This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Kiersten Gallagher

Outside the Lines: A Creative Art Studio

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: Social Hour, where we will catch up as we reclaim art-making as a healing tool. Participants are welcome to work on their own creative projects as we socialize.


Outside the Lines is held Bi-Monthly on Wednesdays from 10:30am – 12:00pm ET. The Social Hour sessions will only run from 10:30 – 11:30am. 

Suggested donation: $10 per class

Our programs are open to the community, and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


About Kiersten Gallagher

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.

10AM-12PM SESSION – This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

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.

For more information about Painting for Life and what you can expect during a session, please explore this manual:

PFL MANUAL

Participants are encouraged to drop-in for any session and attend as many sessions as they would like.

Session Schedule:

The Painting For Life workshop on Zoom consists of a 1-hour painting session framed by a 30 minute opening circle (which can often be 45 minutes) and a 30 minute closing circle.

Opening Circle – In the opening circle we build a safe and powerful We-Space
community characterized by “presencing,” sharing with honesty and integrity, deep listening, and resonating in harmony with each other. Noelle will start this opening circle by giving a quick prompting and end it with a 3-minute meditation before sending people off to paint for exactly 1 hour.

1-hour Painting Session – Participants paint at home, using cheap materials such as paper, tempera paints, watercolors, acrylics, or pastels, Crayolas, and even color pens. When the hour is over, people take a picture of their painting and text it to Noelle before coming back to the Zoom room.

Closing Circle – Noelle then shares each painting on the screen as people explore their process while the group may offer feedback and further insights get sparked. We end this closing circle with a group hugs as we shout “May all beings be happy!” thus fusing personal and collective healing together.

Suggested Donation: $15


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.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Martina Sestakova 

No matter what ‘balance’ may mean to you, the theme will inspire us during a guided meditation and a visual exploration of ‘balance’ in a mandala. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have created a one-of-a-kind artwork communicating your particular experience. No experience needed.

Suggested Materials: 

Materials (gather what works best for you):

  • cardstock paper
  • colored pencils
  • markers
  • watercolors or acrylics
  • brush
  • paper
  • cup with water
  • paper towel
  • pencil
  • pen
  • paper

*You are welcome to use any materials for the mandala that you enjoy even if they are not listed. Martina Sestakova, your instructor, will create a sample artwork combining watercolor paints and colored pencils.

Suggested Donation: $15


About Martina Sestakova

Martina Sestakova (owner at RADOST) engages in textile design, painting, and art education. Martina creates scarves that invoke stories of life experiences. Her scarves have been featured on Voice of America and at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (DC). In her paintings on yupo, she communicates words through colors and shapes. Her artworks have been shown at the Adah Rose Gallery (MD) and Latela Curatorial (DC) and other art institutions. As an art educator, Martina offers workshops and brings creativity to the public and communities with limited access to the arts. Martina Sestakova resides in Kensington, MD.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Kathleen O’Toole

Writing Through the Seasons

Moving Into Darkness Toward Light

Kathleen O’Toole is a poet whose work with haiku and other short poetic forms is deeply rooted in attention to the natural world. In her Writing through the Seasons workshops (December 9, 2023 and March 30, 2024) she will guide participants through poetry forms and writing practices that invite us to pay attention to the ways season changes bring special opportunities for healing and creativity.

The ancient Celtic calendar marks moments in which the light visibly shifts as openings to spirit and ritual. We’ll mark our own seasonal awareness, as the days shorten toward solstice, and again just after the spring equinox, collecting images and feelings to create our own “word paintings” (in the words of Yosa Buson, haiku master).

No previous poetry writing experience required, just an openness to playing with words. Bring an open heart, a notebook or sketchbook; whatever materials you need to respond to poetry and nature. (Previous participants have journaled, drafts of poems or sketches to capture what has surfaced in our sessions.)


Kathleen O’Toole is a poet whose work with haiku and other short poetic forms is deeply rooted in attention to the natural world. These three workshops will guide participants through poetry forms and writing practices that invite us to explore the ways season changes bring special opportunities for healing and creativity. The ancient Celts celebrated cross-quarter days as moments of magic and openings to spirit and ritual; we’ll mark our own seasonal awareness.

Writing Through the Seasons: The Healing Power of Nature will be offered as a program series, spread over the seasons.

Suggested Donation: $15/session


About Kathleen O’Toole

Kathleen O'Toole

Takoma Park Poet Laureate Kathleen O’Toole is the author of 4 books of poetry (find her at https://kathleenotoolepoetry.com). She has taught writing at Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute College of Art. As evident in her longer work, she often seeks inspiration and consolation in nature. For more than thirty years she has been writing haiku as a spiritual practice of attention, and to deepen her experience of the natural world.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing olivia@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Theresa Esterlund

Practice mindfulness in a new way and open to being – with yourself, with each other, with the present moment. In this workshop, you’ll be guided in a slow looking activity around a single work of art from the Joan Hisaoka gallery as a technique for accessing inner wisdom and sparking creative flow. In conjunction with this mindfulness practice, you’ll use a series of prompts and poetry writing techniques to express yourself through the written word, individually and collectively. You’ll discover new insights and fresh perspectives as you build empathy and learn to integrate this type of practice into your journey.

By slowing down as you look, you’ll be invited to explore personal insights, reflections, and ideas. You’ll also have an opportunity to practice opening to other perspectives and points of view through group participation. Slow looking (or slow art) comes out of the “slow” movement and is often intended to help you look at and learn about artwork, especially if you are not as comfortable or familiar with art. It can be applied to any kind of looking or listening (at a tree, a piece of music, another person), and when infused with mindfulness, it can be a powerful way to connect with yourself and each other.

Suggested Donation: $15/session


About Theresa Esterlund

Theresa Esterlund is an artist, educator, and mindfulness guide whose teaching draws from her deep experience and expertise. In her mindfulness practices, she facilitates pathways for integrated mindful living, creating environments for personal exploration and transformation that are based on individual experiences. Theresa’s collages are windows that open to the inside—as well as abstract landscapes and other arrangements. She currently brings her love of gathering, sorting, and composing to letterpress, which also gives her a path to integrate words and phrases from her poetry. After retiring from a professional career in museum education, Theresa channeled her vision to inspire compassionate connections into a stationery business, Open to Being, that reflects the intersection of her mindfulness and artistic practices.

This program is being offered in-person. In order to participate, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Melanie Edwards

This Musical Mending Workshop uses the Tibetan Singing Bowl to promote relaxation and powerful healing properties. This class supports mental, emotional and spiritual well-being which is integral for health as it balances and clears the mind, leads to a renewed sense of purpose, well-being, calm and happiness. Sound healing also lowers anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and more. The sound frequencies slow brain waves to a deeply restorative state, which calms the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. Participants will be led through the components of the sound bowl and learn how to play them.

No prior experience is needed and the class is taught with yoga mats and/or chairs in a circle for an opportunity to have fun in a communal setting and set intentions for the New Year. Wear comfy clothes.

Suggested Donation: $15


About Melanie Edwards

Melanie Edwards

Melanie Edwards is an award-winning singer, songwriter, pianist, violinist, music practitioner and tv/film composer. She holds a master’s degree in music from The Savannah College of Art and Design and was awarded the Artistic Achievement Fellowship to secure her MFA in Musical Theater – Performing Arts at SCAD. Furthermore, she was a Morehead Scholar Nominee at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she secured a BA in broadcast journalism, furthering her news career as a Carolina Week Reporter and later becoming a weather anchor for local news in eastern North Carolina. Likewise, she was the NCSU’s Department of Nuclear Engineering Investigators’ Program Award Recipient in Nuclear Technology at North Carolina State University where she focused on nuclear engineering and physics. Additionally, she holds a BA in Spanish from Universidad de España, in Sevilla, Spain. Melanie is certified in Mental Health First Aid USA by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and has 27 years experience as a performing artist and expressive, musical healer with several partner charities and organizations, such as: National Theatre DC and Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. She recently started a healing arts business providing “Musical Mending” workshops and services to nursing homes, assisted living quarters, hospices, hospitals and many underprivileged communities. In addition, she is the resident pianist for Clyde’s Restaurant and has performed at Gypsy Sally’s, The Henley Park Hotel, Beacon Bar and Grill and Peruvian Ambassador Castilla’s Residence in Washington, DC. She is also a regular performer at Rockwood Music Hall, in New York City.

https://www.melanieedwardslabs.com/

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Project Knitwell and Friends

Knitting Circle on the Couch

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.

 

Knitting is:

  • relatively easy to learn,
  • requires no artistic talent or prior experience,
  • portable,
  • and results in a useful product.

Sometimes referred to as the “new yoga” — plain and simple — knitting is good for you.

 

Trained volunteers will provide knitting instruction and quality materials in an effort to foster wellness, comfort, and community. Beginner and experienced knitters are welcome. Starter kits are available, as is a small selection of yarn and knitting supplies.

 

Stone Soup Films and Project Knitwell created a beautiful 3-minute video highlighting the health benefits of knitting. Watch the video here!


Our Knitting Circle meets Weekly on Wednesdays from 3:00 – 4:30pm ET.

Our programs are open to the community and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


Looking for more intimate knitting instruction? Check out Project Knitwell’s new program, Knitwell in the Cloud, for ongoing, one-on-one knitting instruction via Zoom.


About Project Knitwell

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.

Project Knitwell volunteers provide knitting instruction and quality materials in an effort to foster wellness, comfort, and community among those we serve.

PART 4/5. This program series is being offered virtually through Zoom. If you are interested in joining, please register by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA & Kiersten Gallagher

offered in partnership with the Ulman Foundation

SC Writes for YACS

SC Writes for YACS

Welcome back to SC Writes for YACS, where we will deepen our writing and sharing in a safe and supportive environment. No writing experience required. Activities will include mindfulness practices, writing exercises, and reflective practices.

Stay tuned for the theme of this SC Writes series.

Group members are encouraged to attend all sessions, but missing one session is fine. This series has limited capacity and therefore attendance is important. To illustrate, we use all sessions to foster community and build an open space for sharing.


SC Writes for Young Adult Cancer Survivors (YACS) is a 5-part program series that will meet on Tuesdays from 1:30-3:00pm EST. We will meet starting on Tuesday, November 7th.

Upcoming Program Dates:

  • November 28
  • December 5

    Suggested Donation: $10/session or $35/series


About Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA

Mindy Brodsky

Mindy Brodsky specializes in trauma-informed, strengths-based counseling with a passion for integrative health and healing. Mindy honors her clients as the experts of their lives, and she strives to provide a supportive and safe environment.
After a career in social justice advocacy and her own challenging health journey, Mindy aspires to meet her clients where they are to help them achieve their goals.

About Kiersten Gallagher

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.

PART 3/5. This program series is being offered virtually through Zoom. If you are interested in joining, please register by emailing programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA & Kiersten Gallagher

offered in partnership with the Ulman Foundation

SC Writes for YACS

SC Writes for YACS

Welcome back to SC Writes for YACS, where we will deepen our writing and sharing in a safe and supportive environment. No writing experience required. Activities will include mindfulness practices, writing exercises, and reflective practices.

Stay tuned for the theme of this SC Writes series.

Group members are encouraged to attend all sessions, but missing one session is fine. This series has limited capacity and therefore attendance is important. To illustrate, we use all sessions to foster community and build an open space for sharing.


SC Writes for Young Adult Cancer Survivors (YACS) is a 5-part program series that will meet on Tuesdays from 1:30-3:00pm EST. We will meet starting on Tuesday, November 7th.

Upcoming Program Dates:

  • November 21 & 28
  • December 5

Suggested Donation: $10/session or $35/series


About Mindy Brodsky, LCSWA

Mindy Brodsky

Mindy Brodsky specializes in trauma-informed, strengths-based counseling with a passion for integrative health and healing. Mindy honors her clients as the experts of their lives, and she strives to provide a supportive and safe environment.
After a career in social justice advocacy and her own challenging health journey, Mindy aspires to meet her clients where they are to help them achieve their goals.

About Kiersten Gallagher

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.

In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, please click the RSVP button above or email programs@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Denise Feldman

Stitching Together

Stitched Together

We’re all part of the same cloth…

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!

 

This community stitching circle is for you! For example, maybe you’ve been hand sewing for years; you might be interested in exploring the recent revival of the “slow-stitch” movement; maybe you are are a needle pointer with a project to finish. Or, you might simply enjoy the meditative nature of hand making with needle and thread.

 

You may consider bringing:

  • needles and thread,
  • an old pair of jeans or other clothing that was headed to charity,
  • left over fabric from another project,
  • or simply bring yourself for some (virtual) time in community.

Stitched Together will be offered Monthly on Saturdays 10:00 – 11:30am ET. 

Suggested Donation: $10


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 mixed media processes and soulful perspective with the hope of inspiring others to tell their stories ‘on and off the page’ and clear space for life’s chapters yet to come.

“My philosophy is simply that telling our stories helps us heal by giving us the space to process our own experiences and connect with each other. Getting our stories out from our hearts and our heads helps make room for the next chapter to happen…the one just waiting there in the wings.” ~Denise