www.wellarts.orgWell Arts Institute

The art of well-being through the power of storytelling!

Well Arts began in 2000 as part of the Artists’ Repertory Theatre’s community/education project in Portland, Oregon with cancer patients telling their stories through creative writing projects. Professional actors performed those stories for the public resulting in an impact so great that director Kate Hawkes; writers Doug Devers, Barbara Pongracz, Melanie Curry; actors Michael Teufel, Susan Jonsson; and three audience members formed the Well Arts Institute in 2001, a nonprofit arts-in-healthcare organization that utilizes creative writing workshops, art, music and theater to help writers, families, caregivers, and communities move toward wellness, hope and meaning, during life-altering health situations.

Boomers know that the arts are a critical component of healthcare. Well Arts achieves this through their programs and services in Theater Performance, a writing process with individuals who share a common traumatic experience or illness; Workshops of customized, hands-on creative writing, music and art exercises; Consultation where professional facilitators assist groups to bring arts into healthcare settings; and Education through presentations on the role of arts in healthcare. Well Arts’ mission of exploring, developing, and practicing creativity as a means to wellness is being met through their partnerships with residential, service, and advocacy organizations which will appeal to all boomers.

Research shows that through integration of literary, performing, visual arts and design, the rapidly growing field of arts in healthcare for therapeutic, educational, and expressive purposes has widespread clinical benefits ranging from reductions in psychological and physiological stress to increased self-esteem. Participants are paired with professional actors and the actor performs the stories onstage for the general public, either onsite, or at a theatre. Truly inspiring! If you live in the area be sure to drop in to spread your wings and spark your creativity at the Voices of the Elders Drop in Classes. Volunteer your time in the office, special events, production, writing, or as a scribe and actor. You can add a great piece of artwork to your home and benefit a worthy cause when you bid at the Well Arts Auction.

We love this website that provides remarkable, creative alternatives for our elders to step out of the role of patient; heal, and regain meaning and hope as they continue on the path of life’s journey. Seniors might want to participate in creative writing and visual art workshops and receive a bound book of their creations. What a fabulous keepsake for the entire family! We all reap the benefits from understanding the experiences of our cherished elders and what better way than to hear their life story! Our hope is that such programs will spread nationwide.