Life’s experiences and challenges often turn our attention to exploring deeper aspects of ourselves. The creative arts can help us access our innate strength and internal wisdom. They can also be great fun!
Creativity Workshops offer the tools to help unlock innate creative potential and promote inner listening and self-awareness through writing, art, music, poetry, and movement.
Smith Center holds regular workshops for the community and for adults living with cancer and illness.
Upcoming Arts Workshops
Outside the Lines
Bi-Monthly on Wednesdays, 10:30am-12:30pm, with Kiersten Gallagher & Guests
Creative expression has often been used in the healing process and it is at the core of Smith Center’s philosophy, but fear of judgment and “not being an artist” can often prevent us from tapping into its healing power. Join us for Outside the Lines, where a facilitator will help you reclaim art-making as a healing tool through guided creative projects. Participants who feel comfortable working on their own projects are also welcome to do so.
The first session of the month will function as a “social hour,” as we are all in greater need of social connection these days. The second session of the month will focus on the deep connection between arts and healing and how we can relate to one another through creative expression.
Radical Writing Space
Monthly on the 2nd Friday, 11:00-12:30pm, with Kiersten Gallagher
Wherever you are on life’s journey, there are times when it can feel impossible to commit to a recurring program like a workshop series. Radical Writing Space is our answer to this conundrum of wanting to attend for some radical self-care, but struggling to commit. On the second Friday of each month, drop in for one hour for Radical Writing Space and join us for inspiring writing prompts, time to write, and time to share with one another about your experience of putting your most radical emotions, feelings, and experiences on paper.
Monthly on the 2nd Saturday, 10:00-11:30am, with Denise Feldman
Join us for a Stitching Circle! Denise Feldman, a local mixed-media artist and cancer thriver, hosts this monthly gathering in (virtual) community as we talk and stitch—a powerful meditative and healing practice. Gathering as many have done for centuries, Denise will share tips and ideas for using needle and thread to bring joy and creativity to our everyday lives. Use her ideas to jump start your own, or bring your favorite hand work projects and join us for community stitching time!
Knitting on the Couch
Weekly on Wednesdays, 3:00-4:30pm, with Project Knitwell
Join us weekly to enjoy knitting in a safe and welcoming environment. Knitting can provide a respite from one’s immediate situation, serve as a way to productively pass the time, and have a positive effect on reducing stress symptoms. It is relatively easy to learn, requires no artistic talent or prior experience, is portable, and results in a useful product. Sometimes referred to as the “new yoga” — plain and simple — knitting is good for you. In this program, trained volunteers will provide knitting instruction and quality materials in an effort to foster wellness, comfort, and community among participants. Beginner and experienced knitters are welcome. Starter kits are available, as is a small selection of yarn and knitting supplies.
Art Lab: Celebrating the Creative Spirit
Monthly on Thursdays, 5:30-7:00pm, with Liz Lescault
In future Art Lab sessions, we will play with a variety of media and genres including: doodling, drawing, collage, assemblage, and water color.
Art Lab will be about making art as well as the different ways we experience art and how it affects us. We will explore both the process and the product of the art we create. We will integrate movement and playful sharing into our art making experience sharing insights, joys and concerns.
These hands-on workshops are for both novices and experienced artists. You are invited to come to one, some or all of the workshops as the spirit moves you. All are welcome.
Creating Symbols for Personal Power
Monthly on the 2nd Tuesday, 6:00-7:30pm, with Simone Banks Mackey
Using modern and ancient techniques of developing symbols allows your imagination to wonder and form a personal affirmation sigil. A Sigil, in a greater sense, is a symbol that represents a meaning. Where they differ is how/why we create them. This process is not only therapeutic but extremely individualized. Each sigil contains specific messaging that is meant to empower you. Using meditation, herbal teas, movement, food, music, and/or scents, we intentionally create an environment that empowers us to imbue our intentions into our sigil fully. A process that can result in the simplest of shapes to the most elaborate of forms.
After your affirmation sigil is created it is charged with your energy and can be used whenever you need to affirm your power. Whether that be on your hallway mirror, daily bag, passenger dashboard, clothes/shoes, or even yourself its intention will hold.
The theme of the month will be shared at the beginning of each session.
Painting for Life
Weekly on Saturdays, 10:00am-12:00pm or 3:00-5:00pm, with Noelle Imparato
This workshop provides a safe and powerful learning container using community building and a “mindfulness painting” practice to foster healing, spiritual awakening, and personal transformation.
You are invited to work from the heart and express your drama in forms and colors. As you paint, you process your emotions and liberate yourself from the psychological and physical disease they may cause. This is a workshop for processing feelings through painting and group sharing. It is not a good space for finishing existing projects and using other mediums.
By intentionally focusing on the emotional process rather than the artistic product, participants are able to unleash their creative powers and produce striking works, while by sharing their creative process they gain the insight and wisdom often hidden in works created in a state of letting go.
Upcoming Pop-Up Book Club
Tuesday, May 2nd – 12:00-1:00pm, with Kiersten Gallagher
Welcome to “Read with Smith Center,” a community of book lovers diving in to current and relevant book material.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our program calendar to RSVP for the session.
“This was a wonderful way to reconnect with my inner self and move forwards with my work in ways I hadn’t considered.” -Workshop Participant
Upcoming Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery Workshops
Exposure to the arts and creative expression can often bring forth a transformative healing affect. Our Artist-in-Residence program (AIR) engages patients and clinical staff in creative arts activities as part of the healing process through the visual arts, creative writing, storytelling, music, creative movement, and guided imagery.
Follow AIR on social media:
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smithcenterartshealinginova/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SmithCenterAIR/
Learn more about our Artist-in-Residence Programs at Inova Schar Cancer Institute and Walter Reed Military Medical Center here.
Meet Our Creativity Facilitators
About Kiersten Gallagher
As the Cancer Support Program Director, Kiersten fully believes that through the arts we can expand our perspectives and explore new fulfilling ways of being. She invites you to make our space your own refuge, to circumvent your daily routine to spark creativity, to take time for introspection, and draw outside the lines.
About Denise Feldman
Denise Feldman is a local mixed media artist who discovered the power of creativity as a healing practice after her treatment for breast cancer in 2014. As a creative ‘dabbler’ who loves working with various materials and surfaces, Denise shares her altered book processes and soulful perspective with the hope of inspiring others to tell their stories ‘on the page’ and clear space for life’s chapters yet to come.
About Simone Banks Mackey
Since childhood, Simone Banks Mackey (They/Them/Theirs) has always been an eccentric being that had an insatiable passion for life and helping others. After attending undergraduate school to study multiple Studio Arts disciplines and nonprofit management they decided to continue community-centered work. Teaching preschool offered Simone the opportunity to creatively expose children to multiple forms of art. However, they realized the magnitude of how structural stability within the home affects both parents’ mental/emotional/physical wellbeing and the children’s cognitive development. Simone then decided to work with grassroots organization that provided families with tools to be self-sufficient. It was during this time Eccentric Whims was born. While creating and hosting programming to artistically teach parents and children, Simone realized how they could combine their passion for art with community uplifting. Eccentric Whims catapults love and healing into the world by using a multitude of traditional and nontraditional art forms to foster creative thinking and promote healing/wellness while building community. Through carefully crafted community events surrounding any range and of non/traditional art forms such as mixed media collages, decor/crafts, visual media, and movement Simone creates safe spaces for people to express themselves and/or learn. Art is universal and through Art, we can communicate, commune, and create a greater society.
About Noelle Imparato
Armed with a PhD and her lifelong experience, Noelle Imparato created Painting For Life, a process art painting workshop envisioned as a tool for healing, awakening, and personal transformation. After 20 years of running it from her home studio in Los Angeles, France, Spain, and Baltimore, she moved to Zoom due to the pandemic. It allowed her community to grow more international with participants from Canada, Europe, and India. Noelle’s life experience includes training and working in architecture and film, a Ph.D. in mythological studies with an emphasis in depth psychology, a 30-year mindfulness meditation practice, and a multitude of retreats especially at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur CA. She is currently writing “Painting For Life,” a 2-volume book about her personal experience with the healing power of art, and the method she developed with her workshop.
About Liz Lescault
Liz Lescault is a visual artist and sculptor, has practiced and taught art for over 40 years. Liz is also a Coordinator of the DC InterPlay Metro Region, a certified InterPlay leader and a member of the DC InterPlay Board. She leads Open Gathering days for InterPlay DC and organizes and leads workshops regionally and nationally online and in person. Liz has been leading Art Lab both for Smith Center for the Healing Arts, for the Phillips Collection and for InterPlay internationally.
Formerly, Liz, was a hotline crisis counselor, for various suicide prevention lifelines and The Trevor Project providing help for LGBTQ youth in crisis and the Prince Georges County Homeless Hotline. Liz has also led InterPlay for elders with chronic illness and cognitive disabilities at Iona Senior Center in Washington DC. Liz melds her art, teaching, guidance and personal philosophy with InterPlay wisdom, tools and forms.
About Project Knitwell
Project Knitwell offers knitting as a tool to promote wellness and help people cope with stressful situations at more than a dozen hospital and community settings.
All of Project Knitwell’s programming is provided by volunteers, and services and supplies are provided free of charge to the people we serve.
“Very enjoyable, relaxing, creative time spent with friends from Smith Center.” -Workshop Participant