Art HOPE is celebrating 10 years of free expressive arts programs and creative wellness education in Maine. I am grateful for the all the creative gifts shared through this work that have enriched our community and my teaching process, and would like to thank all our program supporters, participants, collaborators and volunteers. Art-making, art-taking and art-giving – these are the experiences that illuminate who we are, what we love, and the most important things in life.
In this season of giving thanks and abundance, I’d like to share a collage made by Kay, an oncology patient I worked with in a one-to-one expressive arts session at the cancer center. It was a glorious late fall day and we talked about the creative things she loved to do, sewing and making pies for her family at Thanksgiving. The bright colored foliage and quiet moments on chilly afternoons by the wood stove were her inspiration for this artwork. Our hearts and hands worked together. She cut the text from a magazine and chose the colors from my watercolor palette for the tree, which Kay said represented her love of Maine and having a sense of place. I painted the paper and cut it into the organic shapes, and together we arranged and glued them to create Kay’s “Memory of a Fall Day”. Art HOPE tells healing stories and inspires creativity to sparkle in moments like this, year after year.
As our non-profit organization embarks on our next 10 years, we are grateful to have established strong program models and institutional collaborations that will inform the development of our free creative wellness resources and expressive arts curriculums on our website, www.arthope.org, and expand our community at a national level. The expressive arts are important in our schools because they introduce youth to healthcare and engage their empathy awareness through the lens of creativity. The expressive arts are important in our healthcare because they provide wellness support and creative enrichment tools for healing, and are essential for individuals living with a cancer diagnosis because the process offers a medium for stress reduction, personal reflection, and peer group programs. The expressive arts are important in our community because they bring us together for collective creativity that connects us to ourselves and others, and opens us to learning and new ways of experiencing the world.
Help Art HOPE continue to offer healing opportunities for people everyday and please consider a tax-deductible donation to support our free programs and services that are making positive impacts and promoting creative wellness in our community. There is donation information on our website, and every gift is greatly appreciated. We will need more art and hope in the coming decade, so help us root, grow, and spread our limbs to provide colorful shade and fruit, like the tree in Kay’s collage.
Blessings for the Season and all good things in 2017.