With more than 35,000 children receiving wel­fare services in LA County alone, Free Arts for Abused Children strives to reach more kids every year with the purpose of inspiring and transforming their lives through the power of artistic expression. Free Arts pro­grams inspire hope in the lives of children who have experienced abuse, neglect, poverty, and homeless is­sues through innovative cre­ative arts programs and pos­itive interactions with adult volunteers. I recently had the chance to sit down with Matt Blackwell, one of the volunteers at Free Arts for Abused Children, as he pre­pares for his charity event on Saturday, March 23rd at The Mezz Bar in downtown Los Angeles.

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Matt first got involved with Free Arts about two years ago when he was do­ing fund raisers for various local charities every two months. He states that he, “Just ended up at their site one day.” The more he read about Free Arts, the more interested he became. His interest caused him to sug­gest this charity to a group of artists and musicians (Des Grisham, Clairfoster Josiah, Nick Knudson, J.W. Pippen, and Emmeric James Konrad) who all agreed that it would be the perfect char­ity due to their similar views of using art and music as an outlet for children to cope with the damage done to them from being victims of drug and alcohol-inhabited environments. Even though Matt has been hosting fund raising events for two years now, this is the first event he’s worked on that includes both music and art. For every piece of art that gets sold, 20% of the proceeds go to Free Arts for Abused Children. There will also be several collaborative pieces being sold and all proceeds go to Free Arts. A donation bin will also be on stage during the musical performances.

And areas will also be available for attendees to learn more information about Free Arts and the various ways they can get involved and/or donate.

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Matt’s vision for this charity event is to create a positive environment through music and art by using local talent to bring the community together to support a local cause. Matt is one of the artists in the show and he is extremely proud to be a part of this great cause. All the other artists and musicians are working super hard to en­sure that it will be a great night for the children and staff at Free Arts. Every­thing from sculptures to abstract painting will be available for viewing while three different musical acts provide the night’s sounds.

This event is one night only so be sure to arrive early. There is a comedy club next door and the after party will be held down­stairs at The Down and Out. Matt informed me that they will look to do this type of event again sometime in the near future. To learn more about Free Arts for Abused Children, be sure to check them out online at http://www.freearts.org. And don’t forget to check out Matt’s charity event Saturday, March 23rd from 5pm to 11pm at The Mezz Bar on 501 South Spring Street, Los Angeles. It’ll be a night to remember.

By Richard Brea