|Meet Fine Art Miracles, Inc. (FAM). FAM is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit with a deeply meaningful human-centered mission: to improve the lives of older adults living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and children with challenges. Earlier this month, FAM became the first recipient of funding from PANO’s Equity in Action campaign.
Pre-pandemic, FAM’s services, including Fine Art Lessons, Creative Art Therapies (Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, and Multi-Sensory Sessions) and Social Robotics, were mostly offered through in-person programs at nursing facilities, day programs, and schools. When COVID struck, FAM had to reimagine how they would continue to emphasize human connection through creative expression without the usual in-person component of their services. Their solution? A packaged fine art lesson: ART2GO. While this has had a beneficial effect on those who could implement it, the loss of human connection, encouragement, and support hindered many and continues to take its toll. “In addition to not being able to see our people in person,” one of the hardest parts for FAM Founder & CEO Tess Lojacono has been “watching their need (for human connection and stimulation) deepen relentlessly as the crisis continues.”
With their funding from the Equity in Action campaign, FAM has been able to join the PANOnetwork as a member, which affords Tess and her team access to Standards for Excellenceresources, discounted training and education, and cost-savings programs. “The term ‘action’ is what excites me about this campaign,” shared Tess. “We see so many organizations talking about the implications of systemic racism and raising issues of equity, while brown-led organizations like FAM, serving populations that are literally dying from social isolation, are being ignored. We need to stop talking about it and start doing something about it.”