About Us

Color Outside the Lines was created in summer 2012 and began providing free art therapy services to foster children in the fall. The concept of COLO was created in collaboration between founder Anna Barlow and the Department of Human Services foster care program.

Vision: “Creative self-expression is imperative to the development of a growing child. Color Outside the Lines believes that creative programs are vital to the development health of children now and in the future. The team of people behind ‘COLO’ is devoted to creating a program that gives more meaning and color to the lives of hundreds of foster and underprivileged children, their families, and their community.”

Over 1,200 foster children currently live in the Portland metro area. None of these kids have regular access to extracurricular activities. Color Outside the Lines aims to offer foster children an integrative experience with trained art therapists and caring mentors, in a nurturing and inspiring environment. COLO works with the Department of Human Services foster care program (DHS) to connect with foster children and families.

Beyond working exclusively with children, we also host fun events with foster children and their birth families. This time is focused on giving the families a safe and fun space to creatively play and work together, while healing and bonding after potentially traumatic times in the past. This is a great time for parents to reconnect with their children and create positive memories.

Color Outside the Lines is funded through grants and donations made through our fiscal sponsor, the Charitable Partnership Fund (http://cpfgives.org). We are led by a staff that includes a Creative Director, Development Director, three trained art therapists, and a six person Board of Directors. We also have a wonderful team of volunteers from the Portland community and the assistance of the Family Time Coordinators with the Department of Family Services. The COLO team is devoted to creating programming that gives more meaning and color to the lives of hundreds of children in the Portland metro area.

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