Art show seeks to heal emotional wounds

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Thrive Church in Wausau is hosting an experiential art exhibit this weekend that was designed to help people process emotional pain they have developed over the past year. The idea occurred to parishioner Dr. Edwin Stanley after the events at the Capitol on January 6.

“It’s one of those things, when people are so different, you want to speak to people in a language that everybody can understand. And to me, art is that language,” he said.

He says it’s a chance for people to find unity.

“It’s meant to inspire people, kind of reach beyond those divisions that have been artificially created because of COVID and the political division,” Dr. Stanley said.

Dr. Stanley proposed the idea to artists, musicians, poets, mental health experts and his pastor. A group soon formed and they were able to put the event together in just five months.

“The artists, the musicians, the mental health specialists and then the church, we all had a similar vision, and then just that idea of us trying to put that vision and what it looked like into a real form, and then all of a sudden we just came together with this great event,” said Thrive Pastor Sheldon Miles.

The exhibit is set up to take you through zones, from loss and division to joy and unity. Along the way are models to help viewers deal with stages of emotional healing. Artist Stephanie Kohli curated the exhibit and was largely responsible for gathering the more than 103 art pieces.

“Zone one was pretty hard because it was all about fear and shock and loss and the art that came in, a lot of it was really emotional. Some of the poems that came in, I think we teared up a little bit when we were reading them,” she said.

One of the mental health organizers says tragedy can cause us to shut down or freeze our emotions.

“The artwork brings out the emotions to the surface, so that we can move through them,” said counselor Wendi Martell-Daniels.

The Moving Experience will have its last day on Sunday, and will be open from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

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