Healing from Human Trafficking: Arts Aftercare, a video by Eric Becker

Arts Aftercare: a tool kit to share art with survivors of sex-trafficking. They explain how people’s lives can be transformed through the creative process.

Human Trafficking

Arts Aftercare is about beauty and healing through the arts. This innovative team, founded by Curtis & Grace Romjue and Brian Howe produces the Healing Arts Toolkit, and trains human trafficking aftercare groups how to use the toolkit to help restore life and health in survivors of human trafficking. Eric Becker traveled to the Philippines with Arts Aftercare to video how they put the Healing Arts Toolkit into practice with several aftercare organizations working there. Watch this video to see how art can be used to transform precious lives.

Do What You Love to End What You Hate | Arts Aftercare from eric becker on Vimeo.

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The 2013 “Canvasas for Cambodia” Finished Mandala Paintings: A Huge Thank you to the Community for your Support!

After 48 hours of brush strokes completed by Naropa faculty, students, friends, donors, and the greater community, the final incarnations of the Mandalas are here to stay.  Through generous support from our community, we have reached $21,988, which will send the 2014 art therapy team to Cambodia.  Through this service-learning project, we will be working with our partner organizations primarily serving women and children who have been sex-trafficked.  This is an opportunity for us to share trauma-informed art therapy practices to an under-served population in Cambodia while learning about this beautiful culture.  A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us in turning this dream in to a reality!   We appreciate each and every one of you so much.

Please take a moment to see the final Mandalas created by each team and come to the Paramita Campus at Naropa to see these gorgeous 7’X7′ paintings that are infused with layers of creative expression from all of our painters!

The Helping Hands:


The Sunbeams:


The Creative Crusaders:


Also, any donation is accepted!    Thank you all so very much for your continued support for NCAS-I and those who help make this trip happen each year.  We are grateful.

Paintings via the 2014 Team’s and all involved!

Compiled by Aiya Staller

Photos courtesy of Sue Wallingford.


2013 48 Hour Painting Marathon: Canvases for Cambodia

Thank you DAILY CAMERA for this awesome video! Stay tuned for the completed pieces. There is still time to donate.


Click Here for a Live Video Link of the Painting Marathon

Naropa paint marathon raising money for service trip 

By Amy Bounds/Camera Staff Writer

Posted:   11/10/2013 08:28:01 PM MST
For a link to the full article and video: go here.
Over 48 hours this weekend, more than 100 volunteers added to three large canvasses being painted with a mandala theme in a marathon to raise money for a Naropa University art therapy service learning trip.

The event, organized by professor Sue Wallingford and students in the art therapy program, is in its third year. The goal is to raise $25,000 to cover the cost of sending 10 art therapy students to Cambodia in the summer, where they’ll work mainly with an organization that helps children and women who are victims of sex trafficking.

“It’s an amazing cause,” said Kelly Watt, who works in admissions at Naropa, as she added more color to the canvas.

Erin Boylan, foreground, and Ida Drey add their contribution during the last nine hours of a painting marathon. The MA Transpersonal Counseling Psychology program within Naropa University’s Graduate School of Psychology held its third annual 48-Hour Painting Marathon. The project raises money for a summer service learning project to Cambodia.

While the overall theme this year was mandalas, each canvass had its own twist.

For the “helping hands” canvass, hand stickers went on top after a section was painted and then will be peeled off at the end, revealing the history of the painting.

“We’ll have a touch of everyone in the painting,” said second year art therapy student Chelsey Langlinais, who led the helping hands team. “The idea is that the whole is greater than the parts.”

The “sunbeams” canvass included assigned spots for painting plus community areas. The “creative crusaders” canvass started with a face, sunbeams, trees and clouds and then each painter added their own designs.

“It’s so cool to see it coming together,” said Emma Ehrenthal, a second-year art therapy student and captain of the “creative crusaders” team. “People just went for it and made it way more than I could imagine.”

Birds, dragons, flames and feathers all made appearances in the heavily detailed and brightly colored paintings.

Keeping the painters going were musical performances, a table full of homemade snacks and lots of friends — both the two-legged and four-legged variety. Children also had their own small canvas to paint.

On Sunday afternoon, four people formed an a cappella group that improvised based on the painting, singing to each canvass and even the 40-plus plastic tubs of different colors of paint on a table.

“It’s magic,” said Sue Wallingford, a Naropa professor who spearheads the art marathon and Cambodia trip. “I’m so, so proud of what they’ve done.”

The top three donors to the fundraiser will get the finished canvases, which will be on display for the next week. The deadline to donate is Nov. 18.

For the Cambodia trip, the plan is to spend most of the time working with the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, which helps victims of the sex trade. The main goal is to teach the clinical some of the basics of art therapy and to use art themselves for self-care.

They’ll also work with an organization where women make and sell handicrafts, helping them make a craft, buying them and then bringing them back here to sell.

“Students get an amazing experience,” Wallingford said. “We want to really try to make a difference in the world.”

To donate, go here.


Thursday, November 7,2013

Painting a path to Cambodia

Art therapists raise funds, awareness on sex trafficking

By Elizabeth Miller

Photo courtesy of NCAS-I
The 2012 48-Hour Marathon

For 48 hours straight, a paintbrush will be on canvas at the Naropa Community Art Studio. The two-day painting marathon, which begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, is to raise money to support the Naropa Community Art Studio-International in its third annual trip to Cambodia to practice art therapy with survivors of sex trafficking.

Art therapy students and their supporters will paint on three canvases, one for each of three teams, earning pledges for every hour they paint. At the end of the event, they should have completed three paintings of mandalas, a Sanskirt term for “sacred circle” used to describe a meditation aid used by Buddhists and Hindus across Asia, to be auctioned.

The event’s aim is to both raise funds to support that trip and build community awareness on the ongoing issue of sex trafficking.

In May 2014, Sue Wallingford, assistant professor at Naropa University’s art therapy program and faculty advisor of the Naropa Community Art Studio- International, and a group of art therapy students — some of whom applied to the university’s art therapy master’s degree with an eye on this program — will travel to Cambodia to volunteer with nongovernmental organizations that serve survivors of sex trafficking and domestic violence.

The trip is an opportunity to bring sex trafficking survivors and the local staff working with them, the art therapy techniques that can teach the kind of skills often stripped through trauma, skills like confidence, problem solving and self-care. But it’s also a chance for art therapy students to put themselves to the test.

“This is truly a service learning project — there’s equal weight given to both,” Wallingford says. “It’s equally important that the students learn so much about the culture, how to treat people of a different culture, but first and foremost, how they show up for something like that.”

Art therapy master’s student Michelle Bosco noticed the Cambodia program when she was applying to Naropa, and has attended symposiums on sex trafficking and focused her academic work on survivors of trauma to prepare. She’s even participated in previous painting marathons. This year, she’ll be painting for her own way to Cambodia.

“I feel like I’m just really, fully into this project,” says Bosco. “I really just believe in it and what it’s done after hearing stories from Sue and other students on what art can do and how it can heal.”

“I think to go somewhere and really just be there, be in this discomfort,” Bosco says. “Even though it will be extremely challenging … I’d like to take the risk and see what’s there.”

The chance to go to Cambodia will force these students to dig into the fundamental abilities of being present to support someone on his or her journey, whether you can speak the same language or really comprehend that person’s experience of violence and poverty.

“We’ll be learning not just to be better therapists, but better people,” says Kelsey Butler, also an art therapy student at Naropa.

Like so many things in the hands of a community of people, perhaps particularly therapists, the canvases are expected to transform radically over the course of the 48-hour painting marathon.

“Trust the process,” says Wallingford, who has watched over the course of two previous painting marathons how canvases can go from chaos to form to chaos and back to form again.

“Everybody’s mark is still there, even though it might be underneath other marks,” she says. “It’s trusting that we will be able to offer something useful … and that the relationship between human beings is powerful enough we can create something.”

The NCAS-I 48-Hour Painting Marathon beings at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, and runs until 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the Nalanda Campus, 6287 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder. The public is welcome between 8 a.m. and midnight each day. Shifts are still open and can be signed up for by email at ncas-i@naropa.edu. Donations can be made at www.crowdrise.com/NCAS-IPaintingMarathon2013.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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