Healing Art

Our HEALING ART classes have been proven to reduce stress while promoting a greater understanding how our enviorment, inner thoughts, and feelings take their toll on our well being. The process known as Astract Visualization was developed by Angela Tripi-Weiss, and implimented with rescue recovery workers, and servivers of 911 with great success. Those who have gone through the AVP process feel the release of tention, and a better understanding of how to take charge of reducing every day stress in their lives. Read more about the Abstract Visuaization Process below the mural article.

For more info contact Angela Tripi-Weiss.


Read about the Healing Art mural project as reported in the Staten Island Advance News Paper:


Mural at African Refuge Center tells the story of a community striving to come together

Sunday, October 29, 2006



In the 1990s, thousands of Liberian refugees left their war-ravaged country and settled in a volatile enclave of Staten Island. The Park Hill section of Clifton is a community often measured in crime stats. It^s a community of diverse, fragmented populations and estranged generations.

But today, it^s also a community striving to come together, where refugees find ways to deal with atrocities they have faced and children come together to build a positive place for themselves.

Today, Yeahnee Kpueh bends forward with concentration, filling in the final green details of a mural: Flecks on a thatch-roofed home under the fanned and wind-swept arms of an African Acacia tree.

The village scene, framed by hands coming together, and the familiar, brick facades of PS 57 and the Park Hill apartments, is part of a mural that expresses a different vision of the neighborhood -- the Park Hill residents wish for and hope to create. The painting, completed earlier this month on the wall the African Refuge community drop-in center, tells a story about Yeahnee and her neighbors, about resilience and a community striving to come together. This is a dangerous place to live, where you have to be careful," said Yeahnee, a Liberian-born teen-ager and one of a score of Park Hill youths who came to paint. "This kind of [art project] teaches us to surround ourselves with people who are positive, to come together for a higher goal."

AN URBAN SANCTUARY Established in 2003 as part of Columbia University^s International Trauma Studies Program, African Refuge is a sort of urban sanctuary, offering referrals and an array of services from its threadbare offices at 185 Park Hill Ave. On a small budget, the center provides employment assistance, computer access, youth programs and more, helping refugees who fled from atrocities and advocating for the community at large. All projects are run under the soft-spoken direction of Jacob Massaquoi, who gave up on a career in nuclear physics and committed himself to human rights activism after he survived torture in his native Liberia.

Each year, some of the organization's initiatives are implemented by interns in Columbia's trauma studies certificate program; graduates Angela Tripi-Weiss, assisted by Cynthia Grgiic and Connie Viana completed the Healing mural project.

"The mission was to make the project accessible to [the divided groups and generations of Park Hill]," said Ms. Tripi-Weiss, a healing art specialist, "to show that the whole community had the same goals for themselves, for their children and their children^s children."

Ms. Tripi-Weiss joined her colleagues and some 30 participants at the Bethel Worship Center in Stapleton for the first phase of the mural project.

The students asked the group -- mostly Liberians of varying ages -- to think about the places they left behind, what they found when they came to the United States and what they wanted for themselves and their communities.

Then, they were asked to draw.

Some drew images of violence they had witnessed in Africa and on Staten Island, and school yard scenes of inter-ethnic conflict.

From a pile of drawings and the group's consciousness emerged a composite image of Park Hill and a village in Africa, which was painted by children and teen-agers in the community center.

Youngsters milled in and out of the small rooms at African Refuge throughout the afternoon, to paint or to contribute to a general atmosphere of play.

The smallest children dug into toy baskets, pushing cars and pulling doll strollers in the center^s cramped computer room, and used markers to draw youthful fantasies of royalty, affluence and household pets.

Youths ranging in age from 10 years old and up took turns mixing paints and collectively finished the mural that had been partially sketched in pencil on the wall.

"This is the village where everybody is mixing together," said 10-year-old Kiome Freeman, referring to the centerpiece of the mural, where a painted dirt path snaked into the horizon. "This is the path to a better world. To get there: Stop the violence. Stop fighting. Stop shooting. Stop killing."


"Fighting among youth comes from a lack of education about culture," observed Massaquoi. "To help children learn who they are, they need to learn tolerance."

Clifton Manneh, 12, recalled moments in the history of the neighborhood that had broken his heart, including a shooting in front his building -- also at 185 Park Hill -- that occurred several years ago.

The glass panes in the lobby of the building appear to be riddled with bullet holes.

With wounds outside still raw and gaping, residents heal within.

The Home Depot in Clifton donated the supplies used to create the mural at the local drop-in center. For further information about African Refuge, or to support its programs, call 718-701-4055.

Tevah Platt is a news reporter for the Advance. She may be reached at platt@saidvance.com.


© 2006 Staten Island Advance

© 2006 SILive.com All Rights Reserved.



From: ARTSINACTIONVAP@aol.com [mailto:ARTSINACTIONVAP@aol.com]
Sent: Wed 11/15/2006 11:22 PM
To: Platt, Tevah
Subject: african refuge mural article



The Abstract Visualization Process © (AVP) as well as other Healing Art modalities are available on an individual or group basis. As a 501C3, we can be contracted by other organization who are interested in our services. All Arts In Action VAP's Healing services can be provided at our location on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

The Abstract Visualization Process ©


The Abstract Visualization Process gives voice to the amygdala (located on the right side of the brain). This is the part of the brain responsible for storing visual memory, and emotions. When people experience a traumatic event, the memory of the event sometimes becomes trapped and disorganized in the amygdala. This is a natural defense system to keep painful emotions at bay. The result is that the left side of the brain (verbal side)is unable to encode and process the event. The individual finds him or herself unable to fully recall or articulate the experience, or access the emotions connected with it. In order to heal from the trauma stemming from the negative event and treat recurring pain and disability stemming from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an individual must first be able to verbalize what has happened to him/her. People who suffer from PTSD have made great strides in their recovery through the Abstract Visualization Process (AVP). The trapped and disorganized traumatic visual memories are shifted from the amygdala to the left side of the brain during the AVP process, thereby enabling the person to recognize and organize their thoughts and then verbalize their traumatic experience. It also works for the stress that acumulates over time from life's daily issues.