"One of the main reasons we use art with kids is because it’s another way for kids, a more natural way, to communicate," says Melissa Ranman Molitor, co-founder of Art & Soul. "Kids, by the nature of being kids, don’t necessarily have the words in their vocabulary to express themselves. Art gives them a way to do that."
Because Art & Soul is first and foremost an art studio, children have an alternative to visiting clinics and hospitals for treatment, Molitor says. "We use all different types of visual art media, so we have a kiln room and a clay studio on-site. We have ceramics and different types of sculptures kids can do, painting and drawing. We make masks and puppets. It’s a wide range." The emphasis in classes and in therapy is on the creative process, rather than on the finished product.
Art & Soul’s therapy classes specialize in children who are in family crisis, having difficulties in school, suffering from anxiety or depression or who have experienced trauma or loss. Kids with disabilities such as ADHD or those who have recently been diagnosed with a medical illness may also benefit from the art therapy program.
In addition to art therapy, Art & Soul holds regular art classes for infants and moms, toddlers and moms, as well as classes for children and teens up to age 17. The classes for moms and infants are similar to a moms group, Molitor says.
The prices for art classes vary, from $90 to $210, generally depending on the length of the class. Therapy is $100 per hour.
Art & Soul’s teachers are licensed professional counselors trained in art therapy. Insurance generally covers at least a portion of the therapy, Molitor says.For more information, call (773) 878-7685 or visit the Web site at www.artandsoulchicago.com. The center is located at 5347 N. Clark St., Floor 2, Chicago.