In 1997, when a young Los Angeles film student named Jennifer Howell gathered a group of 23 film school friends with the hope of tapping their collective passion to give back to kids at local hospitals, she never guessed that the children they met would end up giving back far more. “These kids are our teachers. They’re the strong ones. They’re such little warriors,” says Howell, whose non-profit organization, The Art of Elysium, now acts as a multi-disciplinary artistic hub for writers, actors, fashion designers, filmmakers, directors and musicians, all of whom are ardently committed to giving back. “And that has nothing to do with fame,” says Howell, though The Art of Elysium’s volunteer stable draws participation from a wide array of Hollywood A-listers including Giovanni Ribisi, Amber Heard, and Kristen Bell. “So many people see us as simply a children’s charity but that’s not what we are. We are a group of artists committed to changing the world and healing the world.”
In large part, the word has spread organically throughout the Los Angeles creative community, which is how Bell first learned of The Art of Elysium’s “Girl Talk” program, in which mentors spend time with young girls facing serious medical conditions to coach them towards self-empowerment, ultimately culminating in a collaborative fashion show at The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. “I love connecting with these girls and being a part of a day that’s light, where the main goal is to spoil them rotten,” says Bell. “The most heartwarming moment comes when you see how absolutely normal each girl is. They’re goofy, talkative, insecure and fun-loving, just like other little girls everywhere. They haven’t let their medical condition change who they are on the inside, in part due to The Art of Elysium’s programs.” Having spent afternoons dancing, playing games and getting dressed up with the girls, Bell has a few choice words for them...
“Know that you are stronger than you think and that
a positive attitude can change everything.”
This holiday season, let’s all bring luck to those less fortunate. Lucky Brand is donating more than 400 art kits to children throughout Los Angeles in partnership with the Art of Elysium. Join the Art of Community movement!
Learn more about Lucky’s charitable partnerships:
“Know the power of your creative voice and that we are all nothing without creativity and vision.”Read the next article
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