Shelly Losee and A=RT
Shelly Losee uses acrylic paints for illuminating the ecstatic poetry of masters like Hafiz of Shirazi, Jelaluddin Rumi, and Lalla Ded. Shelly also holds a master’s degree in social work and has worked in the field of social services for nearly two decades in the areas of child protection, children’s mental health, and family chemical dependency treatment court. After visiting clients in numerous detox centers, treatment centers and shelters it became a dream of hers to one day transform the buildings into beautiful, nurturing spaces for people to feel safe and heal; where value, respect and inspiration are reflected throughout the centers through the use of original artwork. She then founded the non-profit organization, Art Equals Real Transformation or A=RT.
Shelly Losee’s original inspiration for founding A=RT came in 2014 after touring the newly built Ramsey County Detox Center in St. Paul, MN. They recognized that the detox staff had a strong commitment to create a welcoming environment for their patients while at the same time lacking a budget to decorate the blank walls.
A partnership developed almost immediately with a desire to build a connection between local artists and the detox center. Shelly embarked on a journey of research to discover what types of art and images have the most healing impact on patients. After reading research articles, touring facilities (such as the famous Mayo Clinic’s art program), and holding focus groups with patients and staff at the detox center, they began an ambitious fundraising campaign to fund the transformation of the detox center.