NAMTA Art and Craft Advocacy Grant Program

The Application Period for 2023 ended on July 31st

(check back in 2024 for next year's details)

Thank you to Bob Ross Inc for generously donating to the 2023 Grant Program

if you would like to make a contribution to the Grant Program, contact [email protected] or fill out this form.

 Congratulations to the 2023 Recipients!

Operation Warm Up Flint

Every year, the Flint Handmade Yarn Brigade volunteer fiber artists create hats, scarves and ear warmers for those in need in Flint, especially the homeless population. This is Operation: Warm Up Flint. Handmade items are placed on fences, railings and ledges near bus stations and shelters as a community service and public art project.

All items have tags reading: TO A GOOD HOME! If you’re cold, please take me to warm up! Not only do the colorful pieces brighten up these public spaces as a community enrichment project, they also bring awareness to the problem of homelessness.

The volunteer members of Yarn Brigade have been practicing their craft for many years and have significant hands-on experience. We will impact the lives of thousands of people who either created the pieces, enjoyed the beauty of the pieces and/or got to take the pieces to stay warm in the winter.


CreatiVets’ mission is to empower wounded veterans to heal through the arts and music. We offer all programming to military veterans suffering from the physical and mental wounds of war.

CreatiVets hosts four key programs:
•  Introduction to Arts Program,
•  Songwriting and Musical Lessons Program
•  Virtual Visual Arts
•  Mentorship Program

CreatiVets will continue building out a consistent schedule of in-person workshops year-round, including classes like weaving, paper-making, 3D printing, and bookbinding, and hope to offer regular workshops between 8-10 times a month and host gallery events to showcase the pieces created during these classes.


The Art Therapy Cancer Support Program at Loyola Marymount University Helen B. Landgarten Art Therapy Clinic, schedules weekly meetings through in-person and/or virtual art therapy groups and workshops conducted by licensed marriage and family therapists/board certified art therapists with support from art therapy graduate student trainees.

Participants have described looking forward to these groups every week, finding the groups to be powerful and moving, and have shared that art therapy has allowed them to connect to their emotions and share their unique experiences, providing creative self-expression opportunities for patients to practice emotional regulation and increase creative tools to lower distress.

Arts for Learning Connecticut - Schools at Roxbury Elementary

HOT is a whole-school, deep impact, teaching and learning intervention using a variety of arts programming, arts-integrated residencies, arts workshops, performances, and teacher professional development to improve student engagement, enrich school culture, and expand teacher practice.

HOT Schools is designed to fulfill:
• the need for engaging academic programs that offer new pathways to learning and increase students SEL skills
• the need for access to creative school-based arts programs that help develop community and shared
• the need for Professional Development for teachers grounded in Social and Emotional Learning and Culturally Responsive Teaching

Metal Museum

In the spring of 2023, the Metal Museum restarted its after-school program, now known as Forging the Future. Prior to the pandemic, the Museum worked with community partners to coordinate the award-winning Soulsville Metals Collaborative, a program of the Metal Museum Youth Initiative.

Forging the Future builds on the same model to introduce students in underserved communities to business and technical skills while compensating them for their work. Program students also learn a range of artistic techniques by working with small metals.  Each semester, the Metal Museum works with program leaders at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Memphis to select a high school in the Memphis and Shelby County public school system. High school students who need assistance regarding career or college readiness and have expressed interest in the arts or in welding and fabrication are ideal candidates for this program. Forging the Future participants are taught basic metalworking techniques that are used to create a line of jewelry, accessories, and one-of-a-kind artworks that are then sold in the Museum Store and at two showcase events each year.



NAMTA is an International Association. All countries are welcome to apply.
Past recipients of a NAMTA Grant can apply again in the 3rd year after the last NAMTA Grant received.

If you, or your company, would like to support the Art & Craft Advocacy Grant program with a donation, please fill out this form.

Project or Program types accepted:

Community Enrichment
Projects created to enhance public areas and/or neighborhoods, resulting in civic pride, cultural pride, tourism & business, and/or aesthetic beauty. Such projects can be Sculptures, Murals, and other forms of 'Street Art.'

Art & Craft Education
Programs for Schools, After-School Programs, and other educational settings,used for the enhancement of the learning environment.

Art & Craft Therapy for the Military and the Veterans
Projects and Programs specifically used to help active Military personnel and/or Military Veterans, affected by military-related stress, PTSD, and any other underlying psychological issues.

Art & Craft Therapy for Physical and Mental Health & Healing
Programs used in institutions such as Schools, Hospitals, Senior Care, or Group Homes, specifically using art programs and/or classes, that help people deal with physical and/or mental stress, crisis, or sickness.

Applications are reviewed and selected based on the following:

  • Feasibility of any project or program proposed
  • Impact of the proposed project in the category in which it supports
  • Funds available
  • Number of applications received


2022 Grant Recipients

Jennie Lobato, Founder/CEO of drawchange - $2,000
Established in 2009, drawchange is dedicated to empowering impoverished children through the use of art therapy-based programming. Curriculums are crafted by licensed art therapists to instill healing and resilience that children carry into every aspect of their lives instilling coping skills that foster self-esteem, imagination, collaboration, empowerment, dream-building, creation, and stress-relief. This is done by partnering with homeless shelters and community centers where the children are already residing.


Kelly Dycus, 
Executive Director of The Sunshine Center -
The Sunshine Center provides refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence, many of whom are homeless. Their ART (Achieving Recovery Together) Therapy Program will promote physical and mental health, healing, and well-being among those suffering from trauma and/or acute crisis. Oftentimes the severity of the trauma entraps women, causing them to relive the pain of the past instead of breaking free from toxic yet familiar patterns and relationships. ART Therapy can give these women a way to cope, process, and recover, so they start afresh with a new canvas on life.

Thank You to Barnett Investments LLC for their generous donation.

2021 Grant Recipients

Eliza Combs, Lead Mental Health Counselor and Art Therapist
 Indigenous Wellness Art Therapy Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Fostering visual and creative arts in Health & Healing, this project is for Indigenous Wellness Art Therapy Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, a 4-year public art school and tribal college. The native communities our students come from have been affected deeply by loss due to COVID-19, current times amplifying inequities and historical traumas that continue today including mass graves found at boarding schools. Many students struggle with the impact of generational trauma, generational poverty, and being first-generation college students. Our team of two FT counselors and 1 PT counselor specialize in art therapy which is culturally responsive. The main objective of this program is to strengthen pathways for resilience, reducing anxiety, depression, aggression, trauma symptoms, substance misuse, and suicidal ideation in our students while increasing retention and academic success during the 2021-2022 school year. Through providing expressive arts/self-care material, expressive arts groups, and adding contract therapist hours we can create multiple outlets that students can access mental health resources that promote stress reduction, retention, increased academic performance, well-being, and self-care.


Jennifer Souers Chevraux, Development Director
Art Therapy Studio's Social Justice Art Therapy program

Fostering the visual and creative arts in Health & Healing, a grant from NAMTA will help support Art Therapy Studio’s Social Justice Art Therapy program, which offers creative therapy interventions for underserved communities at heightened risk for adverse behavioral health outcomes resulting from loss, stress, poverty, and isolation. These individuals and families generally have few resources to access services for mental health, emotional well-being, or even self-care.

The stigma around seeking "therapy" is barrier enough, but as the second-poorest city in the US, Cleveland has impoverished communities in which mental healthcare services are not affordable. In conversation with their Racial Equity & Inclusion Advisory Committee around effective methods for overcoming the stigma of mental health and therapy, ATS developed art therapy interventions that take into consideration the unique needs and cultural considerations of at-risk communities, especially communities of color. This year, in conjunction with their new social justice graduate resident-internship program, ATS began offering a series of free therapeutic art interventions for adults, children, and caregivers addressing the inequality of accessible behavioral health resources available to Northeast Ohio neighbors in greatest need. Social justice art therapy programming supports social-emotional learning, increases coping skills, and promotes self-esteem. ATS offers these programs at community centers, public libraries, public housing estates, and other sites located in neighborhoods where the need for trauma-informed care is greatest.

Thank you to colart and Grimstad Comerford DelValle Group for their generous support to the Grant Program

2020 Recipients

• Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ)
Angela Casselton, Director of the Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival • Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ)
St. Paul, Minnesota

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Chroma Zone Mural & Art Festival, an annual event produced by the Creative Enterprise Zone (CEZ) in partnership with Forecast Public Art, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, was cancelled for 2020. In September 2019 they created 12 murals in 8 days, and the impact on the neighborhood was profound. Not only did the mural festival help to raise the visibility of a highly creative community, it cemented our identity, brought in outside visitors and contributed to the beauty, safety, walkability, and connectivity of their community.

While they are disappointed that they can't celebrate together again this fall, they are more concerned about the welfare of our many talented local mural artists that have lost work and opportunities due to the virus and the economic downturn is taking its toll. To help, they came up with a plan to hire 4 artists/teams to paint in the CEZ this Summer/Fall, and they want to hire even more artists/teams to add between 1 to 4 more medium size in Fall 2020.

How this Project Supports Public Art
The goals of the CEZ Summer Mural Project is to employ talented local muralists to complete murals in the CEZ outside of the formal festival, to make sure artists get badly needed support both economically and creatively. These are not themed commissions but rather outdoor canvases for individual artists to express their unique voices, with special focus on opportunities for IBPOC artists. Secondary goals include those of the festival - to continue to show outside the creativity happening inside our maker spaces, contribute to the vibrancy of the neighborhood.


•Veterans Alternative
Ashleigh Goforth, Operations Coordinator
Holiday, Florida

Through art therapy techniques such as drawing and painting, Veterans Alternative is providing Veterans with a unique opportunity to overcome and understand the mental health issues they face due to military service. Facilitated by a Registered Art Therapist (ATR), participants can create whatever they want and examples of previously created artwork includes face masks, drawings and paintings. The projects are created using a variety of recycled materials and other items found in nature, in addition to acrylic paints, markers and pencils. Their ATR helps participants choose the form of art therapy they are most interested in and encourages them to utilize the creative process to explore their own thoughts, sensations and feelings. The sessions focus on providing participants with opportunities for self-expression and enhanced stress/anxiety reduction, in addition to increasing their self-esteem and reactivating positive emotions.

Veterans Alternative’s mission is centered on providing alternative therapies because traditional methods are not always able to access the areas of the brain that need healing, or there are not words that can explain what our Veterans have experienced from the traumas of war, as it integrates psychotherapeutic techniques with the creative process to improve mental health and well-being among this population.

How this Program Supports Art Therapy for The Military and Veterans
This organization has a goal of providing a total of 150 art therapy sessions to 50 Veterans (3 sessions each), at no cost to the Veterans, and also to use art therapy to promote a creative process that provides Veterans with new tools to overcome mental health issues related to post-traumatic stress. When Veterans go through this type of healing process with art therapy, Veterans Alternative is there to provide them with the support they need to live a better quality of life after experiencing the traumas of war.


   Thank you 2020 Art Advocacy Grant Supporters! 


2019 Grant Recipients

Elizabeth Norden
Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, Chicago, IL
Health & Healing

Mercy Home has served kids in crisis in since 1887.  Its Arts & Art Therapy Programming provides young people with an outlet for self-expression and healing as they process the trauma they have experienced. Arts & Art Therapy Programming is designed to meet for an hour a week for group sessions. Mercy Home Youth Programs staff or the Art Coordinator can recommend, or the youth on their own behalf, focused sessions. Individual sessions are designed for youth whose treatment plans require additional interventions and, specifically, for young women who appear to benefit greatly from art therapy. In these sessions, the Art Coordinator is able to work more closely with the youth and take more time to process emotions, concerns, and traumas that emerge throughout the artmaking process itself. Art becomes an expressive power for capturing events that are often difficult to articulate with words or possibly too difficult to speak aloud. The After-School Programming (ASP), which is coordinated through The Academy, Mercy Home’s wrap-around educational program, has offered watercolor, jewelry making, photo-taking and editing, graffiti, printmaking, pillow-making, drama, and a kid-friendly version of “paint and sip”. Given the amount of youth served during these various sessions and programming, and with youth who show high levels of engagement in the arts, our needs for materials is increasingly growing.

Pictured - an acrylic pour, art that has a mesmerizing energy, a tantalizing quality and an ability to allow the artist to slow down and experience aesthetic arrest. Many report feeling calm and soothed while watching all the pigments move, blend, and separate from one another as they flow across the canvas and split into complex, multidimensional cells. There is a therapeutic, meditative quality to watching this process and being a part of the moment. This project came about from finding ways to encourage the youth to not “waste” paint. Apparent waste became art; a metaphor was born for those things that require second looks, second chances, new perspectives, and just a little love and attention.

Ashley Harwell
Canton Museum of Art – Canton, OH
Military Health & Healing

The Art for Health and Healing (AHH) program was developed in response to a growing need for innovative treatments around opioid addiction, cancer, aging, trauma-related issues, and other mental and physical health challenges prevalent in our community. This unique hands-on program uses the Museum’s exhibitions and art therapist-led experiences as a way for participants to express themselves and build resiliency. According to the Mayo Clinic, resiliency is the ability to keep functioning after stress, adversity or a traumatic event takes place. Resiliency can decrease your risk of mental health conditions and improve your ability to cope. Resiliency is an ability that can be strengthened through building strong relationships with others, finding meaningful activities, learning new skills, learning from one’s own experiences, and more. The AHH program sessions include Guided Tours and Studio Time. A partnership with Stark Mental Health & Addiction Recovery (Stark MHAR) enabled us to test the program, as well as collect valuable data and results. Our most enthusiastic group are the Veterans who have been so inspired by AHH that they’ve requested to open the program to all local Veterans through Veterans Affairs.

For our Veteran participants this year, the results have been instructional in further develop of the program and identifying ways to help each one of these Veterans work through their emotions – whether happy, sad or angry. 92% of participants agreed that, “creating art helped me to express my emotions in a positive way.” 100% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that, “participating in this program improves my mood.”64% of participants felt happy after creating art.

While the program is funded by Stark MHAR for a specific set of Veterans through their recovery program, other money received supports Veterans outside of Stark MHAR, allowing them to continue to open this much sought-after program through Veterans Affairs and touch so many more lives.

Grant Johnson
Louisville Visual Art – Louisville, KY
Program supports Art Education

Louisville Visual Art (LVA) provides exceptional art education via Children’s Fine Art Classes (CFAC) and Open Doors initiatives. CFAC has delivered high-quality outside-of-school art instruction across the Louisville Metro since 1925.  Since 1988, Open Doors has offered focused in-school lessons and units that enrich diverse student populations with custom-designed curricula.

Meeting two hours a week for 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring, CFAC not only gives graduates a powerful set of art-making and critical-thinking tools, it also strengthens social bonds that boost confidence and increase the likelihood that graduates stay in or return to Louisville as adult practitioners, as evidenced by the fact that a number of CFAC teachers are former CFAC students.  

Open Doors education initiatives bring LVA’s high-quality art instruction into public schools and institutions where students live in care of the state or the juvenile justice system.  Intensive lessons and units are typically presented in 1 – 7 sessions that supplement existing art curriculum and reinforce connections with other subjects.  

CFAC supports art learning by 1,000+ students of recognized promise each year.  Open Doors reaches a broader cross-section of the school population, bringing visual art enrichment to 1,500-2,000 students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds.         

Care-givers who recognize a child’s desire for art instruction clearly benefit when that child can receive it at low or no cost.  In addition, involvement with our program introduces families to professional artist-teachers and familiarizes them with gallery exhibitions, helping to de-mystify the career in art their child may choose to pursue.

2019 Grant Sponsors

2018 Recipients

Supporting Art Education, Lindy Casebier received $2,500 for expenses for Children’s Fine Art Classes (CFAC), a hands-on visual art experience for Louisville’s youth that is an after school program hosted at K-12 schools and youth centers. The program meets weekly for two hours, giving students ample time for in-depth art-making, for ten weeks in the fall and spring. CFAC provides intensive, in-depth studio art experiences for talented and motivated students, grades 4-12, and elementary and middle school students are offered concentrated studies in drawing, painting, mixed media, art history, critique, and aesthetics. CFAC students “graduate” with the ability to discuss their work and their peer’s works intellectually and emotionally.


Supporting Health & Healing, Mary Curry Mettenbrink received $2,500 for Young Audiences of Houston health and healing program that for more than 20 years has partnered with local children's hospitals and specialized treatment centers, providing free programming for children undergoing treatment as many hospitalized children are required to be out of school for extended periods of time. The goal of Young Audiences of Houston’s Healing Arts programming is to use the tremendous power of the arts to spread joy, give hope, manage pain, support treatment, and leave positive memories for hospitalized children and their caregivers. Young Audiences Healing Arts programs also serve homeless youth facing challenges and tackling issues, the arts become a valuable tool for creation, discovery, expression, hope and healing.


Supporting Art Education, Alice Brinkman received $2,500 for Creative Connections, a before/after school program offered at REACH Studio Art Center for Lansing area youth ages 6-12. The school district provides buses for the students to get from REACH to 3-6 targeted schools each 16-week semester for their delayed start on Wednesday mornings. Lansing School District students enroll free of charge in the program. Up to 100 students will have the opportunity to enroll in one term or semester of the program, where they will engage with local artists on integrated art learning through special projects that build on the previous week’s lessons and projects. Each term of the program covers a different, engaging theme which is planned and run by an artist/teacher and will involve guest artists, college students, volunteer mentors, and partnerships with other local organizations. Goals include building the student's confidence, and art experiences to improve decision-making and problem solving skills, indicated by their ability to complete art projects and participate in program activities.

A Very Special Thank You!

. . . to the group of NAMTA Members who were the 2018 Grant Judges!

 2018 Grant Sponsors: