Expressive Arts Refuge

Choral director Betsy Blakeslee spearheaded Expressive Arts Refuge, a team that uplifts the lives of youth in conflict zones. 

Expressive Arts Refuge ran a music program at Calais Jungle refugee camp, France for 8 weeks in July and Aug, 2016. EAR organized 3 concerts showcasing refugee youth and adults on makeshift stages, performing with EAR musicians from the US and Belgium. EAR assisted with the production of a play titled To Be or Not, written and acted by refugees. The play toured France to national acclaim.

EAR partners with non-profits in refugee camps and conflict zones. We've spent gofundme donations on sleeping bags, medical supplies, undergarments, shoes, a simple sound system, and phone credit. We directly deliver items and enrichment classes to refugees. The EAR team self-funds its travel and accommodations.  Rather than start a new gofundme for each year's summer program, we add to the existing account.

In July 2017, we collaborated with Caritas on an inter-cultural music program  for homeless refugees in Calais. In August, we partnered with Hope School -- a refugee-led initiative that educates 350 refugee children. We ran a music and English program at Skaramagas Refugee Camp in Athens, Greece. Most Skaramagas residents fled war in Syria and Iraq. Refugee youth expressed themselves, shared their music, performed and enjoyed a respite from their travails.

In August 2019, EAR will partner with Jerusalem Youth Chorus to direct a music summer camp for Palestinian and Israeli Jewish teens in Jerusalem. We're raising funds to pay their staff to translate, facilitate dialogue, and administrate. Funds will also pay a promising young Palestinian conducting fellow to join the teaching team and guide us in cross-cultural awareness.

Our all-volunteer team has included singer/songwriter Moira Smiley;  World Harmony Chorus director Betsy Blakeslee,   Arabic singer/translator Tawfic Halaby,
educator/author/summer camp director Judy Kranzler and her assistant Andy Wyrobek, and Tami Halaby -- sister to everyone she meets. 

EAR director Betsy Blakeslee developed and ran programs in music and art to enrich the lives of youth in wartime Bosnia during the 1990s. The EAR team adapts its program each summer to the people who attend our classes.

We're excited to include you in our growing community of supporters for the work we do with youth in conflict zones. Any size donation is greatly appreciated and will positively impact people who be uplifted by music. Follow our blog:

Thank you!

Donations (0)

  • Karen Burt-Imira 
    • $190 
    • 3 mos
  • Peggy Berger 
    • $36 
    • 4 mos
  • Marie Speranza 
    • $50 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $140 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $250 
    • 4 mos


Betsy Blakeslee 
Orinda, CA
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