According to the Foundation for Art and Healing, "the arts have long provided emotional context for the human experience. Now, research is demonstrating that creative expression also contributes to better health and wellbeing. People from all walks of life and every corner of the planet are expressing themselves through the arts—musical, performance, visual, writing, culinary—and discovering how it reduces the physical and emotional burden associated with various types of health conditions and life circumstances." Located in the Midlands, South Carolina has an asset that offers cancer patients a chance to express the emotions to heal.
Healing Icons uses creativity to fight cancer. The nonprofit has a mission to teach art-making as a form of healing. According to Founder and Executive Director Heidi Darr-Hope, "doing art through the community events, art exhibitions, and creative workshops, cancer survivors, their families and caregivers can experience less suffering and make a positive change in people’s lives.” It’s all about the artist's expression and the support from the people working together.
Behind the Scences for Original SC
Heidi Darr-Hope's studio at Vista 80808 is full of color and icons. It's a shift from the outside world. As the Healing Icons class comes together, there are hugs and updates all around the table. Heidi starts the session by lighting a candle and explainig the exercise. The scene is very relaxing and almost feels like meditation as, from the outside, the class starts work on mandalas. Mandala, loosely translated, means circle. In spiritual traditions, mandalas can be used for focusing attention, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing meditation. The work is quiet and as a classmate describes it, "cleansing." The finishing piece of the puzzle is everyone sharing their work. There's a sense of relief in sharing the story...that you are not alone and by sharing the story, you are not the only one lifting the burden.