Everyone an Artist: How Art Transforms Our Lives


With Shanti Norris, Scott Stoner, Anita Boles, and Wendy Miller

- Thursday, November 17, 6:30-8:30pm

Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

Why does engaging in the arts lead so naturally to the core of the healing process?  Is it necessary to be an artist to participate in and benefit from creative activities?  How can we bring the arts to more people who would most benefit from such experience? 

Join us for an evening of thoughtful sharing and strategic thinking about the transformative power of the arts and how we might work together to make the arts more central to the healing and well-being of our community.

Please note that registration is not required for this program, but is helpful for planning the event. Seating will be available on a first come, first served basis.


Panel Biographies

Shanti Norris

Shanti Norris serves as Executive Director of Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. She initiated the Smith Center hospital Artist-in-Residence program and Healing Arts Gallery. She runs the weeklong retreats for people with cancer, and oversees new initiatives, including the Faith-based Community Navigation project at Smith Center. Former Vice President of Kent Homeopathic Associates, she has an extensive background in complementary medicine and mind-body approaches to healing. She has taught meditation, yoga philosophy, and stress reduction for over 35 years and underwent a formal ten-year mentorship with a renowned yoga master. She is a three-term member of CARRA, the patient advocacy program at the National Cancer Institute and a graduate of Project LEAD from the National Breast Cancer Coalition. She is a graduate of the Georgetown University Non-profit Leadership certificate course and the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute in Minneapolis/St Paul. She is a former board member of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare and Chaired their Annual Conference in 2004. She is a founding board member of The Art Connection in the Capital Region and a founding member of Arts in Healthcare Advocates (AHA.) She is a frequent speaker on the healing power of the arts. Her formal art training began at New York University and The Cooper Union in New York City and includes running the fine art studio of artist Peter Max. She is a member of ArtTable, the mother of three adult children, and is a painter and sculptor.


Anita Boles

Anita Boles, MPA, has served as the executive director of the Society for the Arts in Healthcare since 2008. For over 25 years, she has had a career as an executive in health and human service-related nonprofit and government agencies, including those addressing crime victimization and victim assistance, maternal and child health, health literacy, and arts in healthcare. Boles has authored or co-authored publications on such issues as improving community responsiveness towards crime victims, cultural considerations in assisting victims of sexual assault and physical abuse, health concerns during pregnancy, and numerous topics related to arts and health. Also a visual artist, she is passionate about approaching health and healing creatively by bringing the arts to people at key moments of their lives for therapeutic, educational, and expressive purposes.


Wendy Miller           

Wendy Miller Ph.D., ATR-BC, REAT, LPC is a sculptor, writer, expressive arts therapist and educator. She has taught at JFK University, San Francisco State University, Southwestern College, Lesley College, California Institute of Integral Studies, and The George Washington University.  She is the cofounder of Create Therapy Institute, which offers clinical services in arts-based psychotherapy and trainings in the expressive arts. She is a founding member, and first elected (past) executive co-chair of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, where she continues to be on their Advisory Council.  She has published on medical illness and the arts as complementary medicine, the use of sand tray therapy with internationally adopted children, experiential approaches to supervision in expressive arts therapy, and on the cultural responsibility of the arts in therapy. She continues to research the relationships among the arts, creativity and health, and will be publishing her book from the writing that she and her late husband Gene Cohen did together, entitled: Heart Song: Finding our Way through Creativity, Aging and Illness Time.


Scott D.  Stoner

Scott Stoner, MS, ATR has devoted his professional life to integrating the arts in education, in health care, and in the community.  He currently serves as administrator for Smith Center’s artist-in-residence programs at Washington Cancer Institute/Washington Hospital Center and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  During his recent role as Vice-president for Education at VSA he focused on strengthening and expanding professional development opportunities, designing and implementing innovative programs for inclusive lifelong teaching and learning in, about and through the arts. He developed expertise in professional development programming and arts administration through senior level positions with the National Committee, Arts for the Handicapped (forerunner of VSA), The American Art Therapy Association, The Kennedy Center, and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.  Scott is a multi-media visual artist with additional training and experience in music and theater. 

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