Art & Healing
COMMUNITY HEALING DURING TRYING TIMES
The need for arts education has changed during the pandemic. High anxiety about physical and mental health, finances, and job security are on the minds of many at present. With this in mind, we have suspended our regular class offerings. Instead, over the winter session, we have decided to do our part and design virtual art & healing workshops. This type of programming is very familiar to us through our grant funded partnership programs for vulnerable populations. Many of us feel vulnerabilities at present, thus we are here to offer our resources and experience to cultivate meditative and healing approaches in creativity for all ages, all abilities, and all walks of life.
In 2014 we partnered with Touchstone Mental Health, a nonprofit with a new facility and offices newly located in Seward. Touchstone works with people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, and borderline personality disorder who live in the community, providing one-on-one rehabilitation skills and community support. Their interest in the healing power of the arts beautifully lined up with our interests for partnership programs, and we agreed to do classes with their population in our studio space. Subsequent to this partnership arrangement, Touchstone’s funder, the Michelson Foundation, stopped by Articulture as part of a site visit. Impressed with our commitment to people with mental illness, Michelson generously gifted Articulture directly with $10,000 for general operation via their sub-foundation, Aroha Philanthropies. See the work here. In 2017, Aroha Philanthropies renewed their support for our partnership program with Touchstone Mental Health.
During 2012/2013 People Incorporated, an organization offering services to adults with mental illness, partnered with us to receive an Arts Access grant from the MN State Arts Board. This pilot, Artability, project offered arts instruction in our studio classrooms specifically for their client population.
Class curriculum was intentionally designed to create an atmosphere of trust and nurturing. This enabled participants to not only learn new skills and artistic techniques, but to also see the creative process as a tool for healing, meditation, and positive self expression.
The results of this project were striking. Participating students felt empowered by this communal experience and have resulted in ongoing positive change in self-worth for some individuals.
In 2010 and 2011 Articulture and Wayside House, a treatment center devoted exclusively to gender-specific needs of low-income women, partnered to show their in-house clients how the arts can enhance their recuperative behaviors. The two organizations were awarded $20,000 by the State Arts Board to enable a full year of arts programming. This project used visual arts, poetry and journaling as a tool for personal discovery, reflection and healing.