Creating HOPE with Indigo Art Therapy

Operation New Hope teamed up with Indigo Art Therapy Studio to facilitate a special 5-week series of collaborative Arts and Wellness Group Workshops for clients at ONH’s Jacksonville location. The goal was to provide integrative community care that gives formerly incarcerated people a new sense of self, and a voice with which to express it. These workshops, led by ONH mental health staff and an Indigo Arts board-certified art therapist, offered the opportunity for Ready4Work clients to focus on self-care, self-expression, mindfulness, and connection, while learning a new skill in a safe, supportive group setting.

Indigo Art Therapy, located in historic San Marco, is dedicated to making the healing power of art safe and accessible. “No formal talent, skills, or training in art is necessary to benefit from art therapy,” said Kelly DeSousa, MS, ATR-BC, the Co-Owner, Administrative Director, and Board-Certified Art Therapist at Indigo Art Therapy. “In the art room, we’re mostly focusing on feeling, sensing, moving, and experiencing. We’re here to facilitate creative experiences. Most of us learned at some point in life that we are not ‘good’ at art. But at Indigo Art Therapy, we believe art-making is an inherently human process that everyone should be able to access.”

During this series, Ready4Work clients worked together on small and large-scale paintings that expressed parts of their experience in colors, shapes, and images. These themes, chosen by the artists, covered things like the unknown, wanderlust, spirituality, anxiety, fear, strength, and hope.

“I haven’t done anything like this since I was in school,” one participant said, chuckling. He looked down at the ‘hope’ painting he had just been bent over for the last hour. “I gotta do this with my kids.”

Operation New Hope will be revealing some of these works of art, as well as some other very exciting things we’ve been working on as we celebrate Operation New Hope’s 25th Anniversary throughout 2024, so stay tuned and help us #RenewHope in the New Year by following our socials and our newsletter. 

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