Moe Gram, a local artist from Denver, has turned her love for art into her life’s work. Now she’s teaching others to do the same as an instructor with Bridge to Wellbeing, leading classes around the country.

Last fall, Gram held one of her “Passion to Profit” classes at The Gathering Place, a day shelter in Denver for women struggling with poverty or homelessness.

The Gathering Place was the perfect fit for Gram’s message. In addition to providing basic needs like food, clothing and showers, the shelter helps women use their talents to provide for themselves by offering art and writing classes.

“Both the staff at The Gathering Place and myself believe creativity can generate an income, provide emotional comfort and relief, build self-esteem, develop communities and encourage collaboration,” Gram said.

At the event, Gram talked about her personal story and helped them develop their skills. “I used my passion for art to create freedoms for myself by turning my work into a profitable business that is still functioning today,” Gram told attendees. Attendees shared some of the setbacks they had faced and Gram talked about how to overcome them.

Several months after Gram taught the class, she was contacted by The Gathering Place. They asked if she would help put on an art show featuring the works of women at the shelter. “I was thrilled to make it happen,” she said.

The women put together 72 pieces of art that attendees could purchase, with most of the proceeds going to the artists. “The night of the opening I was able to speak to the women that participated in the show,” Gram said. “They each expressed their excitement for participating, their gratitude for the opportunity, and interest in continuing to make art.”

Gram said Bridge to Wellbeing and other programs like it “empower people to create freedoms for themselves. They give people access to building self-confidence, financial growth, life skills, future planning, and achieving personal definitions of success.”

Thanks to Gram, aspiring artists at The Gathering Place are well on their way to turning their passion into a profit.