Take a Sneak Peek at the New Free Arts Building, Now Reopening for Programs

Photo: The donor wall at the new Free Arts building.

When the pandemic hit last year, Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona had just moved into a new building on Camelback Road — and due to COVID-19, they had to move some programming online and weren’t able to utilize the new space as they intended.

However, the organization kept local artists employed working on the finishing touches of the new 14,000 square foot building and executing one small in-person program. And now, the building is about to reopen to the children it serves.

“We worked with 25 local artists to do a variety of projects inside and outside the building,” said Alicia Sutton Campbell, executive director. “They helped us with everything from a mural on the outside of the building to a donor wall inside and interior art and signage. It was an opportunity for many to express their creativity and work during the pandemic that forced so many artists to not work.” 

Studio Ma served as the architects and helped with the overall artistic vision, and Isaac Caruso painted the mural outside with a few alumni while Kristine Kollasch created the donor wall and helped with placements of the interior art and signage. 

Local artists were also utilized during the pandemic for virtual programming such as the virtual Theatre Camp and Virtual Professional Artist Series and a community mural project in partnership with Catholic Charities that erected five murals at five various housing or program sites.

This summer, Free Arts is planning to offer some in-person programming with safety protocols in place.  The first Professional Artists Series at the building kicked off Wednesday, June 2 and will run every Wednesday night at 5 p.m. for five weeks.

Children from a foster care group home will be learning Japanese Tyco Drumming with Eileen Morgan. 

Free Arts will also be offering a Hip Hop Camp at a partner facility in July with plans to offer more smaller in-person camps by the end of the summer.  The nonprofit is hoping to welcome back volunteers this fall.  

“Our vision for the building was to accommodate onsite programming, staff and volunteer growth and create a community center that could be used for training, workshops and events,” said Sutton-Campbell. “We also wanted to showcase artwork and stories that foster a deeper understanding of children who have experienced trauma, abuse or homelessness. We’re excited to finally be able to utilize the new building the way we intended and are so grateful for the local artists who lent their passion and creativity to helping us design a comfortable and safe place for the children.”  

The new building was largely funded by grants from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.


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