Artwork from Hospitality House studio~by Bonilla

Art Saves Lives

About 3 years ago I had the opportunity to visit Hospitality House in San Francisco where my friend, Joe Wilson, is the executive director.

was founded in 1969 to support, shelter and encourage the homeless population.

From their website;

Since 1969, Hospitality House’s Community Arts Program (CAP) is the only free-of-charge fine arts studio and gallery space for artists and neighborhood residents whose socio economic struggles would otherwise prevent them from accessing the powerful artistic and cultural landscape of this community. Each year, more than 3,500 artists benefit from the free materials and space to create, house, exhibit and sell their artwork.”

Sitting down at one of the tables, at the time, I was given paper and access to any art materials in the downtown studio space. The man next to me, was quietly working on his masterpiece.

In other parts of the studio, some employees were engaged in lively conversations with the participants explaining, sharing, laughing, and generally having fun. Some of the people were making clay pieces. Some were setting up silk screening for printing on t-shirts.

Every year Hospitality House sells the work of HH at a huge event attended by city officials and all the major galleries in San Francisco.

Hospitality House gives individuals the opportunity to receive the healing and health benefits that can occur when people are creative. At that downtown location, people were engaged in the visual arts. Other locations support the theatre arts, or music.

Numerous studies have shown the health benefits that happen when people are given free reign to express themselves creatively. The community arts programs in many homeless facilities have proven to be a safe refuge for people to express themselves, and liberate their authentic, and innate creative voice. Hence, the expressive arts experience supports mental health for a population that struggles to find some happiness in life.

The mantra “Art Saves Lives” is something I wholeheartedly stand for.

The art experience can enhance any and all people who want to express their creativity.

It’s normal for people to feel blocked by many of the fear based attitudes that hold people back.

The typical blocks are: perfectionism, procrastination, self-sabotage, bad habits (staying in a rut), and self-doubt with the inner critic in the driver seat. Most artists report encountering these blocks at some point. The good news is that they are normal, and it’s possible to work with them to gain an awareness so that one can move forward and enjoy creative projects.

The positive results from engaging in one’s creative expression are many.

We need to embrace what art making can teach us. Fostering an inner positive quality through self-expression seems to be the key, I think, that will carry us through these Covid times, and strengthen our heart centered and kindness muscles. I already see this, even though the crisis is overwhelming.

What the world needs now is “love sweet love” and giving ourselves permission to pursue our creativity. When we do this, so much anxiety, self-criticism, anger, disappointment, depression

And self-doubt is lifted.



Artisan, certified Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach. Your creativity is a journey of courage and perseverance. I can help with your blocks.

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Laura Quilligan

Artisan, certified Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach. Your creativity is a journey of courage and perseverance. I can help with your blocks.