Art Transforms Inc. (ATI), is a non-profit organization, founded in 2016 to educate and heal using visual art. ATI is based in South East Queens, NY. We are rooted in traditional art techniques but allow personal creativity to shine in every painting. We encourage our participants to tap into the healing power of art.
To use visual art to educate, express, communicate ideas while offering a safe space to process trauma.
We aspire to fill the gap missing from art appreciation in schools, give seniors the opportunity to express their creativity, and a platform for new artists. Exposure to the transformative powers of art is inspirational.
To provide build character and self-esteem in the program participants while providing a creative healing space for victims of trauma.
What We Offer
We offer weekly free visual art classes with opportunities to exhibit artwork created. Included with our classes are art education and artist as entrepreneurs. We provide support to emerging artist by providing platforms for them to display their artwork.
Executive Committee Bios
Wanda Best, MA, MPA - Founder
Ms. Best believes art is a way to interpret the world. Through art she communicates social injustices that plague communities of color. Art is a non-threatening way to express the traumatizing pain of poverty, hyper-incarceration, environmental racism and other social ills that are present in urban areas. Growing up in Harlem during the 1960’s she experienced poverty first hand and felt its traumatic impact. She also saw the beauty of people who made something out of nothing and the innocent happiness of families who were bond together simply by love. Her paintings are from imagination or memory. Each of her paintings are inspired by an event or an emotional experience. She not only captures the images with her brushes and colorful strokes, she educates the viewer with her conceptualized paintings.
She is Founder of “Art Transforms, Inc.” Her mission is to offer art appreciation to youth to distract from the crime generative factors that can lead to criminal justice involvement, while building character and self-esteem and to give new artist a platform for their artwork. She teaches visual art at Rochdale Village Community Center and facilitates The Circle of Transformation using art to heal from trauma. Participants are exposed to art education, technique development and a workshop on the profitable artist/entrepreneur. She organizes Social Justice Art exhibits as a way of educating the community.
Janell Matthews, MPA - Chair Woman of the Board
Janell is a Regulatory Compliance Professional in the healthcare industry. She is a graduate of New York University with a BS degree in Healthcare Administration and Long Island University with a MPA degree in Public Administration and Public Health, graduating with distinguished honors. She is native New Yorker. Janell has a passion for working with youth and attending cultural and community everts. She often volunteers in activities involving youth, such as Girl Scouts and school events.
Board of Directors
Sharon Banks, MLS
Retired from 17 years of service at Queens Public Library. During her tenure, she served as manager of the Pomonok and Cambria Heights Community Libraries. Prior to her career as a librarian, she was the administrative assistant at both Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and its Community School. Early career endeavors include employment at Ebony and Newsweek magazines as an analyst in their advertising departments.
She received her Master of Library Science from Queens College and Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Hawaii.
Kenneth Hart, MBA
Bachelor of Science from CUNY , 1977. Majors Economic & Accounting
MBA from Long Island University, 1979. Major Taxation; graduate studies in Economics
- Self Employment – Servicing the business community with accounting, income taxes & sales taxes, applying for non-profit statist, income tax auditing, estate taxes
- Youth Stream Media Networks – Tax & Compliance Specialist – maintained the company and its subsidiaries tax registrations current, filed applications to operated in various states, counties & parishes; assist with federal & states income tax filings
- NAACP Economic Development Program – maintained the operating budget; assisted small community businesses with their accounting and tax situations
- Newsweek Magazine – Assistant Controller – construct & maintain annual operating budgets for the Advertising Division; Special Projections Financial Manager
Board of Directors
Sharon Banks, LMIS
Shavona Warmington, BA