ArtWorks was started by Renée Schneider in 2003 as an outreach ministry of St. Luke's United Methodist Church. In ArtWorks classes children learn to express themselves through a variety of art mediums, by participating in creative drama activities and by writing and producing their own videos.
Field trips to arts focused businesses and cultural events allow the children to see artists at work, perhaps sparking a career interest.
ArtWorks showcases the children's achievements with art exhibits at various locations throughout the year. To date ArtWorks has shared the joy of art with over five hundred children at ten locations.
Why the Arts?
Children facing the challenges of poverty, homelessness, abuse or neglect are often left with debilitating emotional burdens, academic deficiencies and a limited view of their own potential. Low self esteem can cause them to doubt their worth and capacity to succeed. Economic disadvantages also prevent these children from exposure to the arts, yet it is the arts that become their salvation. Art classes give struggling children a way to feel successful and gain longed for positive recognition. There is little arts education in the local public schools and money constraints make arts activities scarce outside of school too. ArtWorks strives to fill that void.
About Renée Schneider
After six years as a public school teacher, Renée Schneider left teaching to pursue a degree in Communication Arts and Design. She then spent eleven years as an art director and design manager at Walt Disney World. At Disney Renée managed a million dollar design budget and a staff of ten designers.
After leaving Disney Renée volunteered for numerous organizations but soon it became apparent that God was calling her to use her artistic talents and teaching skills to help hurting children. A series of coincidences led Renée to Great Oaks Village where she launched ArtWorks in 2003.
In addition to developing curriculum, teaching, and coordinating all aspects of ArtWorks, Renée has mentored three teenage girls living in foster care. Renée received a Jefferson Award for Outstanding Community Service in 2006 and a Women of Distinction Award in 2011.