The Detroit artist draws iconic city buildings and is on a mission to offer art therapy programs for youth.
When I had the idea to start Kiddos + Insights, I knew I wanted to recognize individuals and organizations working to improve the lives of children. Helping Kiddos is a space where we’ll recognize and help people who are on the ground, positively impacting the lives of children.
This month I am showcasing Leah Carroll and Drawn to Detroit. Leah Carroll is using the medium of art, and her teaching background to help children and teens.
Who is Leah? Tell me about your background and how it led you to Drawn to Detroit.
I am passionate about art and people! I have six years of teaching experience working with special education and at-risk youth and just recently earned my Masters of Education in Art Therapy. Art therapy is a non-traditional therapeutic approach to the processing of trauma, depression and anxiety.
When I moved to downtown Detroit almost three years ago to start my graduate program, I was instantly drawn to the energy, people, vibe and architecture in the city! I was an art teacher by day and full-time student at night. The process of creating the freehand drawings became a therapy in between the grind of work and school — redirecting me to one of my true passions, drawing.
Drawn to Detroit has evolved from a graduate school assignment, to a therapeutic art experience, and now a small business! As Drawn to Detroit continued to grow and gain recognition it became clear to me that I needed to step out into my purpose in a different way. So, I took a huge leap of faith and left education. My motivation and focus is still the same — art and people. However, Drawn to Detroit allows me to live out my passions in a different way.
What is Drawn to Detroit?
Drawn to Detroit is a Detroit-based small business dedicated to preserving memories through freehand illustrations. Some of Drawn to Detroit’s partnerships include The Inn on Ferry Street, The Detroit Writing Room, RAW Artists out of California and All Things Detroit at the Eastern Market. I recently had success with a Kickstarter campaign raising funds to serve the Detroit community in new ways. The funding will provide in-person and virtual art therapy workshops that include philanthropical opportunities focusing on children and teens.
What is it about the medium of art that allows people to channel different emotions and feelings?
The medium of art provides a safe space for emotional release and serves as an alternative form of expression. American artist Georgia O’Keefe said it best, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way… things I had no words for.” Art allows us to use different parts of our brain and tap into the subconscious. The practice of art therapy allows people, no matter the age, gender, race, background or ability, to express themselves safely and in a healthy way. There is no prior experience or specific talent needed, just the willingness to engage in the process.
What is your vision with Drawn to Detroit?
My vision for Drawn to Detroit is to continue to partner with other artists, entrepreneurs and businesses in the Detroit community. (I want to) continue to preserve memories of Detroit and other cities, through my freehand illustrations, create new and exciting therapeutic art experiences and develop ways to give back to the city we are all “Drawn” to.
How can we help?
You can donate or purchase goods that will help further my mission of providing art therapy workshops. You can shop or request custom work on my website at www.drawntodetroit.com or donate at https://drawntodetroit.com/donate. Please follow along on Instagram @drawntodetroit.