restART Studio

A nonprofit organization

$3,374 raised by 21 donors

34% complete

$10,000 Goal

Want to help transform the lives of justice-involved youth through the power of art therapy?

restART studio is a Colorado nonprofit that is transforming the lives of justice-involved youth through the power of art therapy. 

With your donation, you can join restART studio's pursuit to help end the school-to-prison pipeline and recidivism cycle.

Today prisons are full of adults whose journey into crime began when they were young. In 2018, nearly 730,000 children were arrested. Disproportionately these are disadvantaged youth – those living in poverty, BIPOC, and youth who have experienced neglect, abuse, and violence. The combination of traumatic and unjust circumstances and lack of support to process the psychological impacts leads many youth to act out in defensive and ultimately unproductive ways. 

At restART studio, we are showing that programs leveraging art therapy can be an effective way to help justice-involved youth heal and begin rebuilding a life that taps into their enormous potential.

Our program is designed to work with each youth individually as people with unique talents, interests, and aspirations as well as difficulties, experiences, and trauma. This requires building a relationship based on trust to be able to meaningfully understand what drives their behavior and leads them to choices that don’t serve their ability to thrive. 

At restART studio, we encourage youth to learn from their mistakes; 

to understand that they are worthy and valuable.

restART studio understands that if we want to help redirect youth from a path of revolving involvement with the criminal justice system, emphasis needs to be placed on encouraging youth to learn from their mistakes, rather than punishing them for their learned maladaptive behaviors. 

We aim to help improve the criminal justice system by adopting restorative justice strategies that provide opportunities for reflection, relational accountability, and redress from misconduct. 

restART studio youth receive help to process difficult emotions, increase their ability to express their thoughts and feelings in healthy ways, and gain support in efforts to avoid returning to the same behaviors and social groups that got them into legal trouble.


"[After participating in art therapy], I feel a lot more confident and sure of myself. I'm more self-aware, and I feel like I'm able to make good decisions."
"Before I was in art therapy, I definitely felt lost, but once I had someone to talk to, I felt more comfort and relief about myself."
"[After participating in art therapy], I view myself way differently, with better control of my behaviors."
"[Art therapy] was relaxing and easier to talk with someone while doing an activity I love. I enjoyed the flexibility and options that were available."
"[Art therapy] was helpful. [It] made me calm, more at peace, (and gave me) a better understanding of things."
"[After participating in art therapy], I am more self-aware and feel more care towards myself as a human. I treat myself with respect."
"[Before participating in art therapy], I used to make not-so-good choices, and now I make good ones."
"[Art therapy was helpful by] reconnecting me with my family."
"[Art therapy was helpful because] I had someone to talk to."
"[Art therapy] helped me put in words the things that I spent an enduring time thinking about and suppressing."
"[Art therapy] helped me express my feelings towards others in healthy ways."
"[After participating in art therapy], I view myself as more joyful."
"I am now able to openly talk about issues in my life."
"[Art therapy was helpful because] it was something to do instead of getting into trouble."
"I now know how to better access my emotions."
"[After participating in art therapy], I am able to express myself more than ever."
"[Art therapy helped me] expand my mind and see things in (the) bigger picture."


restART studio's mission is to harness the power of art therapy to help justice-involved youth understand their feelings & behavior and realize their potential.

Background Statement

restART studio was founded in July 2021 by Amanda Holst and Krista Marks, who are passionate about helping youth have the confidence and support they need to live a life outside of the criminal justice system.

Located in a cozy space in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, we work in partnership with a city-led youth redirection program that provides youth with an opportunity to divert from Municipal Court involvement by voluntary engaging in art therapy at restART studio as a more restorative practice than traditional juvenile justice experiences.

restART studio started as a twelve-month pilot art therapy program offering individual and small group art therapy to justice-involved youth. The art therapy pilot proved to be successful in reaching justice-involved youth in a unique and transformative way. In recognition of the program's success, we have continued to serve justice-involved youth with art therapy beyond the pilot and have the intention of scaling our program to reach more youth.

Organization Data


Organization name

restART Studio

other names

Foundation for Scalable Innovations

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)



Mental Health & Crisis Intervention, Youth Development



Service areas

Boulder County, CO, US



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