Family Heirloom Arts is a full service company dedicated to helping individuals and families celebrate their life stories through the creation of illustrated heirloom books and custom art. The genesis for the company emerged as a result of Lisa’s first illustrated Family Heirloom Art book, which she wrote and illustrated as a college student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Her book, The Journey of Henry Kagan, was created as a way to honor her grandfather's immigration story. Henry Kagan fled Russia due to religious persecution and journeyed to the United States as a young child. This story is profiled in My Words Are Gonna Linger, The Art of Personal History, an anthology published by the Association of Personal Historians in 2009. Discovering this incredible tale of survival and perseverance, Lisa recognized the importance of learning where you come from and honoring your ancestors by preserving their stories for future generations. She only wished that she had a chance to talk with her grandfather about his experiences before he had passed away.
From this point forward, Lisa began pursuing her passion for personal history by helping others share their life stories through art and writing. Since 2001, she has been teaching and managing creative arts programs at domestic violence shelters, schools, and community non-profits in Portland, Oregon. Through this work, Lisa recognized that giving people an opportunity to tell their stories has the power to transform their lives. They are better able to understand their past, gain confidence in their ability to address their present circumstances, and begin to envision their future. Motivated by the realization that participants of all ages and from different walks of life found strength and inspiration in the process, Lisa launched Family Heirloom Arts in 2006.
Family Heirloom Arts is a division of Lisa Kagan Designs, which encompasses Lisa’s visual art, creative writing, and specialized design services. She is currently the co-chair of the Portland Chapter of the Association of Personal Historians; a professional association dedicated to helping people preserve their life stories. Lisa teaches Family Heirloom Arts workshops and classes at locations throughout the Portland community including Multnomah County Libraries, OASIS Education Center, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland Community College, Mittleman Jewish Community Center, Portland Jewish Academy and a variety of school and community programs. Lisa offers custom workshops for families and special groups at the Lisa Kagan Designs Studio. Lisa just released her first book, Emergence, a collection of poetry and art inspired by her own life stories. Lisa brings her passion for personal storytelling, her vibrant palette, and her poetic inspiration to clients, students and the community at large.
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