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Here's our story.

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” – Albert Einstein

Everyone is an artist. We all have a unique point of view and the capacity to express ourselves creatively. When we face challenges in life, no matter how difficult they may be, art can help us rise above them.

At Art Makes Us, we are committed to providing opportunities for each individual to discover and nurture the artist within. Our broad-based arts programming and resources are designed to inspire creativity and confidence in every artist from all ages, children to adults. Our diverse team of art mentors offer individual and group learning experiences that meet students where they are and provide them with opportunities to explore how art and the creative process can empower them with a new vocabulary to articulate their life observations and experiences.

If you’re a beginner, Art Makes Us is for you. If you’re a professional wanting to learn a new skill or reconnect with community, Art Makes Us is for you. All of our programs, including private mentorship, group classes, workshops, and public art projects, are designed to merge the power of art with the strength of community. 

Arts education provides critical social and emotional learning opportunities that enrich the lives of each individual and society as a whole. By fostering an environment in which every artist can thrive, we believe we can change the world.


How it all began

Linda and Paul formed You Will Rise in 2011 to provide a platform for everyone to express themselves through the arts. With the help of dedicated volunteers, we focused on showcasing creative works by people who experienced bullying, offering workshops and organizing exhibitions and public art projects around the theme of overcoming adversity. We published thousands of works from artists all over the world on our website, and collaborated with communities all over the country to create powerful murals and installations. 

In June 2020, Linda passed away. The legacy she left behind - through You Will Rise and her tireless devotion to inspiring the best in everyone she met - has led us to expand our mission. Melissa Forman, an incredible artist and one of our YWR team members from the beginning, joined Paul in this effort. Together, they are forming Art Makes Us, a mentorship network designed to serve anyone of any age who wants to get in touch with their creative side. We believe that everyone is an artist, and Art Makes Us is here to help you learn the skills and gain the confidence to reach your creative potential.


Our Team 

Melissa Forman spends her time creating a richly visual world filled with characters created from an opulent, mysterious, and often eerie imagination. Her lovely, idealized figures seem lost in their own worlds, drifting between the 16th, 18th, 19th and 21st centuries. Melissa has been drawing and painting commissioned portraits since she was 14. She attended the Columbus College of Art and Design and graduated with a BFA in 2002. She now lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio. Her personal work has been shown in galleries around the world, from New York City to Seattle to Los Angeles to Berlin, Germany to Bristol, England.


Paul Richmond is an internationally recognized visual artist and activist whose career has included exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States as well as publication in numerous art journals and anthologies. His work is collected by individuals around the globe. He is a co-founder of the You Will Rise Project, an organization that empowers those who have experienced bullying to speak out creatively through art. He lives in Marina, California and is represented by Not Sheep Gallery in Columbus, Ohio.