Group encourages expression through art

November 1, 2009 As a non-for-profit organization, Artists for Harmony is made up of young and talent volunteers who encourage children to express themselves creatively.

At Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education, volunteers from artists for harmony are working with children with different physical disabilities on various of creative projects, from art to writing and even playing games.

Artists for Harmony was created by Michael Truliss, a Chicago public school art teacher and his brother in 2004

"My brother and I wanted something to use art in music to express ourselves and also help the community help the children, and then we started seeing a lot of art getting cut from school, so we thought it would be a great idea to be able to have concerts and art events," said Truliss.

They work with different Chicago public schools and have 20 volunteers.

"We kind of work through the grapevine," said Truliss. "We hear of schools that need our help, the school that I work at, we do stuff there."

They provide all the supplies through fundraising.

"We have items for sale by artists, and we have student artwork that we put at our charity events, in like November," said Truliss. "We have an art show at Columbia Yacht Club."

"My goal last year was to raise $5,000 for Chicago Public Schools, and we exceeded that immensely, but this year we want to help more schools," said Truliss.

Florence O'Leary, staff from ICRE, says this organization has been a godsend.

"They brought the supplies, they brought a team of volunteers, and we were able to compliment their volunteers with some of our staff and also some volunteers at ICRE that are open to other new opportunities to help," said O'Leary.

Twenty-year-old Crystal Thomas really likes being part of this group.

"It's given us more things to do for us -- I mean, I like it because I get to express my feeling through art," Thomas said.

"It's amazing to see what they have to offer, what they have to communicate, with what they can bring to the table and a smile on their faces," O'Leary said.

"With the Artists for Harmony program, I hope that they bridge out even beyond," said Truliss. "I look at creative expression in the arts beyond artwork. It's more than that. They bring opportunities to express in very different ways. That's what we all need."

Artists for Harmony have a number of items for sale that supports the organization. If you want to get involved or attend one of their events, go to

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