Expressions for Healing Art Walk planned for Friday

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    By Ashley Wilson and Katrina Thomas
    Rise Above Violence

    On Friday, Oct. 22, Karen Roberts is partnering with the newly formed Expressions School of the Arts Inc. (Pagosa Springs Dance Academy) and Rise Above Violence to offer an art walk fundraiser.

    Join us for the Expressions for Healing Art Walk at 6 p.m. at 450 Lewis St. 

    Roberts is selling her hand-painted originals from classes she teaches to benefit the two nonprofits. Live performances, art sales, a cash bar and bake sale will be included to raise funds for both nonprofit organizations.

    Art in all of its forms has been used for learning, transforming and healing throughout history. Visual art, performing art, music and all other forms offer us ways to express our feelings and experiences when we are unable to put them into words; it transcends language, culture and age. 

    Rise Above Violence works with adults and children who have experienced trauma in many forms. Though our work of advocacy, education and counseling provides for many of the needs for victims, we also rely on our community partners to provide other healing modalities for victims and their children. 

    This is why our partnership with Expressions School of the Arts is important to us and for the victims we serve. We know that when children who have experienced trauma are able to participate in activities in spaces that are safe and can interact with adults that can show positive relationships, it increases resilience. When they can have those positive interactions and also participate in a form of expression such as visual arts, dance, music or poetry, healing happens. The cost of domestic violence on children is high, but it can be mitigated through interventions and opportunities for expression. 

    Expressions School of the Arts believes in creating a safe space for self expression and boundless creativity with programming that is both excellent and affordable. Expressions aims to cultivate self-confidence, positive body image and a sense of community within students. 

    The future vision of Expressions is to continue providing top-of-the-line dance opportunities, as well as open the studios to music, art, theater, art/dance therapy and other movement-based programs. Pagosa Springs Dance Academy, which has served the Pagosa community with affordable, accessible and artistically excellent dance instruction for five years, is now a division of Expressions School of the Arts. 

    Rise Above Violence is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides 24-hour support and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault or other forms of violence, serving around 400 victims each year. Rise also works to eliminate violence through education for youth and our community. All programs and services are free and confidential, including emergency prevention education and empowerment programs. Visit www.riseaboveviolence.org for more information or call (970) 264-9075 to talk to an advocate today.