HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. >> Three area organizations are contributing to an innovative art show at the Corridor Art Gallery at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) from March 10 to April 13, "The Healing Power of Art." Life's Journey Creative Arts Therapy, PLLC (Life's Journey), of Hoosick Falls, NY, the Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) of North Bennington, and Bennington Project Independence (BPI) are all furnishing artwork for the display that will reflect the healing properties of the artistic process.

"This show will feature art that was created by individuals of all ages who have used the artistic process to make a positive difference in their lives," said Eileen Druckenmiller, the licensed, board-certified art therapist who formed Life's Journey in 2013.

"We've intuitively known about the healing qualities of the arts for decades, even centuries," she added. "Now there are more and more scientific studies that prove the process of creating positively influences and helps to retrain the areas of the brain that are negatively affected by traumatic experiences.

"The act of creating actually prompts the brain to reprogram the mixed-up emotional messages that are being sent after trauma. The brain begins to create stronger, healthier connections and the person experiences an improvement in their emotional control and reactions."

Works produced by Vermont Veteran's Home residents under the guidance of the Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) will also be on display.


"It is wonderful to bear witness to that moment when a veteran is able to communicate what they are feeling through their artwork," stated Matthew Perry, executive director of the VAE. "Using the arts as a healing modality has proven to be very successful among those struggling with mental, physical, and emotional challenges."

The veterans' work is a testament to an ongoing 18-year partnership between the VAE and the Vermont Veteran's Home.

Bennington Project Independence offers regular art therapy groups to its participants twice a week. "We witness all the time how it relaxes and inspires our participants," said Linda Wichlac, executive director of BPI. "It's an important part of their day and our artists look forward to being able to sit together and share their process. We're very excited to be a part of this exhibit so others can see some of the wonderful work they create."

Life's Journey offers both individual and group art therapy for ages 2 to 102 in a private office setting, area schools, and local organizations. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, call 518-256-2368 or send an email to lifesjourneyctr@gmail.com.

The Vermont Arts Exchange is a non-profit community arts organization with a mission of "bringing the arts to people of all ages, abilities and income." Since 1994, VAE has had many long-lasting partnerships with area schools, healthcare settings, and social service agencies. VAE offers weekly art classes to the exhibiting Vermont veterans under the guidance of artist/instructor Matthew Marks. For more information on VAE, please look to www.vtartxchange.org.

Bennington Project Independence is a not-for-profit agency that provides comprehensive, cost-effective Adult Day Services for adults over age 18 who may face the challenges associated with aging and/or disability. To find out more, visit www.bpiads.org, call 802- 442-8136, or send an email to info@bpiads.org.

The Corridor Art Gallery is managed by the SVHC Auxiliary, which supports programs and services designed to enhance the health of our community through service and fundraising. In addition to the gallery, these include the SVMC Gift Shop and the Lifeline Personal Emergency Response service currently serving over 650 families in Bennington County, northern Massachusetts, and eastern New York. To find out more, call 802-440-6080 or visit www.svhealthcare.org.