mitigate the effects of trauma and help youth develop resilience and stronger brain architecture; together, we are creating system change in schools and summer programs in Pittsburgh and beyond

COVID-19. WE AT ART IN THE GARDEN are continuing to build the beautiful work children, families, and our communities create together. In our Spring Session, in collaboration with The Clay Project, we are creating a community mural to bring people together and experience joy. The mural will be a mosaic of colorful clay pieces participants make. We will be creating the mural in line with CDC guidelines in order to protect the health of all involved. HOW IT WORKS: Each week, enrolled families will pick up a clay kit and free meals to take home. Through virtual classes, The Clay Project leaders will teach families how to create a mosaic out of clay and provide a space to be together and meet new friends. Stay tuned for updates for summer and fall programming. 

the steps

Community Partners.

Art in the Garden features workshops with community partners that empower youth to see themselves as creators of positive change. Our 2019 community partners are:

Sankofa Village for the Arts engages youth through West African musical and performance traditions. Youth use sound and movement as a tool for regulating emotions, and developing self-esteem, self-discipline, and self-determination. 

Theater of the Oppressed Pittsburgh provides interactive theatre workshops, using exercises and games from Theatre of the Oppressed. In Theatre of the Oppressed, developed in the 1970’s by Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal, participants analyze systems of oppression, share stories of oppression from their own lives, and rehearse strategies to overcome these systems and make positive change in the world. Boal’s approach is across the globe in a variety of fields and contexts, including: politics, therapy, conflict resolution, and education.

The Clay Workshop provides the tools and materials for youth to make a series of clay artifacts. Youth learn about a variety of surface treatments such as burnishing, stamps, texture and glaze and the low fire technique, Horsehair Raku. As youth discuss what their clay piece needs to survive the firing, which they do in a kiln built on site, they also have the opportunity to explore resilience and what they need in order to thrive in the face of challenges. Building on sequential firings, youth learn to create more durable and better-constructed pieces.  

The Storymobile from Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh brings stories, activities, books, and literary resources to Art in the Garden. Each time The Storymobile visits, youth are given a book to expand their home libraries.

SOAR Coaching Academy led by Anita Russell gives youth opportunities to explore their true strength, dream big, communicate, and connect

Youth Enrichment Services (YES) formed in 1994 to create hope out of hopelessness, paint a bright future out of uncertainty and give young people from inner-city and urban communities a portrait of themselves as successful, empowered, and confident leaders. Art in the Garden partners with YES and Learn and Earn, working together to give teenagers an experience as counselors and leaders.

Earthen Vessels provides free breakfast and lunch for all of the youth.

why we're doing it

Art in the Garden aims to affirm the cultural backgrounds of the families we serve, focus on whole-child development, use restorative approaches to conflict, nurture relationships, engage youth in arts and ecological activities that support values of responsibility and resilience, and help youth develop tools to process and heal from trauma. Supporting the social and emotional development of youth contributes to the creation of a healthy, inclusive, and equitable society.  Above all, Art in the Garden seeks to enable youth to grow in connectedness to themselves, each other, and our earth. Our programming supports youth knowing—in deep and lasting ways—the interconnectedness of all living beings, that we are all whole and all belong.

Supporting Art in the Garden.

Art in the Garden is made possible by generous support from individuals like you, and by OMA Center for Mind, Body and Spirit, The Neighbors Committee and The Presbyterian Women at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Borland Garden, the African Healing Garden, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Burkholder Foundation, WTAfter3Pacific PlaytentsCityGrowsShadyside Worms, Choolaah412 Food Rescue, the Window Box Garden Club, the East End Food Coop and a grant from The Heinz Endowments.  

"The Heinz Endowments is devoted to the mission of helping our region prosper as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic and environmental sustainability. Core to our work is the vision of a just community where all are included and where everyone who calls southwestern Pennsylvania home has a real and meaningful opportunity to thrive."


Disbursed budget:


TOTAL RAISED = $3,046.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $90.33



$100 goes to supporting Surviving to Thriving training seminars which create collaborative conversations regarding the impact of early childhood adversity (ACES) and trauma on one’s cognitive, emotional and physical development as well as on interpersonal relationships and life choices throughout one’s life span. We aim to train teachers, staff and community members and become a model for best practices in social and emotional learning and in trauma informed care and resilience

$100 goes to support year-round community events for the whole family such as Fall Festival, African Drumming and Dance with Sankofa Village for the Arts, and Making Mosaics with The Clay Workshop.

4,991 goes to fund 16 children for a full week of camp. The actual cost per child per week is $300. Each child receives a free breakfast and lunch daily. Your support enables youth to have experiences with talented teaching artists and ecologists and to play, create, and explore in an urban garden.
As this program supports youth in connecting to themselves, each other, and the earth----expressed so clearly in the words of the Ubuntu, “I am because we are”--we engage the demands set by youth themselves in the Youth Climate Strike platform<> to shape our activities and build awareness of our choices and habits and engage possibility; we know that when youth feel empowered, their ability to create positive change and feel good about themselves increases.


Art and gardening supplies: 200

Facilities: 800

Support Staff: 4,000

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $156



Art and gardening supplies: 1,000

Facilities: 4,000

Support Staff: 10,000

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $480
TOTAL TO RAISE = $16,015


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This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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