A single falling leaf emblazoned with a heart can represent different meanings – a love for nature, for example, or perhaps transformation and healing through change. A local art bar allows those battling cancer to use art as therapy, with that single falling leaf providing a powerful symbol for their own personal journey.
While painting venues are brushing into the scene as a fun way to make art in the company of friends, family or as a date-night, one business is pursuing the notion that “art is therapy.” The Reno Art Bar, a paint and wine studio in the Plumgate Center, recently offered a therapeutic release for those with cancer and dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions.
Studies looking at the benefits of art therapy for cancer patients have found that art, when used as therapy, can help with depression, fatigue, anxiety and improve general health. That is reason why Renown’s Healing Arts program was established in 2008 as a way to help patients with the mental and the spiritual side of health. This program integrates pet therapy, music, healing gardens and art at the bedside as a form of respite.
Art Workshops Inspire Healing
Devoted to the idea that “art is therapy,” Reno Art Bar owner Sandy Horner partnered with the Renown Institute for Cancer and Renown Healing Arts by hosting an annual Survivor Celebration and inviting cancer patients to partake in art as therapy. Reno Art Bar artists Jenni Hollister and Alexandra Ward set out with the goal of teaching art to help cancer patients express the feelings and emotions of their current state of mind.
“One woman undergoing treatment for stage IV cancer had an incredible attitude,” remembers Sandy. Since she wasn’t up for making her own painting, Jenni volunteered to paint for her. “The whole painting premise was around being a fighter. She didn’t want flowers painted on her canvas because flowers die, so she chose weeds because weeds come back every year,” recalled Jenni.
After participating in the Survivor Celebration, Sandy, Jenni and Alexandra wanted to do more. That’s when they were asked to come to a Cancer Support Group to make art with a group of women. The purpose of the Cancer Support Group is to share experiences, concerns and feelings while offering each other support and hope throughout their cancer journey.
Art Therapy Offers Profound Symbols
During the cancer support group, Alexandra asked the women to think of a word that symbolizes meaning to their journey. Each woman started on their canvas by painting a meaningful word into the canvas, then painting over it.
In the end, the inspirational word was covered up for only them to remember.
Painted over the word, a beautiful leaf inscribed with a heart, falling in the air, as a symbol of their personal journey.
To learn more about future art workshops for cancer survivors, follow Reno Art Bar on Facebook.