A young guest of Mary’s Place uses The L.A.U.G.H. App, an innovative arts technology application proven to improve mental health outcomes

April 4, 2024 – Seattle, WA, United States

The Catherine Mayer Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with Mary’s Place to promote arts-based healing to residents of their five shelter locations throughout King County. This partnership offers all Mary’s Place guests arts-based healing through The L.A.U.G.H.® App – an evidence-based arts tool that leverages innovative technology to bring calm, focus, happiness and a sense of community to its users.

Drawing on research conducted by the University of Washington College of Education and Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute, The L.A.U.G.H. App leads users through a careful sequence of activities including breathing exercises and contour drawing. Users paint on a blank canvas and then watch an animated replay of their process before sharing the animated process communally. Demonstrated outcomes of this process include enhanced mood, decreased stress, sense of belonging, and improved focus — metrics supported by physiological data and qualitative observations.

“When families arrive at Mary’s Place, we are excited that they will have an outlet to leave their daily struggles even for just a moment – and enjoy themselves by engaging with the arts in an open and free way,.” said Catherine Mayer, an artist whose foundation has, for nearly two decades, promoted the use of art as a healing mechanism throughout the greater Seattle region and beyond. 

With activities already underway at two Mary’s Place locations, The L.A.U.G.H. App has been earning rave reviews from residents and staff alike. “Seeing their art displayed brought a smile to their faces, and they keep asking to do more!” said Caleb Akana, Youth Services Lead at Mary’s Place.

Developed by The Catherine Mayer Foundation, The L.A.U.G.H. App is available for download on Apple and Android tablets. 

About Mary’s Place:

Since 1999, Mary’s Place has helped thousands of women and families move out of homelessness into more stable situations. Across five emergency family shelters in King County, they keep families together, inside, and safe when they have no place else to go, providing resources, housing and employment services, community, and hope.

Each day, their housing team works with families to address barriers and empower parents to build family stability, secure housing, and prepare for employment. Kids are connected with schools, participate in fun and enriching activities, and go on outings and adventures in Kids Club. In the evening, families in shelter eat dinner, do homework, spend time together, and prepare for the week ahead. 

Still, capacity is limited and hundreds of families are outside each night in cars and tents. Mary’s Place mobile outreach team brings supplies and resources to unsheltered families, helping them move quickly and directly into stable housing.

About The Catherine Mayer Foundation:The Catherine Mayer Foundation was born from artist Catherine Mayer’s lifelong passion for how the arts can “help people get out of themselves”. The foundation’s vision is to help people heal, find mindfulness, and build a sense of community through art. Built upon the idea that combining art forms like drawing, music, and movement – together with breathing and other techniques – the foundation is helping youth and adults reach a state of mindfulness, focus, boost their mood and receptiveness to learning, and build a sense of community. As part of their mission, the foundation created The L.A.U.G.H.® App (“Let Art Unleash Great Happiness”), an art app which is aligned with established SEL (social and emotional learning) metrics and frameworks.

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