Sarah MacIsaac on the Value of Art Therapy

At MASSCreative, we believe creative experiences help build powerful connections between people, communities, and the broader world. At Creativity Connects: MASSCreative Arts Advocacy Day on March 26 (next week!), we will bring together hundreds of leaders and supporters of the creative community to connect with one another, advocate with lawmakers, and share their stories of arts and creativity.

As part of the lead-up to Arts Advocacy Day we want to take the opportunity to share some of those stories to illustrate why advocating for the arts is so important! Today we are featuring a guest blog post about the importance of art in achieving holistic health from Sarah MacIsaac. Sarah is a Tastefully Simple Independent Consultant who treasures her time writing, painting, regularly attending plays and enjoying her favorite music.

"Art has always been a major part of my life. It has been and continues to be a lifeline. It is a deep breath, a calming exhale, an escape, and my spark of joy. As a person with a physical disability, art was my outlet to express myself. It was a gift because it was something I was good at: my place to shine. Whether as a patron attending art museums, plays, musical theater, dance performances, the opera, and live music concerts--or as the one doing the creating or performing--art has been there for me through it all. It lifts me up.

I have only had formalized art therapy once in my life when in high school. My friend had just died, and I was dealing with my own mortality. I had what I can now describe as a psychotic break from reality. I was blessed that my high school offered resources like art therapists to help me cope with the uncertainties of my medical conditions. From a young age I was given messages intentionally or unintentionally that someone with my condition does not live long. Those are scary realities to face. Thankfully, I had loving, well-meaning family members, friends, and caregivers; I am so blessed. However, at the time I was confused, overwhelmed and I needed to find hope again. I needed something to help me sort through what may or may not happen to me at any given time in regards to my disease.

I do not remember the specifics of my high school art therapy--after all it has been 19 years since graduation! However I do fondly recall that time. I have tremendous gratitude toward all those who recognized my early love of art and used it get me through one of the darkest points in my life. Later I even had the opportunity to assist younger kids with some art therapy exercises as an intern. In fact, my art therapy experience was so impactful I even considered becoming an art therapist myself.

With the tools I have been given from art therapy and the experience I have gained I no longer see my so-called challenges as a disease; I am healthy and thriving. I attribute a great deal of my success and my ability to manage adversity to the skills I learned from my art therapist. Art is still such a force for good in my life. Art (some of which I created!) adorns the walls of my house, arts and crafts connect me with my nieces and nephew, coloring helps me find peace, and music soothes my soul. The list could go on and on. I find joy recounting the ways art did and continues to shapes my life."

RSVP now for Creativity Connects: MASSCreative Arts Advocacy Day on March 26!

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