Healing Through Expressive Arts holds open house

Susan Alford painted “Spring Storm in the Orchard” in a 2016 meeting of the Healing Through Expressive Arts group in San Andreas.

Artists who are part of the Healing Through Expressive Arts group that meets in San Andreas are set to display selected works during an open house from 3 to 5 p.m. April 1 at the Center for Creativity and Community, 23 W. St. Charles St., San Andreas.

Vlatka Varga, a visual artist based in Arnold, leads the group. “All expression, regardless of level of skill, is valued,” she said.

The group meets weekly and Varga encourages members to explore new media and techniques, including printmaking, watercolors, acrylic paints, collages, pencil and charcoal drawings and pastels. She said her goal is to encourage participants to express what is present and meaningful. Art experience is not necessary.

“I am so grateful that we can come here,” said Susan Alford of San Andreas, a retired nurse. “This was new to me. I always wanted to take art in school, but my science preparation for my health care career came first.”

One work Alford intends to show at the open house was painted in the studio during a spring storm in 2016.

Alford said that the creative spirit of the Healing Through Expressive Arts group spills over into other parts of her life. She said, for example, that she has been using rope, twine and pallets more creatively to decorate and improve her garden and farm operation.

“I had no idea this stage of my life that I would have so much joy and fun creating art,” Alford said.

The Healing Through Expressive Arts group is offered as a free service to Calaveras County residents. It is supported with funding from California’s Mental Health Services Act.

The Center for Creativity and Community is a nonprofit agency based in San Andreas that provides meeting and studio space for healing and artistic endeavors. Viewing the show and attending the open house are free.

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