(I’m away from the computer for about a week, so I’m sharing some posts I wrote a couple of years ago after my interview with Britt Bravo and the Arts and Healing network, about the writing workshops and writing as a transformative process. – xox! Jen)
3. Do you believe art can heal? Why?
(Whew — this is a big one!)
Yes, I absolutely believe art can heal. Why? Because it has done so for me, and I watch it work for others.
Let’s start with definitions, because I’m so fond of them.
Heal: My dictionary says it means, first, “to make a person or injury healthy and whole.” A later definition in the list is “to repair or rectify something that causes discord and animosity.”
See Pennebaker’s studies of college students at the University of Texas at Houston, who go to the health clinic less frequently after they write expressively about traumatic or difficult experiences. See Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, encouraging a “recovery” of and through creative expression. See even Live Through This, a collection of essays by artists who’ve battled self-destructive urges using creativity and artistic expression.
Trying to say why I think art heals is similar to the struggle folks have had defining art at all – I don’t know exactly why it works, I just know that it does.
The creation of art enacts release, transformation. The exposure to art proposes different ways of thinking, feeling, being in the room/world.
Art makes (a) way. Art is what’s possible, you know? Someone, a brave and engaged poet, said in one of my writing workshops recently, “You can say things n poems you don’t really say in casual conversation.” Music brings a whole new emotional strata to words, story, poetry – or allows the listener an evocative aural experience that’s other than language. Visual art allows for expression of emotion, idea, truth, possibility that’s outside the linguistic realm. We need to get away from words sometimes. Dance, movement, drama: these arts reintroduce us to our/the body…