About Art to Grow On


Inspiring creative growth through meaningful art experiences.


Our principal message is that children’s art cannot be taught, it's already there! Creativity can only be liberated and nurtured. Adults can best be instrumental in encouraging the creative development of children by being open to what students express and create, by providing an atmosphere of emotional safety where children feel free to express their personal vision and by acknowledging and respecting creative behavior. The art experience should stimulate their motivation to learn to make their own choices, to be flexible and to adapt. Through motivation, the child will discover. By encouragement, the child will express.

The philosophy of Art to Grow On is to inspire creative and mental growth through meaningful art experiences in a non-judgmental environment. Consider everything an experience. Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win or fail. There’s only make.

Through our art experiences, children learn. Art to Grow On is designed to promote individual expression by providing the opportunity, materials and process for the children to create their own solutions and conclusions. It is our belief that if we don’t continue to nurture the creative talent of our children, we won’t have our artists in the future.

Who we are

Art to Grow On is a non-profit, art enrichment organization that serves the creative development needs of school children in the greater Harbor area. Operated by parents and community volunteers, it was started in 1988 as a pilot program under Art at Your Fingertips, an art enrichment program in the Palos Verdes School District. Today, Art to Grow On’s staff of 130+ volunteer “docents” brings artistic experiences to more than 9000 school children, grades K-8, in 17 public and private schools in San Pedro, Harbor City, Lomita and Rancho Palos Verdes.

Art to Grow On’s school year program consists of five projects designed by professional artists chosen from the South Bay community. For each project, docents attend workshops where they receive instruction from the artist in how to present and teach the project to the children.

Motivation in Art

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso

To motivate children in art is to assist them in the discovery of themselves; their ideas, feelings, wishies, fantasies, and dreams. The object is to encourage them to communicate their unner selves. The role of the motivator is crucial. If a non-threatening, non-judgemental environment is established, children are free to explore their deepest nature. In a constricting, coercive environment children are bound to comformity and imitation.

Through original expression in early life, the tools and self-confidence for original thought and expression are established. Uncharted territory, difficult problems, blank pages will pose not a threat but rather wonder and challenge!

Art should assist in developing the abilities of resourcefulness and creativity; to express one's feelings and ideas andin turn respect the feelings and ideas of others.

Moreover, if the art educator is sincerely interested in letting the chldren explore their creative powers, she must provide an environment free of judgement and criticism, combined ideally with the child's equally sincere attemtp to participate in the artistic process.

Can't get enough art? Here are some wonderful programs for families and kids. Many are free.

  • Kids under 18 get free memberships at LACMA, and there are free art classes for kids most Sundays during NextGEN Family Days.
  • Low cost, high values classes for kids and adults in art and more at our own art community at Angels Gate in San Pedro.
  • The Long Beach Museum of Art also hosts family art workshops and is a wonderful place to visit with it's view of the Pacific.

Of Special Interest

ATGO does good works - in schools and around the world. Our Amate Heritage project in 2009 not only helped our kids look into their past but it also helped a small village in Mexico where ATGO purchased the special bark paper for this project. The purchase was large enough to sustain the village for months. Here is a video of the paper making process.