Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities introduced its Free Arts program in early 2018 to provide youth in challenging circumstances a safe place for expression and self-discovery.

With the support of caring adult volunteers and partner sites, we work alongside youth while engaging in art projects. Providing these safe, supportive and consistent experiences enables participants to build trusting and positive relationships that can have a life-changing impact.

Through the Free Arts program, Big Brothers Big Sisters engages more than 1,000 under-served youth with the unique combination of mentoring and the arts. We will elevate the importance of creativity to drive learning. And we will expand arts programming to neighborhoods that would not otherwise have access!

The Free Arts program was previously offered by Free Arts Minnesota.

Free Arts Programs

Weekly Mentorship

This program brings caring adult mentors and creative arts to youth who may have  experienced poverty, homelessness, abuse or mental illness. Through artistic expression and the support of mentors youth can unlock their creativity, providing an hour of respite each week from their daily experiences. Learn more

CREATE Workshop

This program offering is available at transitional partner sites where youth are not permanently enrolled or housed. Youth work side-by-side with Free Arts mentors to explore a specific style or theme in art on a semi-regular basis, without the every week commitment that is required for Weekly Mentorship. This allows individuals or groups more flexibility while also providing an opportunity to engage with their community. Learn more

Free Arts Days

These arts events occur at Big Brothers Big Sisters and our partner agencies throughout the year. Corporate or group sponsors bring in a team of volunteers and each is paired one on one with a child as an art buddy. Youth and their art buddies spend the day creating art together, sharing lunch and participating in a fun interactive arts activity. Learn more

Free Arts FAQ

Q: Does this mean BBBS is no longer offering BBBS one-to-one mentoring?
A: We are deeply committed to the one-to-one mentoring relationships we have been creating and supporting for nearly 100 years in our community.

Q: Will my role as a BBBS Big change?
A: No. Your role as a Big will not change, but you will have the opportunity to attend Free Arts Days with your Little as often as you like!

Q: As a Big, is it possible to volunteer as a Free Arts mentor as well?
A: Yes. If you are a current Big, or are waiting to be matched, please reach out to us to find out more about how you can also volunteer with our Free Arts programming. If you are in a brand-new match, we may ask you to wait a few months and get used to your new mentee and build that relationship before also volunteering with Free Arts, but we’re happy to speak about that with you further.

Q: As a Free Arts volunteer, is it possible to become a Big as well?
A: Yes, absolutely! Please speak with a staff member to learn more about the process to become a Big.

Q: As a BBBS donor, may I designate that my contributions be utilized only for Free Arts programming?
A: Yes. As a donor, you have the right to say how you would like your money to be spent and we will honor that. While a general gift is the most beneficial to the organization as it allows us to be flexible to the needs of our youth, you can also designate your gift at the time you make it. Please just make your intention clear at the time of donation. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact Becky Machamer, Senior Director of Development, at bmachamer@bigstwincities.org or 651-789-2469.

Q: As a BBBS donor, may I designate that my contributions be utilized only for BBBS programming?
A: Yes. As a donor, you have the right to say how you would like your money to be spent and we will honor that. While a general gift is the most beneficial to the organization as it allows us to be flexible to the needs of our youth, you can also designate your gift at the time you make it. Please just make your intention clear at the time of donation. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact Becky Machamer, Senior Director of Development, at bmachamer@bigstwincities.org or 651-789-2469.

Thanks to our Free Arts Partners!