Promoting wellness through art

The 2016 Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center’s first student calendar features art from students. This colored pencil piece titled ‘Walking in Space’ was drawn by Barry Cloud of the Dancing Spirit Art Therapy class.
Photo Credit: Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum

Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center has opened up a whole new door for the inmates at the Southern Ute Detention Center by publishing a 2016 calendar with their art work being the main focus.

The art therapy program started almost a year ago, in March of 2015 with the then art instructor being tribal elder, Arlene Millich. After Millich left, Timothy Murphy stepped in to take over the art therapy, which is held inside the Southern Ute Detention Center twice a week.

With the funding for the art therapy coming from the Southern Ute Education Department, Murphy is able to go into the detention center and provide a different type of therapy outlet, for his students.

“We need to get them enthused about the art. We need to give them a break to do something productive and forget all the other stuff. This is a good release place for them,” Murphy said.

Murphy has an extensive history in teaching. He taught a lot of kids programs, did a lot of coaching and also coached an equestrian team youth program in Arizona. He was also a professional horse rider who loves to help others. Murphy has also done a lot of murals and owned an art business in Scottsdale, AZ, which has been featured on MTV Cribs, Phoenix Home and Garden, and Easy Living.

The calendar started to come to fruition when Kasey Correia, director of Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center and Murphy wanted to start to get the artists some exposure. Many of these students have also placed in local art contests – like the recent art contest held by Peaceful Spirit. These students swept that art contest taking places 1st, 2nd and 3rd. With Dancing Spirits goal being to create long lasting relationships, they are trying to get some artists to do an art gallery opening within the Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center.

“We do want to create long lasting relationships. We want to expand the program when they get out. We want to provide them classes and open studio time. So you have a place they can go and create an after program with Tim,” Correia said.

With the full support and sponsorship from the Town of Ignacio, you can pick up your calendar today at Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center at the new ELHI Community Center, 115 Ute St. Ignacio, Colo.

“We want to engage them and help them be successful.” said Correia




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