Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Howell.
Jennifer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
An accident is how I would explain the beginning of this journey. I moved to Los Angeles right out of film school with the dream of writing and directing. I went to Emerson College and had a great artist community and we were all working together to make our dreams come true. Shortly after moving out here, I got a call from my childhood best friend telling me her boyfriend had relapsed with Leukemia. Stephen (her boyfriend) had grown up with us in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and had been diagnosed our Senior Year of High School. I talked to Tara pretty much daily and prayed, sent love and tried to imagine Stephen’s journey.
I went home to see him and was not prepared for the state he was in. Life was literally being taken away from him and I was pursuing my creative aspirations in Los Angeles. It didn’t seem fair at all. The compassion, grace and unconditional love that Tara gave to Stephen during his time of need forever changed my heart. She was by his side every step of his journey and was with him when Leukemia finally won the battle. There were many conversations during this time and one conversation on the way to Memphis is what changed the direction of my life. In a nutshell, Stephen asked for people not to pity him and to turn that pity into doing something for others. All I knew was art.
I came back to Los Angeles and got together a group of 23 artists and we went around talking about our creative talents and how we would like to share those with others. We went to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on August 17, 1997, and did our very first workshop. Our 21st birthday of The Art of Elysium is quickly approaching and we have taken musicians, artists, actors, writers, fashion designers, literally every form of artists you can dream of in to be of service with communities of need.
We serve hospitalized youth, special need schools, inner-city schools, elder care facilities, the homeless communities and veterans. We are working toward the goal of making certain that anyone dealing with crisis and challenges is given the power to create and transcend what they are going through.
Has it been a smooth road?
The road of The Art of Elysium has been divinely guided. It has given me a far greater faith in God, destiny and our individual lives meaning nothing if we are not in service of all. With that being said, faith has been tested time and time again.
The biggest challenge was having a large sponsor of one of our events contractually obligated to sponsorship fees and then filing for bankruptcy and not paying what they owed. There are other minor bumps along the road but for the most part, we are truly blessed. When you have an organization that is 100% based in service to others, the spiritual rewards and gratitude for being able to be of service far outweigh the challenges.
I point out the failure to pay sponsorship and financial commitments to the charity because I feel that is something many people do not think about. Charities rely on people’s words, commitments, belief in the mission and integrity.
When someone acts without integrity to their charitable commitments there are ripple effects that impact many.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Art of Elysium – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The Art of Elysium is a full circle concept that supports emerging artists and engages them in volunteerism and community service. Through this mission, we have created a self-sustainable funding model that is truly unique. Our goals as a non-profit is to create revenue through our creative projects to fund the community work that we do.
We have the first ever fully philanthropic film studio and streaming platform that is currently in Beta right now. We have created a micro level donation platform that has the ability to build the largest endowment for arts and community in the world. We are currently looking for the right marketing team to plan for the upcoming public launch.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love downtown, Los Angeles. I think what is going on down there right now is an absolute inspiration. The restaurants, galleries, culture is a true renaissance. It is so interesting to see an area just come to life. I love taking the subway downtown and just getting out and walking around. It is a city unto itself.
The thing that I like least about this city is its reputation. People refer to the people here as self-obsessed, vapid, celebrity oriented, etc. I have not found that at all. I have found a community of artists who want to use their voices and talent to make a difference in the world. I wish that there was a way to change that outside perspective of Los Angeles.
- Address: 3278 Wilshire Boulevard Penthouse
Los Angeles, CA 90010
- Website: www.theartofelyisum.org
- Phone: 213-389-3201
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @theartofelysium
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/theartofelysium
- Twitter: @theartofelysium