In Conversation: Addressing Trauma and Healing in Arts Nonprofits

Conversation Round-up

Tuesday, Apr 6, 2021

We had a live conversation with three AWF grantees working to provide holistic supports and address trauma within their communities. Kuumba Lynx, Blue Tin Productions, and Forward Momentum are working on complementary initiatives that look to support and strengthen their communities and our city as a whole.

Resources & Links:

The following links were shared in the chat. If you have more to add please reach out or share on the listserv.

  • Jacinda Kuumba Lynx: HealthyHood with Tanya Lozano; @_tanyalozano on ig : This is a resource link for readings, folk, etc. AND its super important to engage with and HIRE BIPOC folk to facilitate this learning! Haji Healing Salon; 4446-48 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60653,
  • Tom Clowes: Storyteller/storytelling facilitator Ada Cheng is excellent at helping people use storytelling in response to trauma; National Cambodian Heritage Museum has great arts for healing programs, specifically for Cambodians
  • Melissa Lorraine: All ages Kemetic Yoga with Nadia Pillay -
  • Joan Forest Mage: Shaan Souliere at our organization Life Force Arts Ensemble is from First Nations in Canada, and teaches the Ojibwe medicine wheel Life Force Arts Ensemble, 1609 W. Belmont, Chicago 773-327-7224;
  • Margot McMahon: Healing through making sculpture in workshops: The Gift of Art Workshops on FB and at or Amazon for The Gift of Art: Sculpture Ventures for Young Artists
  • Maritza Nazario: En Las tablas Performing Arts has been working with SEL with a Trauma Informed lens for about 6 years now. We are interested in being part of a coalition.
  • Joe Podlasek:; Ojibwe educator Trickster Unity Fire at Trickster on April 22, from sunrise to sunset with a full day of healing ways from spoken word by many cultures to garden workshop and concert to close out the night with a 3 time Grammy Native award winner; national veteran program for wellness and healing
  • Carrie Spitler: The Nap Ministry; @thenapministry on ig,
  • Peter Vega: Members of the Chicago Cultural Alliance are neighborhood based orgs that use art, culture, and tradition for healing, understanding, and learning;


  • 09:21:21 From Karen (She/they) Firebird : Pierre that sounds like a lesson we as teachers/professionals can learn from young people.
  • 09:21:45 From Darius R. Parker He/Him-Kuumba Lynx : It is your wellness that shows up for our youth
  • 09:22:43 From Carrie Spitler, she/her : Supporting Teaching Artists is so, so critical to do this work short or long-term.
  • 09:24:50 From Christina Bourne : So true all. If we do not address the ways that the trauma of the past year has affected us and the children and communities we serve, we are inadvertently adding to those traumas. We do not wish to be the perpetrators of the very issues we say we want to address.
  • 09:26:34 From Joe Podlasek - Trickster : it is so vital to bring cultural healing into the mix with the arts, both have been historically critical for wellness.
  • 09:28:43 From Mridu Sekhar : Political Education for the team is such a good idea!
  • 09:29:50 From Red Clay Dance : Wow, Hoda. Your work would be very beneficial to those in the arts admin field.
  • 09:30:11 From Jen Humke (she/her) MacArthur : It sounds like all of you are doing great work to build the capacity of your organizations to provide appropriate wellness and healing for your members/students/communities.
  • 09:31:33 From Carrie Spitler, she/her : Yes! It means setting aside data needs and goals to build care within the team. Support for our artists often means creating time during the work day to prioritize wellness. It must be integrated, not a thing they do later on their own on unpaid time.
  • 09:38:03 From Margaret Caples : Are the. Unengaged attending because they are being paid? Their families need the money and sharing their home is too revealing.
  • 09:39:21 From Krithika Rajagopalan : Gain an understanding of their life - but understand their boundaries of what they are willing to share. keep space for them while being open so that they can come to you when ready
  • 09:43:59 From Gina Roxas : Collective community networking with deep roots is key so that we are able to support our artists and their families with any needs that they may have beyond our scope of expertise to overcome historical traumas and provide holistic culturally appropriate healing.
  • 09:50:31 From Joan Forest Mage : Healing happens over generations and centuries. Ancestor healing is very important.
  • 09:53:52 From Carrie Spitler, she/her : Pre-pandemic a small group of organizations were starting to gather to build an Arts and Health/Arts in Health community of practitioners in Chicago. Perhaps we can re-group build together.

Thank Yous:

  • Kdumbl : Many thanks for this important discussion and for all the work of the artists/organizations sharing their work.
  • Nancy Watrous : Thanks so much for bringing these people, all of us together.
  • Melanie Wang : Thank you Marcia and to all the groups who shared their work today! So real, so compassionate. A great way to start the day and take pause in the week!
  • Joan Forest Mage : Thank you so much for this chat! It is the human connection we need.
  • Sophia Wong Boccio : Thank you very much. Learning a lot from these three groups works in dealing with healing and dealing with traumas.
  • Megan Carney : Really good to be with you all this morning. Thank you for the time and care and wisdom shared today.
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