My name is Jen Kulik and I'm the Founder and CEO of SilverKite Community Arts. I started SilverKite in order to help communities and individuals experience how the arts can help people connect, understand each other, heal, and inspire growth.
I grew up in Iowa, in a family that ate dinner together every night, and went to church services every Sunday.
In many ways it was an idyllic childhood, with lots of laughter, card games, and fun.
During the summer I turned 11, however, everything changed. During that summer I was diagnosed with alopecia universalis - and I lost most of the hair on my head.
Starting a new school that fall was really difficult for me. I endured daily bouts of bullying - laughter, name calling, being tripped, etc. - which left me sad and exhausted, feeling like I didn't have a friend in the world.
The bullying lasted for the majority of the next seven years. As I and my classmates grew older the taunting lessened, but there were still whispers, questions, and laughter.
Years after I emerged from this difficult period in my life, I began to reflect on how I was able to get through it... Somehow, despite the constant bullying, I was able to rebuild my self-confidence, do well in school, build a strong group of friends, and avoid falling into unhealthy relationships with food, alcohol, or drugs.
What I discovered surprised me. My participation in drama classes and performances at our local community theatre, the Des Moines Playhouse, seemed to be the medicine I needed to rebuild my emotional health.
Being involved in drama classes allowed me to feel heard, build unique friendships, gain self-confidence through performance, and foster empathy for myself and for others through character studies, collaboration, play, and storytelling.
After realizing how the arts both helped and healed me, I decided to dedicate my life to developing new ways to use the arts to help others.
What resulted from many years of schooling, exploration, and experimentation is SilverKite Community Arts, LLC.
SilverKite is a unique company which offers arts programs for older adults, dementia friendly arts programs, and intergenerational arts experiences open to the public. We also support communities develop their own arts-based community engaged programs through professional development and consulting.
SilverKite's innovative heart-warming style invites participants (back) into participating in the arts by encouraging creative play and laughter to encourage relationship building. Our programs, resources, and consulting practice strive to strengthen communities, eliminating loneliness, one connection at a time.
We create arts that change lives. Join us, and soar with SilverKite!
Founder and CEO
SilverKite Community Arts