A picture of the Seattle skyline.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Seattle is known for many things: coffee, rain, the Space Needle, Pike’s Place Market. In recent years it’s even made a name for itself as a tech hub, with Fortune 500 giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft settling in there. All things considered, it’s no wonder that it was ranked the fourth fastest growing city in the U.S. from 2014-2015.

But Seattle has a dirty little secret. It turns out the Emerald City has a massive homeless population. At one point, the homeless population had gotten so far out of hand that in November of 2015, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency. The city, it appears, is at a loss for what to do.

But that’s where Path with Art comes in. Path with Art is an organization in Seattle that uses art therapy to help people overcome homelessness, trauma, and addiction. Their vision is to transform communities by empowering the most vulnerable members of society.

“Our multifaceted programming breaks down the traditional societal barriers that often exist to accessing arts and culture while encouraging community stability and fostering personal self-esteem,” a statement from their website reads.

Programs include free classes for eligible candidates. Classes range from painting to writing to sculpting. There’s even a choir class.

Path with Art also hosts several events throughout the year that give participants the opportunity to showcase their work. Events include everything from open mics to concerts to exhibitions.

“By engaging in the creative process, Path with Art program participants earn and share the respect of their teachers and fellow students, gain the self-confidence that arises from creative insight and visibility, and learn to connect more deeply to the world around them,” the Path with Art impact statement reads.

But perhaps most inspiring of all is the fact that the organization is almost entirely run by volunteers. But in the end, none of this would have been possible without the generous support of several donors and partners, including the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation, the Seattle Art Museum, the Washington Women’s Foundation, Hugo House, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

To learn more about Path with Art, click here.