Bulletin

My Giving Story

Lori & Maia

It is the time of year where the days get shorter. We begin to look inward at what the year has brought. Attached you will find my entry to the My Giving Story Contest. I would LOVE if you clicked on the attached link to read and then “VOTE” for my story. The more votes, the more likely Aurora Studio will be at receiving an award for its work. Thank you. https://binkd.co/kRC1S

A NOTE from Lori Greenberg

Aurora Studio & Gallery is proud to announce that it has added several new members to its Board of Directors. Recent newcomers to the board include: Carol Anders, Kelsey Holland and Barbara Kimbrell. Each of them are excited to get started, the following are excerpts of who they are and what they have had to say about Aurora Studio & Gallery. 

Carol Anders retired in 2006, from a 20 plus year career with Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, a national relocation and real estate company. Her duties included training real estate agents and sales managers in selling skills, and using franchise products & services. In addition, she was a business consultant to many of mid-sized companies, coaching them in recruiting and team development practices. As a member of the Aurora Board she would like to orchestrate some fundraisers and community awareness events and exhibits, as well as, assist with programming when needed.

Kelsey Holland is originally from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and holds a bachelors and a masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. She currently works as a LifeSet Specialist Manager at Youth Villages, where she assists youth who are either coming out of the foster system, have a mental health diagnosis or just need a little extra support to navigate into adulthood, with the end goal being independent living. She has an 11 year old lab and lives with her boyfriend in Asheville. She takes kickboxing classes and enjoys hiking and staying active. While Holland says she is not an artist, she is a performing artist who has had a passion about the arts since she was five. She is enthusiastic about integrating the arts with mental health supports. She has also seen firsthand how Aurora Studio can help someone who is struggling. Holland plans to assist networking and event planning.

Barbara Kimbrell is recently semi-retired and works part-time at Second Springs Counseling doing DWI assessments. She has her Masters in Social Work and is a licensed clinical addiction specialist. She is an author and is currently writing her second book, “Paper Planes”. She describes herself as “an artist-in-the-making” and is putting together a ten series mindful art therapy workshop. She has worked over 30 years in human services and most recently was the substance use disorder counselor at the Women’s Prison in Swannanoa. More importantly, she is a person with a dual diagnosis: substance use disorder/addiction and depression. She openly shares that she has her own history and struggles, which included hospitalization and shock treatments. She is a “thriver” and believes the arts and having a positive support network were a huge part of her ability to manage issues and create change her life. She believes that people are much more than their diagnoses AND sometimes can even use them to aid in being more compassionate, empathetic and creative individuals. A friend of Kimbrell’s volunteers with Aurora Studio and told her about the need for volunteers, who was intrigued by the possibilities. Kimbrell then met Lori Greenberg (the board chair and founder of Aurora Studio) and became wrapped up in her vision and energy which convinced Kimbrell that this was something to which she wanted to commit. She believes in volunteering having done so all her life. It is her way of making amends and giving back.

Founder of Aurora Studio & Gallery, Lori Greenberg, says she is thrilled to be working with these talented individuals (as well as current board members; Jesse Davis and Rhonda Davis, no relation). Aurora Studio is a supportive art space for individuals who have been impacted by mental health needs, addiction and/or homelessness. The program is in its seventh year of hosting weekly half day workshops and is routing for expansion. 

Greenberg says she has witnessed the profound positive impact that the visual arts play in the lives of its participants. “There is a powerful synergy that fills the room when people make art together in a supportive atmosphere”. 

For more than six years, Greenberg has been hosting the weekly workshops which have space for up to ten participants. The format includes: a support group like structure which invites Visiting Artists from around Buncombe County to come in to teach. Art supplies and lunch are provided and while the program asks participants for donations, no one is turned away due to inability to pay. In fact, most participants are not in the financial position to afford to attend such art workshops. Greenberg adds, that due to the fact that many of the artists who attend Aurora have been impacted by trauma, in one way or another, that making art offers a healing component. The program also creates friendships and breaks the isolation many experience.

Since its inception, Greenberg has had the vision for Aurora Studio & Gallery to have its own space and offer daily workshops. She believes the program is fortunate to be able to be able to use the space in the West Asheville Community Center as it meets the needs for weekly classes. However, her concern is for the future and to be able to offer workshops daily. While most new referrals are through word of mouth, Greenberg would like to see the program become more financially solvent before offering new classes.

Aurora Studio has eased by with mostly volunteers and no salaried staff. Over the last year and a half, Greenberg has begun networking with other nonprofits to provide both therapeutic support to community members and gain sustainability. Like many nonprofits, Aurora Studio depends upon the generosity of its donors. Greenberg is eager to see what the coming year brings with expanding the board, outreach and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Aurora Studio & Gallery, check out their web-site at: www.aurorastudio-gallery.com, if you would like to donate, simply click on the donations page.

From Board President, Lori Greenberg

Thanks to our interns, Venea King, Jackson McMahon, Addie Starbird & Alice Cleary.

I want to take a moment and say THANK YOU to our wonderful UNCA interns, Alice Cleary, Venea King, Jackson McMahon and Addie Starbird who have completed a semester with Aurora Studio. Each has shared their gifts of creativity and kindness with our program.

Over the course of the semester Alice has helped with food donations and prepped our lunches (we have never eaten so well). She has networked with area businesses for future art exhibits AND together with Venea they have both helped to host our groups (welcoming participants and offering poetic readings). Venea has started this blog, sharing photos of artists work and interviews with our Visiting Artists. Jackson has helped create this new web-site (there is still some fine tuning, but we are well on our way, thanks to his work). He also taught a fun class on creating small sculptures with scrap wood. Addie, another artist has helped with graphic arts and is creating an animation from the work of one of our artists. The animation will be released on the web-site come mid-summer so stay tuned!

I wish each and every one of them the best as they either continue with their education or move on into their careers. It is not good-bye however as Addie and Jackson have agreed to come back next year through our Visiting Artist Program. Venea would like to volunteer and Alice has agreed to continue as an Intern again in the fall. We are all very lucky.

There are some other canvases on the easels at Aurora. We are continuing to branch out and network with other organizations. Since this winter we have been partnering with Seek Healing, bringing an art table to their monthly gatherings. We also have been working with WNCAP and are in the process of developing some groups for interested individuals. We are continuing our outreach, so that we may offer more therapeutic art programs starting this fall. If you work at a recovery program and are interested in learning more, contact Lori at lori_aurorastudio@hotmail.com for more info.

Wishing you all the beauty found in creativity and community,

Lori