The Live, Love, Paint Foundation uses art to empower Hampton’s youth


Morgan Stanislaus and Jasmin Allen

Ms. Chanda Epps, CEO of The Live, Love, Paint Foundation (Nyla Winston)

When the pandemic left us isolated at home, the Live, Love, Paint Foundation stepped up. Initially, this non-profit had hosted art workshops at local schools, but during the pandemic, the foundation also began providing children across Hampton with free art kits. For young children lacking other forms of interaction, the art kits were an outlet for expression, a unique and fun way to learn about and engage in art. Since then, the foundation has continued to expand, committed to its goal of “reach[ing] as many youths as possible through art with compassion and positive energy.”

Sample art from students with the Live, Love, Paint foundation. (Nyla Winston)

The founder and CEO of the Live, Love, Paint Foundation, is Ms. Chanda J. Epps. She wears many hats; she is not only an accomplished painter,  but also a business owner and employee of Hampton City Public Schools. From a young age, Ms. Epps gravitated towards art. In her view, art is an essential tool to help us maintain positivity. She shared, “I didn’t have words for what I was experiencing as a child, but I know I felt…anxious and just different things;  growing up you just, you feel everything.”  Through art, Ms. Epps learned how to cope and thrive. 

Paint kit from The Live, Love, Paint Foundation (Nyla Winston)

Through the Live, Love, Paint Foundation, Ms. Epps endeavors to help art reach other children who might be like herself. According to Ms. Epps, “I just share that process with the youth that I’m able to be around, so that they can see that you don’t have to take a class. She added, “It [art] doesn’t have to be this technical thing…you can just explore art because art can be anything, drawings, paintings, or something that is just an expression of different colors.” Everytime Ms. Epps speaks about her charges, her eyes light up, and it is obvious she genuinely enjoys being able to help youth express themselves.

The Live, Love, Paint Foundation did not, however, just materialize overnight. It was the culmination of years of encouragement and support. According to Ms. Epps, she was basically “volun-told” by a friend to start the non-profit. She shared, “I started doing art sessions at a community and art center, where I provided activities [for the kids].” Kids loved these sessions so much, Ms. Epps eventually conceded her friends were right, and in 2018, the Live, Love, Paint Foundation was born.

Ms. Epps stated, “I wanted this foundation to be all about living life to the fullest, loving what you do, and painting.” And Ms. Epps certainly has accomplished this. The foundation’s workshops and art kits have helped countless kids across Hampton Roads. With the foundation’s support, kids have produced intricate doodles with depth, value, and positive messages.  In a recent foundation contest, elementary and middle-school students from across the world submitted t-shirt designs. Both winning designs are creative, and visually arresting.  It’s evident kids enjoy and are empowered by the foundation’s activities, having fun as they unplug from daily stresses.

Winning t-shirt design for contest held by The Live, Love, Paint Foundation (Provided by The Live, Love, Paint Foundation)

When reflecting on her experiences as the CEO of the foundation, Ms. Epps had only one regret: that she did not create the foundation sooner. She admitted, “I was intimidated by the paperwork… I probably should’ve started it in 2015 when I thought of it.” Before creating the Live, Love, Paint Foundation, Ms. Epps paid for and created all of the supplies for her art sessions herself. Since the establishment of the foundation, generous donations have allowed Ms. Epp’s work to reach even more kids across the community. To anyone with a dream, Ms, Epps advises “take that leap of faith” and “seize that opportunity.” 

Within the next few years, Ms. Epps hopes to open a physical space in Hampton so the foundation can assist even more children. Interested in getting involved and helping other youth across Hampton Roads? Or in trying out a kit for yourself? Even as a student, there is so much you can do to support the Live, Love, Paint Foundation. Just visit the foundation website to sign up to volunteer, donate, or request a kit.

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