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Art program promotes healing
May 27, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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For the rest of the year, the DOVES Program and West Nebraska Arts Center will be offering a program in which survivors of sexual violence can make use of various artistic media to help themselves with the healing process.

Arts Center Director Donna Thompson said the idea came from a conversation with DOVES Director Hilary Wasserberger.

“I mentioned we were opening a new gallery space downstairs and were looking to collaborate with other organizations for projects in which we could incorporate art,” she said. “We started talking about art therapy sessions or studio art classes for DOVES clients that could benefit from that kind of creativity. This program is specifically geared toward sexual violence survivors.”

Thompson, who is a past director at DOVES, said she wanted to incorporate art with social issues, and the healing process.

“Sexual violence is something we’re trying to put in the forefront of our services,” said Tabitha McCloud with the DOVES Program. “This program is another we’ve added to our list of services to help clients with holistic healing.”

She added they’re trying different ways outside of the traditional support groups. Client involvement in the traditional groups has been declining.

“Sexual violence is a huge issue,” McCloud said. “It seems the news if filled with more and more people being brought up on charges. Those are just the ones who have been caught.”

She said, because it’s such a private crime, coming forward is a courageous decision. She assured everyone the program is in a private space in the downstairs level of the arts center and will remain as confidential as possible.

“Sexual violence comes in so many levels and forms,” Thompson said. “It can be either emotional or physical. There are so many things involved, so I think that’s one of the reasons it’s underreported. The perpetrator is usually someone the victim knows, which makes it even more confusing.”

The program, Seeing Our Voices: Healing Through Art, at the West Nebraska Arts Center welcomes visitors every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon until April 19, 2017. Registration is ongoing.

“It’s not something people have to attend every time,” Thompson said. “In May or June of next year, we plan to have a gallery showing of the artwork.”

The program is free and sponsored by the West Nebraska Arts Center, the DOVES Program and Soroptimist International of Scotts Bluff County.

McCloud said anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable coming to classes can still participate by creating art at home.

For more information, call 866-953-6837.
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