Welcome to ArtEsteem

A Program of Attitudinal Healing Connection


ArtEsteem is Attitudinal Healing Connection’s award-winning art and literacy program that develops creative, engaged and successful children and youth through building knowledge and emotional, social, academic and intellectual skills.

Founded in 1995, ArtEsteem engages students and supports their positive development – body, mind, and heart. Participants discover how to self reflect and dream, as well as focus on their tasks and “follow through” by completing their art projects. Our methods guide students to think practically about the world and their abilities to manifest positive and creative outcomes. Classes also build students’ language and math literacy, aesthetic appreciation, and listening, critical thinking and performance skills. Our students learn – through dialogue, reading, and writing – conceptual understandings of social, historical, and cultural topics to engage and inform their minds, and develop the whole child, in expansive ways.

Learn more about ArtEsteem

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Social Justice

We Don’t Do Art Just For Art’s Sake

ArtEsteem students are propelled to see themselves differently-- internally, personally, as well as in relation to the issues in their communities and of the world, and they are encouraged to view themselves as active change agents. Participants can become more able to self manage, make positive choices, and exercise awareness and kindness with self and others. ArtEsteem invites participants to feel powerful in helpful, beautiful, and productive ways instead of feeling and acting worthless, powerless, or out of control.


During and after-school Visual Art, Cultural Arts (rhythm and sound), and Fashion Design classes combine Attitudinal Healing concepts, art instruction, and classroom-management tools in an art integrated curriculum linked to Common Core. AHC also provides Family Art Nights for families to create and be imaginative together, cultivating relationships with each other and themselves.

Visual Art

The Visual Arts class provides a multi-disciplinary curriculum that takes children and youth through a journey of self-exploration, critical thinking, family and cultural research, societal assessment, and the use of aesthetic tools for skill development and artistic creation. Students learn, but are not limited to, basic drawing, printmaking, and painting techniques. We also can offer a variety of visual arts disciplines, such as digital media, architecture, graphic design, etc.

Cultural Art (rhythm and sound)

The Cultural Arts class provides students with cognitive learning opportunities through drumming in a cultural and language rich environment. The curriculum incorporates phonics, the twin concepts of rhythm and sound, and cultural codes of conduct from various parts of Africa and other parts of the world. This class allows students to learn the connections between, math, science, language and rhythm and sound in a hands-on and innovative way.

Fashion Design

The Fashion Design Class is based on the investigation of self through an exploration of respect, confidence, performance and industry. The class is a study of fashion design and textile design. Students explore the historical and cultural influences in fashion and learn basic hand stitching, fabric-dyeing methods, textile design, and how to use a sewing machine.

Family Art Nights

ArtEsteem Family Art Nights support community building through the implementation of arts integrated curriculum. There is a strong emphasis on language arts, expression, social justice and violence prevention. Language arts is integrated in the form of dialogue and writing. Families understand that Visual and Language Arts are tools for the expression of ideas, narration, imagination, and perspective. Families collectively produce a final art piece with a written description or story of their art piece.

Self As Super Hero Curriculum

The “Self As Super Hero” Curriculum takes children, youth, and adults through a journey of self exploration, family and cultural research, societal assessment, and development of aesthetic tools for artistic creation. First, a school and/or teacher is identified and then art instructors work hand in hand with school teachers to implement the curriculum. They take the students through a journey, using the ArtEsteem Super Hero to re-define the self that embodies super powers that help create a more loving and peaceful world. Once children collaboratively develop their own super heroes, they use these stories to conceptually design a mural as part of the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project. The Self As Super Hero Curriculum can be found in the "Self As Super Hero Book: Handbook for Creating the Life Size Self Portrait" which is available for purchase here.

Click here to visit the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project website and learn more!

Super Hero Images and Stories

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Crossing the Bridge

Ricoya Cathey, KIPP Bridge College Preparatory

The artwork that I did is about a 13 year old girl who tries to stop all the evil that happens. One type of evil she tries to stop is racism. Whenever she sees or feels that someone is being racist she comes and touches them and sooner or later they feel like they've been treated racially too. They will feel what they make others feel. I divided my painting into a light side and a dark side represented by the sun and moon. The dark side represents the bad; the light side represents the good. This shows the way we should and shouldn't act.

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DeMarcello Funes, Lowell Middle School

My painting consists of 3 things: Knowledge, Hope and Wisdom. I thought about this painting because I’m a twin, so the two characters in this painting are twins and the snake is their guide. Each character has a magic stone, this magic stone helps people remember their problems and figure out ways to help each other. The snake is wisdom, the boy is knowledge and the girl is hope, that’s why I call my painting 3D.

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Paris from Unicornia

Malissa Aguilar, Erica Luong, Leilani Sears, and Isane Smith

Westlake Middle School, 7th Grade

Paris is a 103 year-old Unicornian who takes the form of a 17 year-old human girl, from a far-away planet called Unicornia. She decides to move to Earth because of the danger and poverty that exists on her home planet. She has a magic tattoo made from “secret and rare Unicornian ink” and brings with her a musical instrument, called the “saxalin, a saxophone mixed with a violin”, created from a meteor and intertwined with her soul. She finds herself in Oakland where she is adopted as a baby by loving parents. As a toddler she realizes that Oakland is in no better condition than Unicornia and begins to plan how to love and help her community. Once older, “Paris stops aging” and with her “magic powers matured,” she decides to put her plan into action. At the wave of her arm with the magic tattoo, she commands all the animals in the Bay Area to help clean polluted water and harmful radiation in the Oakland community. (The magic Unicornian ink enables the animals to ingest the pollution without injury, “making it disappear”). Paris also recognized other problems around her such as drug abuse, and so played her magic saxalin, which would remove all destructive and addictive thoughts from the listener’s mind.

Student & Teacher Quotes

Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project

The Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project is a public art project that stems from ArtEsteem’s Visual Art Classes. Once students have created their Super Heroes in the classroom setting, they get the opportunity to go through the legal approval process with Caltrans and the City of Oakland and then work with local artists to see their artwork and visions for the future come to life. Click here to visit the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project website and learn more!

Professional Development

ArtEsteem Art Instructors provide professional development consulting and hands-on training for educators in art curricula –and also in support of academic subjects (e.g. science and social studies) – to help teachers develop visually engaging and hands-on methods that improve student involvement, comprehension, and critical thinking.

ArtEsteem develops customized workshops, learning plans, consulting services, and instructional materials to fit a school’s specific arts-education needs. Our experienced visual and performing artists can work alongside teachers in their classrooms to provide on-the-job training and facilitated practice during real class lessons.

ArtEsteem trainings and collaborations provide hands-on opportunities for educators to gain significant professional knowledge in areas like:

  • How to implement visual and performing arts curriculum through understanding tools, supplies, mediums, techniques, and methods
  • How to integrate visual and performing arts curriculum with academic content areas such as language arts, social studies, math, and/or science
  • How to integrate Common Core into classroom curriculum
  • How to use the Principles of Attitudinal Healing as tools for classroom management and self development


AHC captures the impact of our work with youth, parents, teachers and artists through surveys, evaluations, exhibitions and storytelling

  • 92% of our student participants said that the Fashion Design class helped them stay out of trouble.
  • 91% of student participants said they felt peaceful when in the ArtEsteem Drumming class.
  • 86% of teachers who participated in ArtEsteem’s Professional Development said they see the value of arts integration.
  • 92% of teacher participants said they learned new methods for integrating the arts with their core content curriculum.

Here's what people have to say about AHC's ArtEsteem Program:


Since 1995 ArtEsteem has:

  • Served over 67 schools and community centers
  • Provided during and after-school visual and performing art classes/assemblies to over 50,000 children and youth in the East Bay
  • Provided arts integration training to over 730 teachers
  • Hosted 37 family art nights
  • Produced 16 annual exhibitions showcasing children and youth art and performances




Amana Harris

ArtEsteem Founder and Director

Amana Harris is a leader in the field of community arts and a well respected advocate for the arts in k-12 education. Amana serves as the Associate Director of the Attitudinal Healing Connection, Inc. (AHC), a West Oakland based organization whose mission is to empower individuals to be self-aware and inspired through arts, creativity, and education, making positive choices to break the cycle of violence for themselves and their communities. Amana has a BFA in Drawing from California College of Arts and Crafts and a Masters in Teaching from the University of San Francisco. She is a professor at the California College of the Arts and engages her students in understanding the impact of historical and current injustices on our educational systems and how the arts can play a critical role in educating, liberating and inspiring children and youth.

Our Team

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Art Instructors

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Contact Us

Attitudinal Healing Connection, Inc.

Send us a message if you are interested in bringing ArtEsteem to your class!

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