Healing Through Creativity

“Twenty years ago, while studying art in New York, I volunteered at a family shelter. That experience planted a seed within me,” Theo recalls. “It led me to pursue a career in education, teaching art in low-income schools for nearly two decades.”

Founder of Big Heart Art

Meet Theo Schwartz, the founder behind Big Heart Art, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing the healing benefits of art to underserved communities. Driven by a desire to return to her roots of community outreach, Theo founded Big Heart Art in Denver just a year ago. Her mission? To bridge the gap between art and accessibility, particularly for individuals facing homelessness and other adversities. “I noticed a lack of organizations providing on-siteart workshops in Denver. That’s where Big Heart Art stepped in.”

“At Big Heart Art, our mission is simple yet profound: to bring the healing benefits of art directly to those who need it most.”

Theo worked with Samaritan House leaders Colin “Drew” Kelly and Chinalyn Cole to organize the day-long event for participants at the Catholic Charities shelter on Smith Road.

“Partnering with Catholic Charities has been instrumental in reaching residents and providing them with a unique avenue for self-expression and healing,” said Theo.

Theo conducts workshops for families, women and veterans at multiple Samaritan House locations and hopes to break down barriers to creative expression with a goal of healing.

“One of the beautiful aspects of our workshops is the accessibility we offer. By bringing art directly to the participants, regardless of their mobility or circumstances, we ensure that everyone has the opportunity to engage in creative expression,”

One such participant from Samaritan House, Sarah, shares her experience of how Big Heart Art has become a lifeline amidst the challenges she faces. “Art therapy through Big Heart Art has been such a relief for me,” she expresses. “It’s a safe haven for me where I can channel my emotions onto a canvas. It helps me to find peace and purpose.”

Big Heart Art extends beyond workshop sessions. “During one workshop at Samaritan House, a participant expressed her desire for beautification within the shelter environment. That conversation sparked the idea for this large mural,” Theo shares.

With the support of our staff and residents, Theo started on this project of creating a mural that would beautify the space. This mural of colorful mountains is complete with a tree you can actually interact with. The tree’s leaves are made of construction paper and feature quotes and stories from our residents, giving it a personal touch.

Through Big Heart Art, Theo Schwartz inspires and empowers individuals to harness the healing power of creativity, embodying compassion and resilience central to organizations like ours.