Attendees at the biennial Journeys in Healing Art Auction were overwhelmed with emotions on Wednesday night.
Eleven art pieces were featured at the silent auction with all proceeds going to the After Images Art Counseling program at Center for Hospice Care. Artists of the night included Lauren Smyth, Peter Lanser, Pamela Orban, Carol Swanstrom, Michelle Snyder, JoAnn Soltys, Anne Pearman, Willow Wetherall, Brenda Fox, and Dana DoBrodt.
This marked only the second year for the Journeys in Healing Art Auction, the first being in 2017. The KPW Trio kept the mood light with instrumental covers while guests dined on complimentary food and drinks. Hannah Nichols, Communication and Events Coordinator for Hospice Foundation, looked forward to sharing original, meaningful artwork with the community.
“A silent auction is an event where we can network and give the artists space to speak about their paintings in a warm and open setting,” Nichols said. “These paintings are created by [artists] going through the grieving process, so it can be a sensitive topic.”
Center for Hospice Care partnered with accredited art counselor Dave Labrum 19 years ago and started a program that would change lives. The After Images Art Counseling program is free and encourages those who have recently lost a loved one to use art to engage with the grieving process.
“The art studio is first and foremost a sacred and safe place for the artists,” Labrum said. “Many of them are experiencing trauma and chaotic circumstances and anxiety with all of the changes that are happening since the death of their loved one.”
Most program participants see Labrum on a continuous basis for six months to a year. For two hours each week, they have one-on-one time in the studio with him. How they use their time is completely up to them— many come to paint, while some come in simply to talk. Labrum is there for whatever the artist needs from him.
Seventy-six percent of participants who go through the After Images Art Counseling Program have never used the services that Center for Hospice Care offers. They’re simply people from the community looking for a way to manage their grief, and Center for Hospice Care opens its doors to anyone who needs the program.
The artist of “New Roots,” Lauren Smyth, was excited to experience other artists’ journeys. She understood why many were struck with such emotion.
“It’s really incredible to see other people’s journeys and to know that grief is something we, as humans, share,” Smyth said. “Most of us experience it at some point in our lives, so to see people’s grief through art and through these images, you really relate to it pretty intensely.”
Smyth spent six months in the studio with Labrum a year and a half ago. Coming from an artistic family, she always had an interest in art, but never identified as an artist. After a heart wrenching loss, Smyth decided to engage in the After Images program to help her cope.
“It was a chance to really dive in and not have expectations for myself,” Smyth said. “To just create art for the sake of communicating what I was feeling was a pretty incredible experience.”
Max Black Fine Art and Custom Framing donated all the framework for the art pieces. For more information, visit www.mbfineart.com. For more information on Center for Hospice Care and the After Images Art Counseling program, go to www.cfhcare.org.