July 13, 2024
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Jennifer Howell’s Art of Elysium: Igniting Creativity and Compassion for a Brighter World

Jennifer Howell's Art of Elysium: Igniting Creativity and Compassion for a Brighter World
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In the heart of Los Angeles, a remarkable charity known as The Art of Elysium, founded by the visionary Jennifer Howell in 1997, has been on a transformative journey of supporting artists and making a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals facing adversity. What began as a program to provide art programs for hospitalized children has grown into an inspiring movement of creativity, compassion, and community empowerment.

Over the past two decades, The Arts of Elysium has flourished under Jennifer’s leadership, forging powerful connections between volunteer artists and communities in need. The charity’s mission centers on extending a helping hand to those experiencing challenging emotional life circumstances, from illness and hospitalization to displacement, confinement, and crisis. Their outreach touches the lives of medically fragile children, teens, adults, seniors, and individuals navigating social, emotional, and mental health issues, as well as the homeless population.

Jennifer, a beacon of passion and purpose, embodies the spirit of The Art of Elysium. Her dedication to creating a positive change was inspired by the remarkable love story of her childhood best friends, Tara Williamson, and Stephen Lane Hatten. Their journey of resilience and selflessness left a deep mark on Jennifer’s heart.

During their senior year of high school, tragedy struck when Stephen was diagnosed with Leukemia. Jennifer vividly recalls the collective effort of friends and family to find a bone marrow match, ultimately leading to Stephen’s transplant and eventual remission. It was during this period of recovery that Stephen and Tara began dating each other. But Stephen ultimately relapsed and his battle with cancer continued as Tara stood by his side.

“Tara’s selflessness, kindness, and genuine unconditional love moved me in ways that I will never be able to fully express,” Jennifer shared, reflecting on the impact of their unwavering bond.

When Jennifer returned home for New Years Eve to see Stephen, one conversation would forever change the course of Jennifer’s life and inspire the birth of The Art of Elysium. In an effort to cheer him up, Stephen  urged Jennifer, “Please don’t pity me. I’ve had friends and family by my side every step of this journey. If you want to do something for someone, do it for the kids who are in there facing their battles by themselves.” He shared a poignant story of a young child, left alone in the hospital during their treatment because of parents who were doing their best to balance responsibilities. Stephen’s heartfelt plea laid the foundation for The Art of Elysium’s mission. 

In August 1997, The Art of Elysium took its first steps, launching a hospital program to provide creative solace to those in need. Since then, the charity has grown and evolved far beyond anything Jennifer could have imagined.

“I believe in the transformative power of art,” Jennifer passionately expressed. “It has the ability to heal, uplift, and inspire. Through The Art of Elysium, we aim to support artists who, in turn, support our communities, making this world a brighter and more compassionate place.”

The Art of Elysium has not only impacted the lives of 30,000 individuals annually but has also nurtured and empowered 2,510 artists in the Los Angeles area. Through dedicated volunteer artists, the charity crafts unique, creative programs that bring hope and joy to those facing difficult circumstances. One of those programs is called Girl Talk which is an arts-based self-esteem workshop established by The Art of Elysium at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to help girls (6 to 17 years of age) who are patients of plastic surgery. In the program, the girls get to engage in all types of art from fashion and design, to theater and improv, to the visual arts where they create their own self portraits that encompass all their emotions and self expressions. 

As the charity continues to thrive, Jennifer remains the guiding force, leading with empathy, vision, and a profound sense of purpose. Her journey, fueled by the love and inspiration of Stephen and Tara, serves as a testament to the extraordinary power of human connection and the arts.

To support Jennifer Howell’s remarkable efforts and contribute to The Art of Elysium’s mission, please visit their website https://www.theartofelysium.org/. Together, we can ignite the spark of creativity and compassion, bringing light to the lives of those in need and celebrating the incredible impact of artists on our world.

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