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PAC shows art therapy pieces

January 4, 2019

Therapy comes in various forms.

Prairie Arts Center Executive Director Holly Carlini teaches art therapy classes at the Rape and Domestic Abuse facility.

This alternative therapy class is held once a month and offers sexual assault victims a safe place to explore, create and connect, Carlini said.

The students’ work will be on display at the Prairie Arts Center through Jan. 31.

“We’re going on our third year of teaching these classes,” Carlini said. “They are art therapy classes that are paid for by grants. It’s for women and children who have suffered sexual assault of some sort.”

Carlini said there are kids from 15 years old through adults.

The classes “are designed for people to come into a safe space,” Carlini said. “It’s a place where they can just let go and feel like they’re in a secure environment.”

The participants work with various mediums including painting, jewelry making or whatever Carlini thinks will be fun, she said.

“They learn it’s OK to step outside of their box,” Carlini said. “They sit down and create, maybe speak or not speak, or laugh or talk about things, and just have a chance to have fun.”

After every class, Carlini said, everybody has a sense of accomplishment.

“It gives them a chance to connect and open up and maybe relate to others,” Carlini said. “I think just that process alone is really great.”

One of Carlini’s favorite stories is about a teenager who came to the classes but did not speak to anyone.

“After several months, one day I was busy with something and some new people came to class,” Carlini said. “This young lady jumped right up and helped the new people get started. I was just stunned that she felt safe enough to finally open up.”

Carlini said she tries to do something a little different each month.

“The creative arts can help survivors of all ages re-establish a sense of connection,” Carlini said. “It also allows them to reconnect to society, while providing a sense of empowerment.”

For more information on the RDAP classes, contact Carlini at the Prairie Arts Center, 308-534-5121, or RDAP, 308-532-0624.

The Prairie Arts Center, 416 N. Jeffers St., is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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