The benefits of using arts in healing have been well-documented over the past decade. The arts have been shown to aid in resolving grief and loss issues, promote increased self-awareness through imaginative expression, and create an overall sense of wellness, relief, and better mental health. Art stimulates dialog and creates a safe environment for self-expression.
The creative process enables our minds to rest from our daily activities and focus on a line or a stroke of the brush. As psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi recently suggested, “When someone starts creating, his existence outside that activity becomes temporarily suspended.” That suspension, is healing and rejuvenating to our bodies and minds.
In February of 2012, Sawtooth School for Visual Art offered its first class in the Wellness Through the Arts program. Developed by photography coordinator Amanda Sullivan, MAEd, the intention of the class was to express deeply personal and complex feelings through photography. This first class was such a success that the program has continued on and broadened into different art forms, attracting students of all ages, skills, talents, and across all demographics.
In addition to classes for the public, Sawtooth received a grant from the Greer Foundation in 2014 to provided programming focused on cancer patients and their caregivers. You can read about our programs in the news articles below.
We first heard Tracy Riazzi’s story in a Silk Scarf Dyeing workshop at Sawtooth School as a part of our Healing and Wellness Through the Arts program. Tracy participates in a GYN Cancer Support Group at Cancer Services, Inc and it is through our partnership with Cancer Services, Inc. that we had the chance to meet Tracy and learn about her journey. Her story is incredibly powerful and her tenacity inspiring. We hope to give voice to many others as we continue our work with cancer patients, their families and their caregivers.