Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Jennifer Howell landed in Los Angeles shortly after graduating Emerson College with a B.S. in Mass Communications/Film Focus. It was Jennifer’s love for film making that brought her to Hollywood but it was her deeper love for children that led her to her mission: The Art Of Elysium.
In the middle of December 1996, Jennifer’s close friend, Stephen Hatten, was in the midst of one his worst bouts with the Leukemia he’d been diagnosed with years earlier. Stephen shared with Jennifer the story of a young boy he had recently met at a treatment center. A young boy who was by himself for the majority of his time spent there, on his own because both of his parents had jobs that they could not abandon.
Although one could interpret Stephen’s story as well, just a story, Jennifer heard his message loud and clear. And the message Jennifer heard was this: No child should ever be alone during treatment.
And so it was. Jennifer started by gathering some friends, getting clearance from the children’s hospital and bringing her world into their world. With her Southern lilt and a spirit that was and is boundless, Jennifer and her friends brought the kids a respite from their reality, a little bit of laughter and a smile that found its form more quickly each time.
Jennifer’s friend Stephen passed away in 1998, but his story turned message turned mission has caught on. Along with her team, Jennifer’s The Art of Elysium continues to bring singers, artists, actors and writers into children’s hospitals and pediatric care facilities where they bring their talents, and of course their hearts, to the kids. What was once Jennifer and a few friends is now a community of people who share the idea that no child should go through medical treatment alone.