Art Therapy Provider Opens Studio in Warren

WARREN, Ohio – The Helms Foundation, which provides art therapy and counseling, has opened a studio in Warren at 153 Pine Ave. NE.

Terri DiGennaro, founder of Helms, said it’s the first art therapy in the Mahoning Valley. It is in space donated by Warren attorney Daniel Thomas.

The Helms foundation offers professional and certified art therapists and counselors, as well as art supplies.

It works with many local agencies, including the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board, with which it is affiliated; the Juvenile Justice Center; Potential Development; Rayen Early College; the YWCA; All Children Learn Differently school; Yellow Brick Place; and other groups and agencies.

Art therapy can help people who are struggling with their mental health, allowing them to get past layers of emotional trauma and find healing, according to DiGennaro.

“Not everybody reacts well to [traditional] therapy,” she said in an October interview. “The mind may have layers of trauma, neglect, anxiety, abuse. Just like music therapy, art therapy touches a certain part of the brain, and it brings out emotions. It’s a nonverbal form of communication, and it can be adjusted to any disability or treatment plan. [It allows] the therapist to build upon his treatment goals.”

The foundation’s headquarters is in the DeBartolo Building on Market Street in Boardman.

The Helms Foundation takes its name from the letters that DiGennaro’s late son, Ryan Giambattista, used to tag his public artwork.

Giambattista died in 2015 at age 23 after falling from a roof while working on an art project.

“We never knew what Helms stood for,” DiGennaro said. “We made it into an acronym that means Heal, Express and Learn through different Media and Styles.”

Pictured at top: Terri DiGennaro, founder of the HELMS Foundation.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.