Art classes for individuals experiencing homelessness & disabilities

sponsored by Gettlove

In collaboration with Gettlove, a non-profit dedicated to ending homelessness in Los Angeles, we have established an art workshop program for people experiencing homelessness and mental and physical disabilities. Our participants engage in sequential art basics, including beginning drawing/painting, beginning 3D design/sculpture, and new media.

Classes will resume in mid-October, focusing on sculpture and 3D design.


We agree with Gettlove’s belief that “homelessness cannot be resolved through the utilization of professional social services alone.” This art program is meant to bring together people with common life issues and to give them tools to express themselves through art. Through continuity of programming, group members are reaching out to each other through vehicles of meaningful, instructional and insightful art discussion and art projects. They are learning new material while becoming more socially engaged and supportive. Our programs leaders are trusted. The whole group, including our leaders, appreciates one another as equals.

All lessons are planned and taught by members of our arts education committee: Linda Jo Russell, artist, educator and SoLA Contemporary President; Shelley Heffler, artist and SoLA Contemporary Secretary; Katie Holzinger, Community Outreach for GettLove; and Chloe Noh, artist and assistant working with “Portals” Los Angeles.

Community art wall

Statement on art making by Linda Jo Russell:

The rewards of artistic creation are many.  The joy and sense of accomplishment are paramount, but two vital reasons for maintaining SoLA Contemporary’s art education programs are the stress and anxiety reducing effects and the building of community that results from experiencing the creative process.

Art making provides a retreat from burdensome stress by tapping into the part of the mind that is non-judgmental. When this happens, a “flow state” may be achieved where one is totally absorbed by the task at hand. The mind is distracted from everyday stresses, dwelling in the present, while it simultaneously expands and interacts with the world through a different mental framework. Through the process of making art, attention is strengthened, strategic thinking skills are developed, a sense of accomplishment is gained and complex feelings and personal meanings are supported and expressed.

There are many aspects of art making that can build community and promote connections. Racial, religious, socio-economic stereotypes barriers and prejudices are put aside as one learns to appreciate the expressive contributions of different cultures. The art maker is open to new relationships and can experience a broader sense of belonging. In a classroom setting everyone is learning, problem solving and given the opportunity to train the mind to be more open and empathetic. Art and creative practice supports the future of our local and global community.

About Gettlove:

Gettlove is committed to providing all services through a companionship model, where staff and clients work collaboratively at developing and achieving goals. This includes intensive case management, community engagement and representative payee services. The relationship that is developed between these staff, clients and community members is an essential component of Gettlove’s ability to share in each individual’s challenges and joys while on the path to accomplishing their goals. More information available at their website, www.gettlove.org.

About Pacific Clinics:

Pacific Clinics has provided life-changing and life-saving mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, and supportive services since 1926. Mental illness impacts individuals across culture, gender, age, and economic spectrums, so we deliver a range of innovative community-based, culturally and linguistically appropriate programs. Our highly trained, expert staff members are reflective of the communities we serve, and specialize in severe, chronic mental illnesses. More information available at their website, www.pacificclinics.org.