CTF E-Newsletter, January 18, 2019

This e-newsletter is designed to provide a brief update on the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund and the happenings of its grant recipients.

It is our promise that this e-newsletter be brief, interesting and hopefully something that will provide you with ideas and contacts with other organizations around the state. If you wish to have your activity highlighted in this e-newsletter, please contact Renée Bovée, WCTF Program Coordinator.

Dancers’ Workshop: Savion Glover ‘s ALL FuNKD’ UP, February 2

Savion Glover Productions

Beginning with a sold-out performance of Savion Glover’s BARE SOUNDZ in February 2017, the relationship between Dancers’ Workshop, Jackson, and Savion Glover has only grown stronger. DW Artistic Director Babs Case found an artistic kin in the Tony Award-winning choreographer and tap genius and shared with him our mission to bring diversity in dance experiences to DW and the greater community. Savion enthusiastically offered to drum up momentum for a DW tap program, and in July, returned to perform at the 2017 DW Gala Celebration and teach open level tap classes.

Through our Artist in Residence program, Savion continues to reach non-traditional dance audiences. In 2018, Savion made two visits to Jackson Hole. The first in May of 2018, with fellow hoofer Marshall Davis, Jr., found him teaching rhythm and theory classes to the community and sharing outreach through lecture demonstrations at Jackson Hole Middle School, Jackson Hole High School and the Senior Center of Jackson Hole. In October of 2018, Savion returned with Mark Ingraham, the Music Director of Savion Glover Productions, and continued to build on his relationship with our local schools and community.

Beg Class.jpg
Savion Glover with Beginning Class at Dancers’ Workshop, photo by Christa John

Through overwhelming support, Savion continues to spread his passion and expertise in the art form of Tap Dance to Jackson Hole. During this, Savion’s fifth residency at DW, he returns to Jackson Hole High School to work with music students and to DW to continue exploring tap dance with our local community members. Capping off his visit, Savion returns to the stage to showcase his newest innovative expression, Savion Glover’s ALL FuNKD’ UP, on Saturday, February 2nd at 7:30pm in The Center Theater. For more information visit the Dancers’ Workshop website.

We are so grateful to the strategic partnership of Center of Wonder and lead project supporters Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, TCSC Recreation District and the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund for continuing to make this program possible.

WCTF Board to Meet in Cheyenne, February 7

The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund board will be meeting in Cheyenne at the Atlas Theatre, 211 West Lincolnway, on Thursday, February 7 from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m.

This meeting is focused on feedback presentations from recent grant recipients. An Executive Session may be held if necessary.

The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund meetings are open to the public.

An agenda is posted on the Cultural Trust Fund website. Please feel free to contact the WCTF Program Coordinator, Renée Bovée at renee.bovee@wyo.gov or by calling 307-777-6312 with any questions.

ART 321: Healing Through Art Toolkit

Healing Through Art.jpgIt all started with a discussion at ART 321 – the home of The Casper Artists Guild in the spring of 2017 between staff members and volunteers who were in anguish over hearing that another young person in Casper had taken his own life.  

This kind of sad news was becoming much too common and, as artists who know first-hand that the arts have the power to soothe and heal troubled souls, we felt more could be done by our organization to reach and help individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, and related mental health issues.

As an experiment, we reached out to ART 321 members and asked for volunteer instructors and donated art supplies so that we might hold Healing Through Art open studio sessions each Tuesday morning during August of 2017.  The plan was to invite members of the community who have been affected by suicide to come in for free art sessions with all supplies provided. According to then ART 321 Executive Director, Diane Harrop, “We partnered with the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Taskforce and local mental health professionals and got a great level of response that prompted us to refine and improve our Healing Through Art open studio sessions in 2018.”

Casper Star Tribune’s Arts & Culture reporter, Elysia Conner, came to one of the early sessions and wrote a terrific article that was then picked up by some national media outlets including USA Today.  This was all a surprise to Harrop, who began fielding calls from across the US from people wanting to know more about ART 321’s Healing Through Art program components and looking for advice about how to start a similar program.  That is how Diane and Kristel Nielsen first became acquainted.

Nielsen was then a grad student at Arizona State University who went on to receive some seed money from a social enterprise fund at ASU to start a program that she now calls Your Art Your Story which aims to shed light on the devastating effects of suicide on families and communities.  In creating her arts-based program, Kristel has found a willing partner in the Arizona Artists Guild. “Tess Mosko Scherer and the outreach team at Arizona Artists Guild were already doing art programs with other groups. The Artist Guild generously offered their space and art supplies.  Artist volunteers stepped forward to support suicide survivors in our community. They have proven to be an amazing partner!”

The more Kristel and Diane talked, the more they became convinced that they should collaborate, share the value of what they had learned themselves through trial and error and create a free toolkit that could be used by other individuals and groups wishing to start their own programs.  

Creative expression can take any form, but it represents a unique way for people affected by trauma to work through painful emotions.  “Creating art has a calming effect on the brain and helps us relax and feel better,” Nielsen said. Harrop added, “We have seen first-hand that art has the power to improve individual lives and enhance entire communities.”

The 24-page Healing Through Art toolkit includes descriptions of three different model programs, details and suggestions for holding a successful Art Meet-Up, some simple art project ideas, a basic supply list, templates for sign-up sheets and other additional resources.

The toolkit was published in December of 2018 and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution which allows free use and invites users to share information about how they are using the publication as well as any enhancements or adaptations they make when designing their own programs.  Anyone can download this document from http://casperartguild.org/healing-through-art-toolkit.  Your Art Your Story also hosts an online gallery which features stories and photos from people all across the US and beyond who use art to transform and heal.  The link for those submissions is: https://yourartyourstory.org/community-gallery .

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