As World War II raged, a seven-year-old Jewish refugee learned from her mother how to create art – and free her mind from the chaos outside. Forty years later, as a seasoned arts educator and therapist, she founded CREATE Arts Center to share what she had learned. In downtown Silver Spring, CREATE offers ceramics, painting, sculpture, cartooning, and visual arts to children, adults, and families, and art therapy for those with autism or other special needs. At four local elementary schools, smARTkids delivers free after-school arts programs and much-needed creative outlets to students, the majority of whom are low-income and academically and socially at risk. Studio Downstairs provides group art therapy to adults living with mental illness and trauma – enabling them to cope with physical and emotional pain and to forge new connections. You can make self-expression and growth possible for those who need it most.