Trauma is a common occurrence in the lives of people from any culture, background and status. When events or circumstances are experienced as physically or emotionally harmful, the effects can be long-lasting and disruptive of daily life.* Our goal at A Window Between Worlds is to provide a resource — the creation of art — that can empower individuals and communities to move through the difficulties and on to less burdened and more productive living.
Creating art, particularly in community, can open a unique “window of time” that provides the opportunity for safety, connection and self-expression many who have been affected by violence and trauma do not experience through other processes or in other settings. Those who have been impacted by violence and trauma are the best experts in directing their own healing, and art-making allows for self-discovery and communication that is not easily put into words.
The hands-on creation of art has been shown to reduce distress, increase self-reflection and self-awareness, alter behavior and thinking patterns, have positive physical effects and build stronger resilience** — all of which play a key role in life transformation. In addition, coming together in an understanding and supportive community provides the atmosphere needed for recovery from violent and traumatic experiences.***
AWBW has developed a uniquely collaborative model of leadership and curricular development to achieve this maximum community impact. Our model empowers the facilitators at each agency to seamlessly integrate art into their continuum of care and support participants to take concrete steps toward a healthy and resilient future. As we have grown we have taken careful consideration of trauma-informed and cross-sector approaches, providing curriculum and support that is most beneficial to those participating in AWBW workshops.
We build the capacity of our partner sites through initial and ongoing training, one-on-one consultation, online curriculum and art supply stipends. We treat all of our partner agencies as members of the AWBW family. As trained Windows Leaders facilitate our workshop curriculum they share innovations and best practices throughout the national network of AWBW partners, resulting in a high quality, ever-evolving curriculum of over 500 workshops co-created by those working in the field.