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Healing Through the Arts

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THIS GLASS MOSAIC WINDOW was created by participants in a special "Healing Through the Arts Day" event at the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center on Nov. 13. The design incorporates the Crisis Center's logo, and was created with the help of Lake Park glass artist Becky Mitchell.5 / 5

Healing from the effects of domestic abuse involves both physical and emotional recovery, says Leona Ulrich of the Lakes Crisis & Resource Center in Detroit Lakes.

"A big part of domestic violence survival is the healing aspect -- healing from the abuse and moving forward in a more positive direction," she added.

"The arts is one way to channel some of those emotions and feelings creatively, rather than using them in more destructive ways."

It was this perspective that led the LCRC to seek out a partnership with the Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, and the Historic Holmes Theatre, in developing a new program called "Healing Through the Arts."

The LCRC and DLCCC then obtained a Partners in Arts Participation grant to develop the program, which included funding from the Legacy amendment.

The program was officially launched last fall, by planning an event for LCRC clients that involved presentations on how various art forms could be used for self-expression.

Healing Through the Arts Day was held on Nov. 13, 2011, and featured presentations from local children's book author Kim Bettcher (journaling and short story writing); artists Carmen McCullough (mixed media collage) and Becky Mitchell (glass mosaics); and Diane McCormack of the "Drums Alive" program.

Mitchell worked with participants on creating a large glass mosaic incorporating the LCRC logo -- a piece of permanent art that will soon be on display at the Crisis Center's offices in Detroit Lakes.

"We wanted to bring out those that need a little healing and therapeutic activity," said Mitchell.

"To help those who maybe haven't found a way to get past the deeper stuff, the more long-term effects (of abuse)," Ulrich added.

"The arts are a very personal way to process those thoughts and feelings, and to express them."

"The Lakes Crisis & Resource Center does a lot for our community and I wanted to support that," said McCullough of her reasons for participating in the event.

"I create mixed media artwork as a hobby so I bring in my collage stash for my 'Creative Collage' workshops.

"Participants can choose from all sorts of images, papers, ephemera, ribbons and found objects to create a piece of artwork that inspires them," she added.

"I really enjoyed my time at the workshop. It was a talented group and I was very impressed with the artwork they created."

"Part of what I like as an artist, and a teacher of the arts, is that in almost every situation, I end up learning so much more than I expected," Mitchell said.

"We would like to see this be an annual event, and maybe expand it to perhaps incorporate more of the community, not just residents of the (Mary's Place) shelter and Crisis Center clients," Ulrich said.

The grant was also used to purchase some season tickets to the Holmes Theatre for LCRC clients to attend various theater events throughout the year.

"The grant is allowing us to invite LCRC clients to attend our arts events, free of charge," said Mitchell, who is also the arts outreach and event coordinator for the DLCCC and Holmes Theatre.

"It also enabled us to purchase about $2,600 in art supplies for all LCRC clients to use," she added.

"Finger painting, water color, sand art...some were kits for creating art projects."

"One of our (shelter) residents talked about how she does a lot of beading -- we would really like to address some of the cultural aspects of creating art as well," Ulrich said.

"Without the Legacy amendment, some of these activities would not have taken place," Mitchell said.

"Our clients would not have been able to experience them otherwise," Ulrich added.

"It (the grant) created another format for them to experience healing."

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454