News & Notes 641:Create & Connect – Expressive Arts Therapy Symposium report

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641 icon.jpg   News & Notes 641
19 March 2016

Create & Connect – Expressive Arts Therapy Symposium report

Pavilion of Tibetan Culture & Sankalpa Art Center, Auroville – February 19-21, 2016

A program hosted and organized by Aurovilians Krupa Jhaveri and Iyyappan Jayamurthy of Sankalpa (a sub-unit of Thamarai), in collaboration with Prasad Family Foundation and Manahkshetra Foundation. It was a pioneer gathering of almost 40 art therapists, expressive art therapists, counselors, psychologists, teachers and interested individuals from around the world.

The unique gathering included a panel with international and local presenters who have been engaged in a monthly online discussion forum for over a year – including Chennai-native Sangeeta Prasad (Art Therapist, Virginia), Susan Ainlay Anand (Art Therapist, Mississippi), Jennie Kristel (Expressive Arts Therapist, Vermont), Oihika Chakrabharthi (Art Therapist, Kolkata), Brinda Jacob-Janvrin (Dance Therapist, Bangalore) and Krupa Jhaveri (Art Therapist, Auroville). These facilitators who all have extensive experience working and teaching in India and abroad led a series of experiential-based workshops through various art forms including affirmation dolls, drama therapy, playback theatre, clay and found object sculpture, authentic movement and sound exploration. Our program included transformative and layered experiences for the participants, along with valuable networking in a historic moment for the representatives of these fields finally coming together in person here. We also hosted a Confluence meeting of core art and expressive art therapists working throughout India to form the first Indian Art Therapy Association.

Bill & Livia Vanaver of The Vanaver Caravan from upstate NY brought children from Aikiyam School to help us celebrate and welcome the joy of expression together, and shared interactive song and dance at our community art exchange to inaugurate the Sankalpa Art Center in the International Zone – which included village children and women from Kottakarai and Edyanchavadi in our programs over the last 5 years, participants of the workshop from all across India, Russia and France, volunteers and visitors, Auroville community members and AVI representatives supporting our ongoing work – all dancing, singing and creating art together! Our mobile Art Cart and Sankalpa products supporting our ongoing work were featured throughout the event.

The program was a true manifestation of the Sankalpa vision to facilitate human unity through art, to bridge barriers and equalize opportunities for expression and connection especially between the villages and Auroville, and to become a hub for many future opportunities for insight, growth, healing and exchange through art. Sankalpa continues to follow the guiding words of The Mother’s dream: “Beauty in all its artistic forms, painting, sculpture, music, literature, would be equally accessible to all; the ability to share in the joy it brings would be limited only by the capacities of each one and not by social or financial position.” The realization of the Sankalpa Art Center is the manifestation of a dream supporting the wider dream and needs of this community, a labor of love and service to those seeking art as a tool for deeper awareness and more expansive connection.

For individual/group art therapy session inquiries or more information, please contact Krupa at krupa (at) and visit and

Submitted by Krupa Jhaveri