Our Background

LiveArts Studio was founded in 2002 by Desire’e Simpson, Ed.D. Dr. Simpson is a practicing artist, designer and educator who created LAS as an organization to richly expose individuals to art, design and the business of the arts industry, and also to teach art as a way of helping meet some unmet needs. The inspiration for LiveArts Studio came as a result of Dr. Simpson’s humanitarian experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer while serving in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. There she worked with artisans as a designer in the Small Entrepreneur Development Program. She assisted artisans with their products; design development, exporting, marketing, etc. She saw how such a program was successful in assisting artisans in a developing country become economically self-sufficient, and how, though economically marginalized, artisans with micro enterprises were still able to contribute to the local and national economy. She felt that a similar such program could be as beneficial to individuals in the United States, providing opportunities for them to use their creative voice to contribute to the economy through their artistic medium. She incorporated her educational training in interior architecture and design and fine arts as tools of social change, developing LiveArts Studio as a cultural art, education and entrepreneurial institution. LiveArts Studio inspires enthusiasm in art, develops personal interests, and hones artistic talent.



Who We Are

Desire'e Simpson, Εd.D

Dr. Desire’e Simpson is artist, designer and educator. She is founder and executive director of LiveArts Studio, a non-profit, community-based art program located in Gary, IN. Her experience as an artist is vast. Her artistry takes shape in the form of whimsical abstract  two- and three-dimensional works in mosaics, hand-painted chairs, clothing, paintings, sculpture and more. Dr. Simpson began her art and design career while completing her BFA in Interior Architecture and Design at Parsons at the American University in  Paris, in France. She worked as a freelance designer there and then later in Chicago, IL, her home town. After completing her undergraduate degree she served as a designer in the Peace Corps’ Small Entrepreneur Development Program in the Domincan Republic. There she helped local artisans perfect the quality of their craft products, expand their markets locally and internationally, and helped them develop their marketing strategies. Inspired by her service there, Dr. Simpson developed a similar program model that would help art enthusists in underserved communities in the United States use their artistic interests to become entrepreneurs. Combining her passion of art and design with education, LiveArts Studio was created. Dr. Simpson holds a MSED in Occupational Education from Chicago State University, and an Ed.D in Art Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has over 20 years teaching experience levels K-16 and is a licensed art educator in Indiana and Illinois. She has served as adjunct faculty at universities in Illinois and Indiana as well. In addition, she is a retired Sergeant Major from the U.S. Army Reserves. Dr. Simpson is passionate about art – both how others create it, and the processes employed in its making. In her own work, she focuses on the abstract. The abstract, representational linear, and curvalinear quality of her work is simple, sophisticated and stylized.


Artist Statement

“I view my art work as an evolving process of visual movement, emphasizing line, edge, texture and expressive energy. When combined, they produce shape and form. The whimsy, flow, and rhythm found in my work are diverse yet reoccurring; they are my signature. The expressive pieces I create illustrate emotion and energy – creating shapely abstract forms, fun forms and fantastic fluid movement.”


ArtXplore - A Multi-art after school program serving children and youth 8-18yrs.

S.E.A. Me Create - Saturday Experiences in Art program serving children and youth 7-17yrs.

Children's Art Studio - An exploratory art program for very young artists, ages 2-7yrs.

ArtsCamp - Summer art for learners 8-18yrs


In-School & After School Programming

Studio-A, our In-School program for grades K-12 serves students at their schools.

Art Appreciation

Art History

Visiting Artist Project

Children's Art Studio

ArtXplore - our After School Program for grades 3-12 serves students at our facility, or at an agreed upon location to benefit the art enrichment of children.

Exploring Identity

Exploring Culture

Exploring Community

Exploring Nature

Exploring Travel

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) compliments our suite of workshops. STEAM connects art-making with academic disciplines integrating visual expression in creative and basic ways. Art as Therapy. Art can be a vehicle for helping individuals communicate through image and form where words are more difficult. Expressive arts and experience of the create process help individuals  



We have a variety of projects. Here are just a few of what students experience.

It's About Time!                                                                                                           

In this workshop, you'll design a creative device for telling time. Will it sit on a table or hang on a wall? Only time will tell. Make a time-piece filled with imagination and ingenuity.

Wix Scents

Before there was electricity there were candles. In this workshop, you'll have an opportunity to create a candle from start to finish. . . Looks and smells awesome!

Let There Be Light!

Pull a string, or turn a switch . . . and let there be light! In this lamp design workshop, you'll learn how to make a lamp. Oohh! Let's not forget about the shade. . You'll design that too.


Create learning furniture from tables to chairs. Develop  carpentry skills as you paint, sand, saw and varnish. Team work will be the secret ingredient in this workshop. When done, you'll want a seat.

The Beautiful Project                                            

In this workshop you'll create masks inspired from the beauty of indigenous cultures and your imagination.

Carve Stamp Print

Learn the basics of printmaking. Cut, carve, stamp, print will be the order of this creative event. 

Dot It!                                                                                                                         

This is an ancient art form created by indigenous Australians known as Aboriginals. Learn the symbols, history and process which has been a way of communicating their history for centuries.

3D Plaster Sculptures

In this  workshop you'll create 3D plaster sculptures that you cast yourself. Carve, contour and form in plaster.



Ever wondered how cartoons were created? Well here's a chance to create one...with your own live action book! Learn to make a flipbook - the beginnings of animated pictures. Draw frame-by-frame. Flip pages. Create Action!!!

Dip Dye Tie Drip             

From fabric panels to t-Shirts, there so much to do with textiles. Children will have a blast creating naturally awesome designs, patterns and color blends when they tie-dye. What a surprise!

Picture Puzzles                                                 

Learn the process of making mosaics while learning how to use the tools and the materials. Hammer!  Nip!  Crack!

Look at Me

In this drawing workshop create blind contour self-portraits using simple drawing materials. Go from reality to abstract with just one line.

Our Philosophy  

Our philosophy encompasses thirteen principles that define the essential components of our organizations’ approach. Our philosophy emphasizes the values and characteristics fundamental to our leadership and instructional style. They are;

  • Purpose – providing goal-oriented programming, structured activities and sequentially planned projects;
  • Place – learning in an environment that reflects the qualities and conditions that prepare learners to succeed; 
  • Planned Programming – implementing high quality, professionally guided instruction with targeted outcomes;
  • Personnel – learning from dynamic personalities exuding energy and competence;
  • Professionalism – maintaining high standards, and setting high achievable goals;
  • Practice – perfecting and polishing one’s skills through continued exploration;
  • Profitability – learning to approach art production, design and arts experiences with an entrepreneurial focus;
  • Production – learning to develop and understand one's process of creating works;
  • Process – forming habits that inspire, and lead towards one’s desired outcome;  
  • Passion – allowing deeply rooted interests to serve as the birthplace for fueling creative inquiry;
  • Preservation – protecting creative interests, promoting artistic excellence and emphasizing historical influences with respect and ethical consideration. By shaping and cultivating ideas that support one's pursuits, we keep alive our "esprit culturale"
  • Partnerships – collaborating with others for assistance and support - together creating innovative ways of bringing forth interesting ideas. 
  • Pride – displaying delightful confidence in one's creativity.   

By emphasizing these principles, we succeed in developing artistic skills with a view toward entrepreneurship and deliver an enriched program that helps prepare individuals for art-making experiences and opportunities beyond the studio environment.



Our Approach

Our approach is influenced by 5 philosophies that include prominent educators and their theories about learning: Lev Vygotsky and his Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) theory, and language development through social interactions; the Project Approach and multiage grouping model advanced by Lilian Katz; John Dewey’s theories on environment, art and experience; Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence's and; the Reggio Emilia Approach, developed by Loris Malaguzzi, emphasizing the creative process as central to the learning experience, the artist/instructor as researcher and the learning environment as the third teacher. Our unique blend of theoretical approaches form the philosophy upon which LiveArts Studio® models it's program design.


       Lev Vygotsky                  Lillian Katz                      John Dewey                         Howard Gardner                  Loris Malaguzzi

Serving the Local Community

LiveArts Studio acknowledges cultural uniqueness, concerns, and challenges, as well as the perspectives, problems and possibilities of those in inner-city communities as well as rural and metropolitan areas. We use an approach that appeals to the multiple learning style(s) of our participants, and we help them infuse their style(s) of learning into all that they do and create with us. We encourage variety, out-of-the-box thinking; embracing the uniqueness, vision and energy that participants bring. By employing one’s passion or interests as a means of discovery and self-actualization, individuals can influence their futures by developing a sense of understanding about concepts, and find ways of embracing their potential; albeit engaging art as a form of creative exploration, or as a means of developing a source of economic self-sufficiency. We partner with local community institutions such as public,private and independent schools, social service organizations, faith-based organizations and state agencies.   

See what we're doing in the community:

  • LiveArts Studio is an arts & culture organization in the state of Indiana.


Serving the Global Community

We view local, national and global interests as avenues for learning about our communities, our neighbors and ourselves. Projects at LiveArts Studio challenge learners to explore new and different environments as ways of understanding local and global issues, and to be able to enter into dialogue with others with an informed voice and an open mind. In our efforts to better connect local and global cultures, LiveArts Studio aims to bridge divides between communities and continents by building relationships through research, inquiry and visual culture.

We avidly seek to partner and share in opportunities across borders, continents and countries to grow our understanding about our neighbors near and far. We use our creative voice as the language to help understand the interconnectedness and cultural communication that joins us all in some way.



Donate. Volunteer. Create Something. 

Contact us: 4760 Broadway, Gary, IN, 46408 | Phone: 219-221-8211 | email: liveartsstudio1@gmail.com