Dear Friends,

“I get by with a little help from my friends…” is an important mantra for those who are impacted by mental health or substance use. It also holds true for Aurora Studio & Gallery. I am so very grateful to be able to write you this letter about the fact that we have been able to resume our programming. Many of you are aware that we needed to close our studio space in the Refinery in August. As soon as that message went out, we were contacted by our dear friends at NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Western Carolina, who have offered to share their space in downtown Asheville with us. So, a big thanks to NAMI, their generosity has saved our studio! In October, we began to recommence workshops and it feels GREAT!

We soon will be restarting our weekly workshops for individuals in recovery from substance use. And, we are hosting several classes once a month. These once a month workshops include: 

  • A workshop for those with lived experience (of trauma/mental health). 
  • A women’s workshop for women who have lived experience (of trauma/mental health).
  • A workshop open to members of NAMI.

The reason we are moving ahead is simple, the expressive arts build community and are a key to tapping in to wellness. Aurora Studio is my personal gift to our community, to hold the space needed for art-making, conversation and friendship. It is based on the feedback from others and through their testimonials that we persevere. 

One participant wrote this, “There are so few resources to help folks struggling with mental illness. Most of them come with a huge stigma and reinforce the role of “patient” and the shame that comes with it. I loved coming to art class. I felt like a human being grappling with life challenges in a safe, supportive community instead of a broken freak that no one knows how to fix.”

As we rebuild, we hope to be able to restart our Visiting Artists Program. This program invites local artists to come and teach in a variety of mediums. It is a means for area artists to meet Aurora Artists, sharing art-making techniques. This collaboration also builds bridges between the local arts community and individuals at Aurora; debunking myths of mental illness and substance use disorder.

Aurora Studio has never had a budget for salaried staff. Instead, we offer a stipend for those who regularly come and facilitate programming. Like the support from NAMI, your donations are an integral part of  what keeps us keeping on. 

Please consider giving. This year we would like to offer 10% of our fund drive to NAMI WC to pay it forward.

Below is the cost for one class, when we have full funding. $12,000/year supports one weekly class. If we receive greater funding, we can increase the number of classes we host. 

Giving Tree of Life

Costs  for One Class

Group Facilitator/Coordinator  =            $80/week

Peer Support/Assistant $45/week

Visiting Artists = $100/visit

Misc./Art Supplies = $25/week

TOTAL = $250/week

Donations are tax deductible and may be made through this web-site on our donate page:

or by sending a check to: 

Aurora Studio & Gallery, PO Box 2094, Asheville, NC 28802.

We will also be part of the Give! Local campaign this year, if you would like to donate through that giving opportunity.

With gratitude,

Lori Greenberg, M.Ed, LCAS

Founder, Board Chair

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