A Window Between Worlds held its first ever Art Transforming Trauma Conference on Thursday June 30th at The California Endowment in downtown Los Angeles. Thanks to attendees, speakers, panelists, staff and volunteers the day was full of collective wisdom and open dialogue surrounding the theme of “Building Resilience Through Art”.
Direct service providers, licensed clinicians, community leaders and socially engaged artists all came together to learn and share tools for more effectively using art as a resource to transform trauma — both on personal and community levels. Renowned resiliency speaker Eileen McDargh emceed the day, holding the space and providing an essential positivity around difficult topics.
With a special video, Touchstones workshop with AWBW founder Cathy Salser, and keynote by renowned Los Angeles-based artist and former gang member Fabian Debora, the morning began with powerful personal stories of transformation and making a difference through art.
“Art is loving, nurturing, and an opportunity to recover from trauma. For me, I have been hesitant to use it due to criticism, lack of confidence but I realize the only judgment that matters is my own. I take with me the seed that I trust myself in the work I do and it is this thought I will share with my participants.” –Anonymous Attendee
Tiombe Wallace, Susan Hess, Anna Reyner and Sherisa Dahlgren each shared perspectives and vital information about trauma and art’s role in the healing process. Tips and reminders for self-care while working in the field particularly resonated with the audience, as building personal resilience is essential in supporting others as they develop their own resilience.
Kim Abeles, Fabian Debora, Cheri Gaulke and Nijeul X. Porter each shared inspiring projects created with community members illustrating art as a catalyst for change. Moderator Isabelle Lutterodt introduced the group and provided some resources for further involvement.
In the afternoon Windows Leaders and additional presenters shared how art can be used in various settings during breakout sessions. Attendees also participated in hands-on art-making during these sessions, and brought this work and Touchstones together to culminate the day emphasized community connections through art.
AWBW is excited to carry forward the shared knowledge and collaboration of this day into our ever-growing network of transformative arts programs. Thank you to all involved.
This conference was made possible through the generous support of: