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.
“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.”
What We Offer
ArtXplore - A Multi-art after school program serving children and youth 8-18yrs. Some themes include; Exploring Identity, Exploring Culture, Exploring Community, Exploring Nature, and Exploring Travel.
S.E.A. Me Create - Saturday Experiences in Art 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
Studio-A - In-school art for grades K-12 at your school location. Enjoy Art Appreciation, Art History, or a visiting artist project.
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) compliments our suite of workshops. STEAM connects art-making with academic disciplines integrating visual art with math, science and technology in creative ways.
Art Therapy - Art can be a vehicle for helping individuals communicate through image and form in ways that words cannot.
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 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
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.
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