In 2000, she spearheaded the ArtReach Foundation in an effort to help people heal with art after traumatizing events, both globally and domestically.
“Our domestic programs have been focused on helping post-Katrina children and adults, and we have been dedicated to our returning military with post-traumatic stress injuries following their return from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Anderson said.
Now, she said she hopes to bring the foundation to Newtown, Conn., to help grieving children and adults affected by the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
“[Victims’] siblings’ lives are forever changed. Who they are as young adults was transformed,” Anderson said. “You’re never going to forget it, but what you can do is build on top of it and heal. … The most ideal situation is to be able to find hope.”
Foundation workshops include integration of various arts known, including drawing, painting, movement and music drama, creative writing and guided meditation.
“It’s interwoven. The trauma does not have to come out in words,” she said. “It’s safe, more distant than having to talk about something. It’s a really good approach for children.”
She said she hopes to bring the foundation to Newtown for a series of workshops in the near future, as well as a dance performance in memory of the victims, in collaboration with A Youth Dance Ensemble, their partner from Tennessee.
“We will work to raise money for art supplies that will go to the community,” she said. “But it’s very important to be invited in. There are wonderful agencies existing there and professionals helping to heal the community, but we have 14 years of experience, and if the opportunity arises we will respond.”