TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2020 – A Day of Giving
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 – A Day of Giving.
I am very excited to announce the expansion of the board of Aurora Studio & Gallery and would like to introduce you to our newest board and advisory members. I anticipate some dynamic work, community outreach and involvement from this talented crew.
Catherine Gabe, a Minnesota native, began her career as a journalist. She was a reporter at newspapers in Minnesota, Iowa, Massachusetts and Ohio. For a time, she was the Health Writer at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. Over the years she has worked in marketing, radio, television and as a freelance writer. She shadowed a class of Early College high school students for a year as part of a grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She became a Certified Prevention Specialist coordinating community coalitions to reduce underage substance use and risky behaviors among youth. That job included public speaking, presentations, data collection and grant writing. She is proud to say she is a person with long-term recovery, which means she has not had to use a drink or a drug since 1986. She also has lifetime experience dealing with mental health issues such as depression. Ms. Gabe has a seat on the Executive Board.
Catherine moved to Asheville in September 2019. She works at Hopey and Company in the warehouse helping in the bulk and grading departments. She is the mother of three young adults and four parakeets.
Annie Gustely is an artist and teacher. She uses her role as a Creative Grief Practitioner to support people in times of loss, grief and life transitions. She retired in 2012 from a 30 year career as a school counselor and educator with Asheville City Schools and Akron Public Schools. Annie’s art practice always found a way to weave itself into her counseling of students and into her classroom.
Ms. Gustely has a seat on the Executive Board. Her goal as a board member for Aurora Studio and Gallery is to support a program that provides a safe space, materials and time for members of the community to create, express themselves and heal.
Maribeth Collins – is on the Community Development Committee, info forthcoming.
Drew Hanagan– is on the Media Development Committee, info forthcoming.
And Our New Advisor
Evie Lindemann, ATR-BC, ATCS, LMFT, is a licensed marriage & family therapist and a board certified art therapist, and until recently she has been an Associate Professor in the Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling Program at Albertus Magnus College. She also taught at Yale University’s Sherwin B. Nuland Summer Institute of Bioethics for seven years. Deeply influenced by the teachings of Meher Baba, Evie has lived and worked in Afghanistan, Israel, and India. She has implemented humanitarian art therapy projects in India, Jamaica, and the US. She is active in hospice care, teaches courses on mortality, and uses the visual arts to facilitate the inward journey. Additionally, she has worked with combat veterans who have complex trauma, using art therapy as a modality for healing. She has studied the Jungian tradition extensively and is certified as an Archetypal Pattern Analyst. She is a printmaking artist whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. For some years, Evie has worked with mandalas as a symbol of wholeness, has taught a system of symbols and colors (the MARI) to clinicians around the world, and offers consultations to individuals and groups interested in depth exploration using the MARI as a tool of integration. She also served as a board member on one of the oldest arts organizations on the East coast, the New Haven Paint and Clay Club. Ms. Lindemann will be Aurora Studio & Gallery’s clinical consultant.
Members of Aurora Studio would also like to share their gratitude to Rhonda Davis who is leaving the board after three years of service. Ms. Davis was extremely supportive to the programming aspect of Aurora Studio in a multitude of ways. She assisted in hanging many art shows and helped guide the principles of the creative process that takes place during our workshops. Ms. Davis will continue to be an integral part of Aurora Studio through volunteering in the future. The board would like to thank her and hopes to be able to honor her work in the future by offering the STARSTUFF SCHOLARSHIP. This will be an annual scholarship to a member of Aurora Studio who is interested in participating in a community based art program, workshop or class. If you would like to donate to this fund, you may do so by making your contribution through our DONATE TODAY page and writing STARSTUFF in the comment box.
I first started getting involved with Aurora Studio & Gallery in the fall of 2018. I volunteered a few times before my internship started in january of 2019. I worked with three other interns for the spring semester of 2019, then continued on as the solo intern from fall 2019 to summer 2020. As my relationship with Aurora continues post-graduation, I am stepping into even more creative roles for the organization. I’m excited to share this story with the next wave of potential interns as well as interested volunteers! I found a place that fits perfectly for my skills and passions to be used for a small, heartfelt, and community-based non-profit.
Our program serves people from all sorts of backgrounds, often having faced life challenges, sometimes participants may experience food insecurity. One of my main goals has always been to “bulk up” the meals we serve for lunch during the program. I connect with local food banks to use food that would otherwise become food waste; I plan and make balanced meals for everyone and offer take-home grocery bags of veggies and non-perishable staples. This has proved to be really rewarding for me, a chance to service people directly, to nourish in the most literal sense.
An aspect of attending Aurora in any capacity, as a volunteer, paid worker, or participant, is the amazing exposure and accessibility to art and an art community. We all get to practice new mediums with local artists, and the group dynamics provides a safe container to express creatively. There is a binding thread between all involved- it is that we enjoy creating something new, learning and appreciating beauty together. The connections with the artists, those in the program and those visiting to teach, is definitely the most important aspect to me. We all come from diverse backgrounds and are able to connect over our art in such genuine ways. In addition to seeing the demonstrations of new forms and techniques, Lori, the director, has collected lots of donations of art supplies so materials are always available for people to try and make things to keep, gift, or sell and make profit. Specifically with the roles I fulfill, I also get more of a foothold into the local art scene by connecting with local gallery spaces to schedule shows and sell merchandise.
Learning the in’s and out’s of group facilitation in a therapeutic setting and non-profit organization planning has been invaluable for my interests. Ive been able to practice, with guidance from a professional, how to facilitate a creative group with a strong focus of support and inspiration. This has acted like a safe womb for me to experience myself in that role and to explore and get feedback on what worked for the group and for myself. I’ve been brainstorming big-picture and long-term visions for us a lot during quarantine, like expanding the food program, getting touched into more sections of the population, and the ideal space for us. I also participate in event planning initiatives, direct and indirect fundraising, marketing for art and merchandise, and very soon this month i will be attending the board meeting to learn about the grants related to our mission and other planning and budget discussions. This upcoming board meeting will be another milestone for me within this organization, one that will look and feel slightly different because of current Covid-19 restrictions, but nonetheless another step i am excited to take with this community. It’s been great so far ~ I would love to talk to anyone hoping to get involved about how you see that happening and how we can collaborate in beautiful ways!
One of the most touching parts about hosting Aurora Studio & Gallery is getting to know its participating artists. It seems as though we attract the kindest of the kinds. I have felt this sentiment in the past, but now during this pandemic, it feels like plush velvet.
Starting with one of our volunteers, Kyley Shurrona. Ms. Shurrona creates portraits of individuals who have been affected by a health issue, when she sells those portraits, she donates a portion of the proceeds to an organization that supports individuals and their families. She began doing this at seventeen, at eighteen Shurrona is the embodiment of compassion.
And take Autumn, who at the beginning of the pandemic started making masks for family, friends and community. She then called me to ask if anyone needed extra food as she was putting together care packages for people who needed them.
Last week, I heard from a former participant who was doing the same, helping distribute food to others. People who are taking their own personal resources and sharing. In a world that seems to be full of greed, power and the mine, mine, mine mentality it is heartwarming to know the real truth is ours, ours, ours, let’s share. It has been a powerful for me to observe this love from so many who themselves are financially struggling and trying to make do with less in order to help another person.
I also have to mention artist Joyce Thornburg in this note on giving. A couple of months ago, at the start of the pandemic, Joyce donated a car load of art supplies. Since Aurora Studio has been closed, we have taken those supplies and created anti-stress art kits for participants. So, over the weeks, I have distributed art packages and food to those whom we have supported.
On some days, I am not clear on what the future holds for Aurora Studio. We run on a shoe string budget, which means the leadership I have offered also comes from giving. Right now, some bills are on hold. However, creating a program like Aurora Studio has taught me so much about the capacity that people have to share with others. I feel assured that we will continue and the community will be there to support us every brush stroke on the canvas.
If you are able to give, donations can be made through our donation page at: www.aurorastudio-gallery.com/donate. We also continue to have our on line store at: https://www.charity.ebay.com/charity/Aurora-Studio-%26-Gallery%2C-Inc./2814121
While most of our participants have not been able to connect with each other in person, we have been with each other in spirit and the spirit of giving.
Lori Greenberg, Board Chair/Founder
At this time of uncertainty, ART IS MORE IMPORTANT than ever. Read on:
The month of May marks Aurora Studio’s eighth year since its inception. And as part of our anniversary, we are asking that you help us celebrate by visiting our on line auction on the eBay for Charity Web-site. The web-site has been set up to help our artists who are part of Aurora Studio, a supportive art space for artists who have been impacted by mental health issues, addiction and or homelessness.
On the eBay for Charity Site for Aurora, you will see original artwork, art books, T-shirts and other miscellaneous items. Scroll down the page on this site to see the items. We will update the site with several more items in the coming weeks and can arrange local pick ups. The link is:
While groups from Aurora Studio have not been able to meet during this pandemic, here is what we have done. Volunteers from Aurora Studio have delivered care packages of art supplies to many participants to help alleviate stress during this time of quarantine. Phone calls, to offer a friendly “Hello in there”, during his time of greater isolation is meaningful to all who are homebound. We have worked with other local organizations and hosted regular Zoom Groups and organized a couple of outreach groups to youth.
I am hoping that you are all managing to do things that are nurturing to you at this time. I understand that this period has been a struggle for us all, emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially. This is why Aurora Studio & Gallery has continued to provide as much support as possible over the last two months and into the future.
We will all continue to heal through ongoing conversation, support and love.
Thank you so much,
During this pandemic volunteers from Aurora Studio continue to reach out to its Artists. Over the last two weeks participants have received care packages of art supplies to help alleviate stress during this time of quarantine. All have gotten phone calls, having a friendly “Hello in there”, during his time of greater isolation is meaningful to all of us who are homebound.
Last week, Aurora Studio partnered with the Youth Villages Life Set Program to host two on line art groups. The intention of the groups was to come together and help reduce stress through discussion and art. The groups were co-facilitated by Kyley Shurrona and Lori Greenberg and focused on lessons that we are all learning from the pandemic. Below is the list of lessons that the group decided they would like to take with them into the future as part of this experience.
- Learning to slow down.
- Learning how to be alone.
- Learning how to live with myself.
- Becoming more self aware.
- Realizing that not everything goes your way and that it’s good to find a balance.
- Learning how to listen to others.
- Appreciating the meditative quality/time.
- Learning to express one’s feelings through art.
- Witnessing all the care people are sharing with others.
- Appreciating the little things.
- Working on patience.
- Remembering to reach out to others – especially those who are homeless.
- Remembering to connect with others, especially elders.
- Trying to stay active (and away from too much movie/tv/video/computer habits).
- Creating balance – looking at self care, eating well, exercise.
- Becoming a person of substance.
- Using this time of isolation to rethink and grow.
- Appreciating the simple things, simple moments, being able to hug.
As I look at this list, I believe each of us can find a personal lesson from these youth, ages 17-21. It helps me feel like the future for our world is in good hands, reading their messages brings me hope.
Aurora Studio board members and volunteers, plan to take this time of quarantine to continue reaching out to members of our community to help keep with our mission. That mission is to provide a supportive art studio for artists who have experienced mental health issues, addiction or homelessness. Aurora Studio offers a safe environment with facilitators and visiting artists that enhances personal growth through the visual arts. We are utilizing this time to incorporate ways in which we can reach varying segments of the community and build a greater infrastructure.
If you are interested in learning more about what we do, I encourage you to contact me, Lori Greenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you are interested in donating supplies, email me. If you would like to make a donation, one can be made on line at: www.aurorastudio-gallery.com/donate .
We will all continue to heal through ongoing conversation, support and love.
Thank you so much,
Lori Greenberg, M.Ed, LCAS
Board Chair/Founder of Aurora Studio
I am hoping that this note finds you well during these stressful times. There have been pandemics before and we will get through this if we do our best to take care.
For most of us in the U.S. it means getting quiet, living more simply, staying away from others for a short time.
For other people in the U. S. this task is not so simple. Many people need to continue to work for fear of eviction or lack of food. For others having a place to get meals is now more of a challenge, soup kitchens that provided congregate meals aren’t serving (although many are offering food boxes for take out). For others missing the support of community can enhance anxiety and fear, possibly leading to relapse. Buses are not running or taking few riders, to be “safer”, while completing their limited routes.
Photos taken from a YOUTH GROUP this past January. Kyley Shurrona, Aurora Volunteer was the Instructing Artist.
Pandemics happen, thankfully NOT very frequently, not even in our lifetimes. Every day I have been thinking about what I can do to help. I am now in a higher risk age group, so as hard as it has been, I haven’t gone into the community to reach out and do some of the things I had done not so long ago.
As Board President and coordinator for Aurora Studio this is what volunteers and I have done. We have been calling all of our participants weekly to check in, see how they are doing and insure they are all set with food and medications. I have hosted an on line art group with our friends at Seek Healing. I am working on future planning and last week hired Aurora Studio’s first time ever Grant Writer.
Making art during turbulent times is one way to navigate. There are times in each of our lives when we truly don’t know which way the boat is heading. All we can do is observe and document our passage. As humans, we can do this through the arts, it is one of the many gifts the arts bring us.
In September, I left my job in order to set the sails for Aurora, for the program to become more sustainable. Plans for sustainability include one and a half time paid staff (as we are now primarily volunteers, myself included) and a space of our own (we now use a local community center one day a week).
During these times of financial uncertainty, I am asking each and every one of you to do your part, be the helper that Fred Rogers talked about. Whether you donate to your local food pantry, hospital, homeless shelter…help in whatever way you can.
(Buncombe County Relief link: https://www.buncombecounty.org/countycenter/news-detail.aspx?id=18584)
And, if you want to support a program that promotes individuals with life’s challenges turning them into art and creating community, of course Aurora Studio will accept donations. Donations can be made at: www.aurorastudio-gallery.com/donate
We truly are in this together. I wish you and yours safe passage (and remember to wash your hands!).
M.Ed, LCAS, Founder and Board President