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The Commons
The Arts

Discussion series focuses on healing with art

First program assembles expressive art therapists for roundtable

The Arts Council of Windham County is seeking to develop a list of current expressive-arts therapists for the Council’s directory, and would like to hear from those working in the field of healing or social services and artists seeking to extend their craft to the field of healing. For questions about the event, contact Shanta Lee Gander at or call 802-275-8152.

Originally published in The Commons issue #395 (Wednesday, February 15, 2017). This story appeared on page B2.

BRATTLEBORO—What is art’s role in the healing process? How exactly does art heal, and what makes art therapy effective?

The Arts Council of Windham County will seek answers to these questions at a panel discussion with expressive arts therapists from the community on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m., at 118 Elliot Street.

This is the first program in a series exploring the connections between art and healing that the Arts Council of Windham County is developing in partnership with the Vermont Arts Council. Future forums will focus on connections between art and spirituality, art and community, and art and the environment.

Participating panelists will include music therapist Ayla Clark, visual art therapist Susan Rosano, and dance and performance artist Biz Hallett. The program will be introduced and moderated by Zon Eastes, Outreach and Advancement staff at the Vermont Arts Council, and Arts Council of Windham County president Shanta Lee Gander.

Given our current national climate, Hallett said in a news release, exploring the dimensions of healing and the bridge that art can provide is of key importance.

“This is the beginning of a conversation,” Hallett said, “and it is a conversation we should have been having for a long time.”

“My hope is that attendees will learn what expressive arts professionals do for individuals and groups of people who have illnesses but are not encouraged to express how they feel about being sick,” Rosano said. “If people are not encouraged to express themselves emotionally, spiritually. or psychologically during illness, they don’t take part in their healing process as well as they would if they did.”

Clark says that the American Music Therapy Association “has over 50 years of practice and research in music therapy I am hoping, during this forum and the Healing with Art series, we can show how music and arts touch each person in many different ways, and how it can be used as a healing tool.”

During this event, panelists will introduce themselves, describe their work and the special skills and training that are necessary to be effective, and discuss how the use of various art modalities in therapeutic settings works with a variety of populations. They will also describe how their professions complement the work of doctors and hospitals.

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