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Encouraged in my travels, I've seen, in several countries, that a sketchbook can communicate even beyond language. Soon, you may have a half dozen people from all over the world and they are bound together by this strange language of the love of drawing and painting – and maybe sampling a few things at the local pub!

I've been allowed into a refugee settlement in Berlin and in a spot in the U.S., and have made some wonderful friends – and hopefully left a few people feeling the same way.

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The Art Academy was launched in 2013 and won a national award in 2014.

Art Academy students at the High Museum in Atlanta

Art Academy students at the High Museum in Atlanta

Working in clay

A mosaic work by a student

A mosaic work by a student

A project that is near to my heart: helping bring the visual arts into public housing for at-risk kids. It's inspiring to see these kids take off through all kinds of art classes.