Step Up On Second

[caption id="attachment_1997" align="alignnone" width="577"]Step Up on Second President and CEO Tod Lipka, left, with artists at his organization’s annual Art Heals event. [/caption]

Step Up on Second in Santa Monica is a rare institution, working with people in the community who suffer from a variety of mental illnesses. Step Up’s uniqueness lies in its magnanimous approach, providing counseling, support, friendship, homes, and especially involvement in the arts.

President and CEO Tod Lipka has launched two new housing
projects, scheduled to open in 2009 that will, as he explains, “provide 54 units of permanent supportive housing for individuals struggling with mental illness.”

“Step Up has also launched a new outreach project to assist the chronically homeless who live in the parks of Beverly Hills to connect them with services and, ultimately, housing,” he adds.

Step Up held its annual Art Heals event at a Santa Monica art studio in September, featuring the artwork of 300 members. “People who displayed and sold their work had the opportunity to be featured as fabulous artists,” Lipka explains.

For Ramon Homer Lucindo, an artist participating in Art Heals, the event was a chance for his ideas to be displayed to the world. “I’ve had my work called primitivism, abstract-expressionism and surrealism, with comparisons with Basquiat, Klein, Calder and, recently, Matta,” he says. “The Art Heals show is the only venue where my art is shown.”