FOUNDER, JENNIFER HOWELL

Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Jennifer landed in Los Angeles shortly after graduating from Emerson College with a B.A. in Mass Communications and Film. She has since become an inspiration to tens of thousands of children and their families, and set a new precedent for social responsibility within the entertainment community.

An accidental philanthropist, Jennifer had a movie career in mind before fate dealt her a different hand. “There really is no rhyme or reason to it,” she explained. “I wasn’t looking for a change in my life. I was super excited about being in LA and starting a career in the film industry.” But only after a close friend was diagnosed with Leukemia, and experienced first-hand the loneliness of children forced to suffer in a hospital bed alone, did a simple conversation turn into a totally different perspective. “For some reason, that story just redirected my life,” she said.

Soon after, Jennifer began volunteering at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles with a group of friends, most of whom were artists. But after several weeks of regular visits, she found herself in another unexpected position. “They took me in this big board room with a whole bunch of people,” she explained. “They said, ‘We never in a million years thought you would follow through. We love the artists you bring in and so do the children, but if you want to keep doing it, you have to start a non-profit.’” Reflecting on what became a major career change, she joked, “I was 22 at the time. I didn’t even know what a ‘non-profit’ was.”

Nevertheless, she was determined to continue what she had started. And in the fall of 1997, the Art of Elysium was born. What began as a group of friends with a mission to make sure no child goes through treatment alone, became a new way of looking at art and its capacity for social change. “I believe in the power of creativity,” said Howell. “If you can teach a child to see a hospital room as a totally different world, and allow them to create their own reality through the means of creative expression, then you have given them the gift of imagination and the true healing power of art.”

STAFF


FOUNDER
Jennifer K. Howell

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Allison Beck

NATIONAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Leslie Culp

DEVELOPMENT/
ELYSIUM ART SALONS

Tash Sakkas

FASHION DESIGN MANAGER
Amy Belknap

VISUAL ARTS MANAGER
Krista Machovina

THEATRE / MEDIA ARTS MANAGER
Shannon Going

CONTROLLER
Samar Osman

CREATIVE DIRECTION
Shepard & Amanda Fairey
Studio Number One

PUBLIC RELATIONS
Marcel Pariseau


BOARD OF DIRECTORS


CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Tim Headington

FOUNDING BOARD MEMBER
Jennifer Howell

SECRETARY OF THE BOARD
Sarah Adolphson


DIRECTORS

Justin Bartha

FINANCE CHAIR
Ken Coelho

MARKETING CHAIR
Bill Harrison

Christopher R. King

Matthew Meza

PROGRAM CHAIRS
Lauren & Ragan O'Reilly


FINANCIALS