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EYM, Inc: Transforming Lives

Apr. 1, 2008
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Why Art as a response to violence?


Art and healing have always been one. It has been found by researchers that art, prayer and healing all come from the same source in the body, creating similar brain waves and mind-body changes.


Think back to seeing a small child busy with her coloring, lost in creation. No hunger, no fighting, no need other than the task at hand. Her breathing slows, her eyes, hands, mouth and spirit all connected in the present. I have seen this same shift in the kids I work with at the detention center, and in adults and kids in psychiatric facilities, excused for a brief time from their turmoil. The energy changes, the molecules in the room seem to shift...healing is present.


Why art as a response to violence? Simply put, because it opens our hearts and connects us to each other...both as artist and observer.


The violence we and our children endure either as victims, observers or perpetrators bares a devastating toll on our society and souls. Art has always been a way to honor that collective devastation. It can take the form of long standing statues of historic heroes or in a more local way such as the Express Yourself “Remembrance Tree," at Golda Meir School, each leaf bearing the names of a child in Milwaukee who has lost his or her life to violence.


rememberance_tree.jpg Art can honor our individual pain as a tool for healing and self expression. It serves to extract the pain and confusion we hold in our chaotic unspeakable deeper selves. It places what is difficult to articulate out into the world of our senses. Art allows a shift, an unblocking of these internal poisons while allowing the “fresh air” of the witness to connect and heal us.


As the only animal on this earth that makes art for self expression, it reminds us of our humanity. The tragedy and glory of human pain and triumph. It at once takes the artist all the way inside and calls the viewer all the way out to a place were we can meet.


Whether the artist is professional or amateur, the viewers eye trained or raw, the results are the same. Whether the art takes the form of theatre, song, dance, visual art, drumming, stomping, blurting, screaming or tenderly folding paper...we are, in the moment of its creation, changed.


At a recent local Reggae concert I witnessed black, white, brown, young, old, conservative and wild all bouncing to the same beat, all smiling. You could catch the eye of any of these humans and share a knowing smile. What did we know? That in that moment for that brief time we knew we were ONE. The same bounce, the same rhythm reflecting our collective heartbeats. In that brief glimpse of our ONENESS it was unthinkable to do each other harm.


Let us find and provide more opportunities to know our ONENESS...let us do art!!!!!!


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