A group of people posing for a photo during a workshop event.


LMU’s Summer Arts Workshop is an art therapy-based workshop aimed at using intentional visual art experiences to explore and increase positive cultural identity with adolescents from under resourced areas of Los Angeles. The workshop is a weeklong curriculum led by art therapy graduate students, supervised by LMU MFT/Art Therapy faculty and alumni, that engages youth in a cumulative art making task that culminates in a final exhibition for the community.


The overall objective of the Summer Arts Workshop is to increase positive youth identity amongst youth from under resourced communities in Los Angeles County. Our program is rooted in a social action methodology where the visual art therapy-based curriculum aims to promote opportunities for positive youth development; exploration and identification of strengths-based behaviors vs. deficit-based behaviors.

Our program has been providing services for over 15 years and has touched upwards of 500 young people and their families. Original participants and facilitators of the program still remain active contributors, indicating the quality of connection brought forth from this program. The Summer Arts Workshop not only positively impacts youth participants by providing deeply needed social and emotional support but also has provided quality training opportunities for art therapy graduate student trainees throughout its existence.

Past Workshops

Artwork for the 2022 SAW.
Youth artists worked on their lanterns every day for a week, adding layers of meaning and personal significance with the following prompt – “What helps you find light?”
Students posing for a photo an an ARTsmart event.
Summer Arts Workshop, ARTsmart, and Community Dance Project receive funding boosts thanks in part to a gift from the Max H. Gluck Foundation.
People creating artwork at the 2019 SAW.
“The metaphor of coming together in a shared space offers a poignant symbol of the magic that can come from bringing individuals of various point of views together.”