Our Story

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
Thomas Merton

Karen Silton has been a professional ceramist, fine art mosaicist and educator for over thirty years. She has a BA degree in Sociology from UCLA and is a doctoral candidate in the Depth Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, CLIE Program (community, liberation, indigenous, eco psychologies) in Carpinteria, CA. She has received numerous private and public commissions and her artwork is in collections worldwide.

In 2018 she established Communities Create to work collaboratively with Los Angeles community-based non-profit health and social service agencies and organizations to improve well-being by providing high quality "art making in community" programs for individuals experiencing homelessness.

As a trauma-informed community psychologist and professional artist, Karen works with partner health organizations and agencies to provide "Arts for Well-Being Workshops". These organizations understand the need for creative activities using a holistic approach that serves their clients. They also understand the added benefit of working with a trained professional to provide this arts component as an integral part of the programs and services.

The founding of Communities Create came after years of artmaking in marginalized communities and concentrated study in the importance of creativity as a catalyst to create change in ones own life and in communities.

Survey of Women Experiencing Homelessness
according to the Los Angeles County Women’s Needs Assessment

Homelessness among women is a complex issue that is often overlooked and poorly understood in broader policy discussions about homelessness. With more than 14,000 unaccompanied women experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County—75 percent of whom are unsheltered, per the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count—women face distinct and multifaceted challenges that demand urgent attention.

On any given night in 2022, there were more than 14,000 women experiencing homelessness as individuals—meaning they were seeking services without partners or children—in the Los Angeles City and County Continuum of Care.

Across the United States, homelessness has increased since 2016, driven by a 19 percent increase from 2016 to 2022 among people experiencing homelessness as individuals—more than half of whom lived in unsheltered situations in 2022 (de Sousa et al. 2022). Between 2015 and 2019, the share of the population of individuals enduring unsheltered homelessness across the United States who identified as women or transgender individuals increased by 3 percentage points, from 26 percent of unsheltered individuals.

Communities Create “Arts for Well-Being” Workshops serves individuals experiencing homelessness. According to The Health Evidence Network Synthesis Report 67 (© World Health Organization 2019) arts activities can improve health and well-being.


  • Arts activities can provide opportunities for emotional expression, emotion regulation and stress reduction as well as opportunities for learning and skills development.
  • Social interaction while participating in the arts can reduce loneliness and lack of social support.
  • Physical activity while participating in the arts can reduce sedentary behaviors associated with chronic pain, depression, and dementia.