Since 1995, AHC’s award-winning art and literacy program has helped develop creative, engaged, and successful children/youth through building emotional, social, academic and intellectual skills.


ArtEsteem engages students and supports their positive development – body, mind, and heart. Our programs help keep children/youth interested in school through creating individual and collective educational excellence across academic subjects. In addition to art classes for children/youth, ArtEsteem Art Instructors provide professional development consulting and hands-on training for educators in art curricula –and also in support of academic subjects (e.g. science and social studies) – to help teachers develop visually engaging and hands-on methods that improve student involvement, comprehension, and critical thinking.

ArtEsteem’s fun and widely applicable art-enrichment classes, that also provide education in emotional literacy and life/social skills, are valuable for kids of all backgrounds. Bridging grassroots and governmental social-improvement efforts, we strive in particular to provide art classes in schools that cannot afford them by linking resources and creatively raising dollars through grants and other fundraising efforts. Being able to offer art classes in under-funded schools is helping remedy the effects of socioeconomic conditions that can block academic and personal achievement.

Participants discover how to self reflect and dream, as well as focus on their tasks and “follow through” by completing their art projects. Our methods guide students to think practically about the world and their abilities to manifest positive and creative outcomes. Classes also build students’ language and math literacy, aesthetic appreciation, and listening and performance skills. Our students learn – through dialogue, reading, and writing – conceptual understandings of social, historical, and cultural topics to engage and inform their minds, and develop the whole child, in expansive ways.


ArtEsteem students are propelled to see themselves differently, internally/personally as well as in relation to the issues of the world, and they are encouraged to experience themselves as active change agents. Participants can become more able to self manage, make positive choices, and exercise awareness and kindness with self and others. ArtEsteem invites participants to feel powerful in helpful, beautiful, and productive ways instead of feeling and acting worthless, powerless, or out of control.

Art Classes for Children and Youth

During and after-school Visual Art, Cultural Arts (rhythm and sound), and Fashion Design classes combine Attitudinal Healing concepts, art instruction, and classroom-management tools in an art integrated curriculum linked to the State of California Academic Content Standards.

Visual Art

The Visual Arts class provides a multi-disciplinary curriculum that takes children/youth through a journey of self-exploration, critical thinking, family and cultural research, societal assessment, and the use of aesthetic tools for skill development and artistic creation. Students learn, but are not limited to, basic drawing, printmaking, and painting techniques. This year ArtEsteem introduced the Digital Media class as an introduction to storytelling with media, featuring digital media tools and techniques. This class allows students to create short stories based on their interests and experiences. Students deliver the story in digital format, using text, graphics, audio, video, animation, and interactivity. Students learn about digital media applications, fundamentals, and issues relating to the use of digital media.


Cultural Art

The Cultural Arts class provides students with cognitive learning opportunities through drumming in a cultural and language rich environment. The curriculum incorporates phonics, the twin concepts of rhythm and sound, and cultural codes of conduct from various parts of Africa and other parts of the world.

Fashion Design

The Fashion Design Class is based on the investigation of self through an exploration of respect, confidence, performance and industry. The class is a study of fashion design and textile design. Students explore the historical and cultural influences in fashion and learn basic hand stitching, fabric-dyeing methods, textile design, and how to use a sewing machine.

Youth Leadership

Former ArtEsteem students work as volunteers and/or paid Youth Assistants and gain experience in various art fields, learn civic engagement and advocacy, learn office skills, and receive support developing life skills and preparing for college.

ArtEsteem School Assemblies

The school assemblies consist of rhythm, sound, and storytelling from Africa and other parts of the world to educate and entertain students/staff. There is a lot of hands-on audience participation, e.g. movement, playing drums and other musical instruments onstage with the presenter.

Building Healthy Staff

Schools are workplaces too. School teachers, administrators, and other staff can engage in creating healthier adult environments through participating in AHC workshops and retreats. Customized sessions can help develop personal and interpersonal strengths through activities such as learning stress-management techniques, practicing diversity-tolerance tools, and team building/community building through Mindful Drumming.

Attitudinal Healing & Intrinsic Motivation

Attitudinal Healing is the process of learning to let go of painful, fearful attitudes about our life experiences while developing healthier feelings and behaviors. It is a set of non-traditional mental health practices that help develop the intrinsic motivation and personal abilities necessary to be compassionately self aware and mindful of self/others, make healthy choices, and manifest helpful and creative outcomes.

Stress Management

Attitudinal Healing Principles can be applied to alleviating and managing the everyday stresses that individuals experience in workplaces, organizations, schools, families, and other environments. Sessions and practices can be tailored for children/youth or for specific groups of adults (e.g. parents, nurses, teachers, business co-workers).

Team Building/Community Building

Experiential learning is used to foster skills in communication, cooperation, and compassion. Participants develop understanding and practice methods of healthy self/other awareness, positive self control, and the joys and benefits of working together.



Art Education for Educators

ArtEsteem trains educators in art curricula, as well as in support of academic subjects, showing teachers how to develop visually engaging lessons and methods to enhance educational content and involve students in creative, hands-on ways that improve their comprehension, critical thinking, and achievement.

ArtEsteem develops customized workshops, learning plans, consulting services, and instructional materials to fit a school’s specific arts-education needs. Our experienced visual and performing artists can work alongside teachers in their classrooms to provide on-the-job training and facilitated practice during real class lessons. ArtEsteem also holds training workshops for teachers several times each year at the AHC center in Oakland. Continuing Education Units are available for some workshop sessions.

ArtEsteem trainings and collaborations provide hands-on opportunities for educators to gain significant professional knowledge in areas like:

  • How to implement visual and performing arts curriculum through understanding tools, supplies, mediums, techniques, and methods
  • How to integrate visual and performing arts curriculum with academic content areas such as language arts, social studies, math, and science
  • How to integrate the State of California Visual & Performing Arts Standards into classroom curriculum
  • How to use the Principles of Attitudinal Healing as tools for classroom management