By Terrah Baker
There’s a side of our brain that we neglect, said Jo Ann Kaminsky, executive director of The Art Experience in Fayetteville that is celebrating 20 years of service. That’s the side she tries to reach in her counseling sessions, where she uses art and creativity as a means of helping clients delve into their own psyche.
“Many times when people come here … they may just be confused and in a stuck place. But I try to offer them an experience to find their way back out,” explained Kaminsky. “You’re using a different part of your brain. You’re becoming much more intuitive.”
Her concentration with her counseling career has always been in art and play, and she uses it daily at The Art Experience, which is her base for private and group sessions, as well as the occasional art class just for fun.
But after traveling to Bolivia to teach art therapy, Kaminsky and her business partner knew their services could be used in their own communities. So three years ago, she and her business partner made the decision to go nonprofit and begin offering the benefits of art-centered therapy to a wider audience; one that couldn’t afford it otherwise.
Now, The Art Experience offers private classes for everyone from young girls going through what feels like toughest time of their lives, to adults looking to open up, explore their inner selves and learn things they couldn’t with traditional counseling.
Every season, Kaminsky said she tries to offer an art therapy class at sliding scale rates and often for free (like the girls youth group). To do this, Kaminsky must fundraise. For the third year, she’s turning to the community she serves.
On April 7 at 5 p.m., The Art Experience will hold its third fundraiser to help fund therapeutic art programs for NWA. “Nurture the Art Experience” is a benefit event with jazz talent Claudia Burson Trio and food by Chef Tuesday, The Little Bread Company, Hawaiian Brian’s, Paul Vella, Penguin Ed’s and Ozark Natural Foods. There will be door prizes, a silent auction of “nurturing” items and a backdrop of images from The Art Experience.
The proceeds will benefit two weeklong puppet camps during the summer, along with free summer workshops to prepare for the 6th Annual Puppets in the Park and the classes mentioned above.
The benefit is $15 at the door and there will be a cash bar. For more information about the event or The Art Experience, go to www.theartexperienceinc.org or facebook.com/theartexperienceinc or call Jo Ann Kaminsky at 479-442-0557.