Art Show Highlights New Jewish Family Service Program

Participants in the JFS Helping Hands through Art program had their artwork proudly on display during the month of October 2018 at the Gordon Jewish Community Center .This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_3377-425x319.jpg

Helping Hands through Art is a partnership with JFS of Nashville and OMA ( Opening Minds Through Art) run by YHOA. OMA is an award-winning inter-generational art making program for people neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

During the opening night reception of the show, several artists attended along with their family members and discussed the artwork with community members who also attended the show.

JFS’s Anna Sir, who manages the program, remarked that ” the art show felt like an important culmination of the first 2 years of this new program, as well as honoring each of Eileen’s visits with our clients, who were incredibly proud to share their work.” JFS began the art program in 2016 with a New Initiative Grant enabling JFS to continue their tradition of providing one on one services and activities for the community’s seniors.

Opening Minds Through Art (OMA)

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia. Developed in 2007 at Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center in Oxford, Ohio, the program is grounded in person-centered care principles.
The OMA art-making process involves carefully structured steps aimed at maximizing the possibility of creative expression. Participants are provided with manageable choices and failure-free activities that allow them to become active agents in their own creative process.The one-to-one ratio during art-making sessions builds the confidence and promotes the growth of close relationships between people with dementia and their partner.
The research shows that OMA helps to change how others view, interact with, and care for people with dementia.

We strive to:
1 – Promote the social engagement, autonomy, and dignity of people with dementia by providing creative self-expression opportunities;
2 – Provide opportunities to build close relationships with people with dementia;
3 – Show the public the creative self-expression capacities of people with dementia through exhibitions of their artwork.

How Creative Expression Works

It’s about the journey of self-discovery, not artistic techniques.

It’s also about painting to awaken our authentic selves, to get in touch with our true desires, to fully understand and accept ourselves. Every workshop participant is a “beginner” whether or not they’ve painted before.

When distressed, we find ourselves limited to words that don’t come easily or keep unpleasant feelings to ourselves. Using words to convey our feelings is one way, but talk therapy, or just talking about it, isn’t for everybody.


Expressing ourselves with art is an alternative way to communicate what we can’t say. Painting uninhibitedly, intuitively clears out the heavy emotions weighing us down.

Your Community on Art

DSC01573 (1280x959)The Your Heart on Art vision is to foster community healing by heightening understanding of how the arts can improve outcomes, and by providing compassionate, accommodating environments.


We’re building community online so join and follow with Facebook and Twitter. We always welcome suggestions about more ways to build community.


Your Heawme mentor 2016 Napier 5rt on Art views fostering and expanding strategic, supplemental partnerships as a critical means to advancing its vision. Outreach programs that integrate arts and healing into the fabric of the Nashville community are also integral to that end. No matter our life experiences, we can improve both individually and as a community from self-exploration and creative expression.

Heal on Wheels

Your Heart on Art also brings the healing to you.


Working as partners with community organizations, hospitals and schools, certified facilitators lead mobile workshops for children, teens, adults and families tailored specifically to their needs. You don’t even have to be in crisis to reap rewards from workshops. Your Heart on Art develops and conducts on-site group courses and workshops for local businesses. These custom-designed workshops are especially beneficial for staff team-building and stress reduction. Licensed mental health counselors from partner agencies will be also present at on-site workshops and respond to any psycho-social issues if necessary.

Children Show their True Colors

Healthcare experts continue to acknowledge the impact and success that art has had in the emotional recovery of not only adults, but also children.


napier wme amp 2016 2Youngsters usually aren’t as capable or comfortable expressing themselves through words, and painting is less threatening.

Your Heart on Art offers workshops specially aimed at children, inspiring them to communicate creatively in a safe, welcoming space.

Art has been reported to noticeably reduce anxiety and decrease pain perception in children.

Children can’t always find adequate words to explain themselves and become frustrated when they’re not understood. It’s easier for them to discuss a painting that reflects their fear or anger about a cancer diagnosis, for example, or other traumatizing event.

Research confirms that the arts are crucial to the healing of abused children, helping them deal with painful memories and thoughts.

 Art allows children to build trust with adults.

Artistic expression helps children resolve inner-conflicts, manage behavior and handle life’s curve balls more positively.

Facts for the Faint of Art

Visual expression has been used for healing throughout history and embraced in many cultures.

Neurophysiologists recognize that art, hDSC01017ealing and prayer all have similar brainwave patterns.
Freud explored various ways to tap into the subconscious hoping to uncover what’s at the root of repressed feelings. Freud’s findings? The insights obtained from art were equal to and sometimes better than results gathered from scientific approaches.
Freud believed that creative expression could identify underlying emotional pain almost immediately, whereas a psychoanalytic method could take hours.

The Art of the Matter

Expressive art is now considered by both medical and psychoanalytic communities to be one of the most significant, cost effective, self-healing tools available.


IMG_5551 (640x480)Scientific studies prove that art, like music, instantly affects every cell in the body, initiating changes in the autonomic nervous system, perception, attitude, hormonal balance, brain transmitters and pain perception. Painting, for instance, can shift a body’s physiology from stressed to serene. In fact, research confirms that the act of creating art is similar to being in a meditative-like state. This relaxed mood makes mind and body more receptive to healing.


Decide to feel better and experience the joy and healing potential of art.

ARTiculate With Color

Art is the technique, but Your Heart on Art is about the transformation.

DSC01617 (1280x960)Communicating with colors is like using a new language, and the blank canvas is another outlet for emotions. When we paint, we’re able to “see” the negative thoughts preventing us from feeling well and happy.
We’re all familiar with the toll that stress can take on both physical and emotional health. But, did you know we can paint stress right out of the picture? Painting prompts reflection, which inspires relaxation and anxiety reduction. A sense of calm helps us gain clarity and opens our hearts and minds to healing. The comfortable, tranquil environment of our studio invites freedom of expression and exploration without judgment. Imagination, often stifled as we get older, is freed when we make art, so playing with color and paint is highly recommended in all Your Heart on Art workshop.

What to Expect

DSC00638 (996x1024)Producing art brings immediate results. Being creative calms us, clarifies attitudes and beliefs, and makes us feel better both mentally and physically, while our paintings often mirror what we keep hidden inside. Well-trained, supportive staff maintain an optimal environment and secure, nurturing atmosphere, while leading participants through art exercises designed to elicit self-awareness.

Our guided technique has a 25-year track record of helping people deal with crisis, trauma and the daily grind. The format and structure is different than that of traditional art therapy, which is a legally separate institution. Certified leaders are facilitators of the creative process, not therapists, and don’t interpret artwork; participants are in charge of their own exploration.

Jackson Sun Article, 8/21/2014

Suicide Prevention kick-off held at Jackson General

Three long, narrow sheets of canvas hung on a black frame at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital Wednesday, with the sheets tied up with rope and displaying a rainbow of colors and patterns.

The artwork, inscribed with words like “Why?” and “Suicide,” was designed at the hands of more than 30 suicide survivors and attempters, said Erin Hornsby, whose cousin — Mica Breeden Martin — committed suicide in 2011. Eileen Wallach, founder of Your Heart on Art, helped oversee the art project to provide a therapeutic experience for those overcoming traumatic events.

Displayed during the hospital’s kick-off for September’s Suicide Prevention Month, the mural — titled “In the Raw” — was designed to raise awareness for suicide prevention in Tennessee, said Hornsby, who has since developed the Team Mica Fund for suicide awareness in Madison, Hardeman, Gibson and Chester counties.

“The suicide rate is 12 percent higher in (rural) areas,” said Hornsby, noting that a lack of social integration and reduced availability to mental health facilities and counseling contributes to the high suicide rates. “Our goal is to create awareness of suicide and release the stigma that is tied to it.”

More than 900 Tennesseans committed suicide in 2013 alone, said Melissa Sparks, director of crisis services and suicide prevention for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Due to the high number of suicides, Tennessee is joining the national Zero Suicides movement to help reduce the number of suicides.

Sparks said the movement includes health agencies closing the gaps found in patient care. Agencies will be encouraged to not leave patients “out there on their own,” she said. The risk of suicide is highest within 30 days after a person has a primary care visit, has a emergency department visit or has been discharged from an inpatient psychiatric facility, she added.

“It sounds very ambitious, but we should always be working toward the goal of zero suicides,” Sparks said. “We may never totally accomplish that, but with that goal in mind, it will make us work harder to try to accomplish it.”

Sparks encouraged people to also carefully monitor their family and friends for signs of suicidal thoughts. Checking on people or asking if someone is feeling suicidal can reveal important hints that a person is feeling hopeless or overcome with negative emotions.

“We need to be really diligent in reaching out to each other and embracing each other, supporting each other,” Sparks said. “We’ve got to do a better job of that and not just sit back and wait for someone to come out and say ‘I’m suicidal.'”

Reach Beth Knoll at (731) 425-9641. Follow her on Twitter @merribethknoll.

Link to original article Here.

The Jewish Observer 5/30/2013

‘Your Heart on Art’ helps cut through words toward healing

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by tgregory

Eileen Wallach

Eileen Wallach helps people find words they never knew they had.  That’s how she describes what she does through Your Heart on Art, a Nashville nonprofit that she founded.

“We facilitate expressive emotional healing through art and creative expression,” she said.   Participants in Your Heart on Art’s workshops and classes use makeup applicators and cotton swabs to create their works, because paintbrushes might be intimidating to those who don’t have art training.  “It’s not about the finished product,” Wallach said. “It’s about the process.”

Wallach is a licensed social worker and earned a master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Tennessee.  She also has firsthand knowledge of the need for emotional healing.

Art helped her weather the loss of her husband of 15 years, who took his own life. “In my earlier life I was a victim of domestic violence so I’ve actually been using different forms of therapy throughout my life,” she said.

“Eileen has a special insight on how to help people deal with traumatic experiences, Your Heart on Art provides a unique approach, and our board is committed to providing this service to the community at large,” Moises Paz, chairman of the organization’s board, wrote in an e-mail.

Your Heart on Art participants express themselves in myriad shapes and colors.

Your Heart on Art works out of studio space in a building on White Bridge Road.  It was chartered in August of 2012, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation under Internal Revenue Service regulations, and served 150 people in its first two months, she said.  The organization has worked with the Davidson County court system, with Family & Children’s Service, and other groups.  It is located on a bus line so people without cars can get there easily.

Wallach has been trained in the Art4Healing® therapeutic art techniques of California artist Laurie Zagon.  Zagon initially developed her methodology in New York in 1987 as an art workshop to help Wall Street executives deal with stress. When Wallach learned about Zagon’s techniques, she had her aha moment.  “This is what Nashville needs,” she thought.  “We need to heal wounded hearts through the arts.”

The therapeutic art process that Your Heart on Art offers isn’t the same as art therapy, Wallach said.  With therapeutic art, session leaders guide participants through the creative process and don’t offer an interpretation or diagnosis.  Art therapy, in contrast, involves interpretation of artwork or diagnosis based on it.

Individual sessions at Your Heart on Art in Nashville usually last from two to three hours and include about a dozen people.  Wallach asks participants three questions after they’ve completed their artwork: What was the easiest part in creating the art, what was the hardest part, and what do you think you gained.  Participants say things like, “I can’t believe I was this angry or sad,” she said. •

Link to original article Here.