Art After Dark, Making Matters: The Therapeutic Qualities of Art, Community, and Creative Expression

Thursday, August 18, 2022 - 6:00pm

The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts welcomes everyone to its first Art after Dark since the start of the pandemic follows on Thursday, August 18 at 6 p.m. The evening’s Art after Dark session, Making Matters: The Therapeutic Qualities of Art, Community, and Creative Expression, is described by LCVA executive director Rachel Talent Ivers as “a creative gathering in a social setting.” Participants will explore the benefits of regularly including creative expression in one’s life while panelists discuss how they have adapted the tools and techniques of creative expression to foster emotional well-being, build self-confidence, or process difficult events. In discussing the topic, panel moderator Dr. Maureen Walls-McKay remarked, “Art therapy puts voice to an experience that cannot be adequately captured in words due to the artist’s age, trauma history, ability, or other unique characteristic.”

The workshop is inspired by the LCVA’s current exhibition My Ukraine, which features work created during the outbreak of the current war in Ukraine. Panelist Anastasiia Cifers traveled with her husband Luther throughout the country to aid fellow citizens in their escape to Poland. Once in Warsaw, where housing and care was provided, the Cifers gave the children art supplies so that they might process their pain, anxiety, and confusion through art. Every evening these children – all under the age of 14 - create works of art to find some sense of comfort during a traumatic and violent time.

“Created by children, the My Ukraine exhibition speaks volumes about the power of community and the importance of art as an expression of fear, anger, and hope. All are enhanced - the viewer increases understanding and empathy and the artist processes their personal experience which promotes eventual growth and healing,” remarked Dr. Walls-McKay.

In addition to Dr. Maureen Walls-McKay (Dean of Wellness and Director of Longwood University’s Counseling and Psychological Services), the panel includes individuals who have incorporated therapeutic art techniques into their daily practice: Mindy Osborn (Upper School Counselor and Registrar, Fuqua School), Todd Stonnell (Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Art Therapist), Anastasiia Cifers (Gender, Social Inclusion and Governance Expert, Co-founder, Cifers Foundation), and Emily Grabiec (LCVA Director of Education and Outreach). A reception will follow the panel from 7:00-8:00 p.m. The Art after Dark series is made possible in part by Joe Hines & Timmons Group. My Ukraine is sponsored in part by YakAttack. About LCVA: The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts presents a rotating program of inspiring and conversation-starting exhibitions. Admission to LCVA and its programs is—and always has been—free for all. It is located at the intersection of Main and Third Streets (129 North Main Street) in Farmville, Virginia. For additional information on these exhibitions or other programs and events, contact LCVA at 434.395.2206.