Sunday’s event was called “Connections at the Zoo.” And I wanted to share with you all one thing that was really amazing and interesting to me. ITA always brings a “wall” to each event. This wall has four wooden panels and space for people to use grout and mosaics. They can write on the pieces, create designs or just fill in as they like. This gives an opportunity for people to commemorate the lost and to create something out of it.
I was struck yesterday by how art can help us process difficult things like the sudden loss of a loved one. When there are so many questions, emotions, needs and more, art can place something concrete in your hand and empower you to create when you feel powerless. So they could take ownership of what they put on the wall and create something of meaning and value to them.
Our art therapist, Leslee, shared with me that she knows she cannot fully understand or empathize with these families because their loss is something she cannot begin to imagine or comprehend, but she finds joy in facilitating workshops and in helping with the wall because the families find ways to connect to each other, and because she gets to see families come back and how much they grow and change between events. She shared that she gets to see the healing process at certain points, and it is so encouraging for her to see that.
The event was a great opportunity to see more about what the arts can do in people’s lives, and how arts therapists can have a unique impact that allows people to create when they cannot find the words to discuss what has happened. I am learning that through creating art can come healing.
If you want to learn more about these events and where Leslee has taken the wall, you can see the blog at: http://followthewall.org/