Free ‘Wellness through Art’ Workshop Features Vermont Artist/Activist

How does creative expression contribute to well-being? Can making art make you more resilient? Does creativity have a role in crisis recovery? Explore these questions experientially with Vermont artist and activist Jen Berger in a new free workshop from Covid Support VT. 

Participate in COVID Support VT free Wellness Through Art workshop, with Jen Berger October 13, 6-7 p.m.

Berger is the founder and owner of Burlington-based At the Root. During more than 20 years of work in the arts and activism, she has developed a toolbox of different skills that she uses to address social justice issues through the expressive arts. She facilitates workshops around creativity generally and print-making specifically. She also works with people one-on-one to foster their creative process, break through blockages, or incubate specific projects. 

Guided Creativity Grounded in Mindfulness

In the online workshop Oct. 13, Berger will guide participants in experiential creative expression grounded in mindfulness. Using prompts to inspire creativity, she hopes to demystify “art” for people who may not feel like “artists” and help people understand that creativity is accessible to all. She encourages participants to let go of their preconceptions about what art is, or whether they’re “good” at it.  She would also like people to release any attachment to the end result of their expression. This will allow the creative process to unfold naturally.

“For many people, ‘making art’ can seem like something unattainable or really hard,” she says. “But you really don’t need a lot of materials or a lot of experience to tap into that creative spirit.” 

No prior experience or special materials are needed for the workshop. Having the right kind of paper or the right kind of paints is less important than showing up and being present to the process, Berger says. “I would say come equipped with anything you want to make art with,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be traditional art supplies. It can be a pile of spoons, or a pile of leaves.” 

Quieting the Inner Critic of Creativity

What about those who insist “I’m not creative”? What advice does Berger have for them? “We’ll be kind of quieting down that voice, through creative prompts and mindfulness,” she says. “We want to focus on the experience of creating without having any expectations about the outcome. This is really difficult for experienced and non-experienced artists alike, but it’s really key.“

“At first it’s very chaotic, then very soothing internal experiences predominate. All of those internal experiences can help us with the external ones,” Berger says. “My hope is that people will walk away with first-hand experience that they can make art, and that a regular practice of creating can impact their day-to-day lives for the better.”

The workshop is “a great opportunity for us to gather and create space together around creativity, and for folks to find ways to tap into their own creativity,” she says. “Just giving yourself space to do that is one of the most amazing self-care practices. It can help us feel more aligned and more present for the rest of our lives.”

Register now for Jen Berger’s Wellness Through Art workshop Oct. 13.

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Need to Talk?

Call 2-1-1 (option #2) or 866-652-4636 (option #2) for free, confidential, one-on-one counseling. Our Support Counselors are available Monday – Friday. 

In Crisis? 

If you or someone you care for is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can: call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-825; text VT to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7; connect with your local community mental health center for 24/7 support. 

Find Help

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Learn about upcoming Wellness Workshops from COVID Support VT, and Town Halls we’re hosting in partnership with community organizations.

One-click translation to 100 languages of most everything on the COVIDSupportVT.org website, plus Multilingual Resources & downloadable materials in 10 languages common to Vermont’s New American immigrant and refugee communities. 

Find your local community mental health center by visiting Vermont Care Partners.

COVID Support VT is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency, managed by Vermont’s Department of Mental Health, and administered by Vermont Care Partners, a statewide network of 16 non-profit community-based agencies providing mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disability services and supports. 

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