MANHATTAN – The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan boasts a permanent collection of local art, including paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, glass works and more, as well as rotating exhibits throughout the year. The museum, which offers free admission, aims to encourage visitors to reflect on personal experiences, a sense of place and the world of knowledge, according to its website.
In addition to housing a small, but impressive collection of local art, the Beach Museum also is home to special programs, called “Healing Arts” events, that serve Soldiers and their Families.
“We wanted to support military Families and provide them with services that were beneficial to them,” said Kathrine Schlageck, senior educator, Beach Museum, who helped develop the Healing Arts events in partnership with the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families, Parent to Parent and the Warrior Transition Battalion.
“We’re looking at the arts as providing services and healing and a safe place for Families to be,” Schlageck said.
Specifically focused on the military community, the hands-on workshops were offered for the first time during fall 2012. Each Healing Arts event tied into an exhibit at the Beach Museum and included a tour and activity.
“We really wanted there to be a healing element to it, but also a social (event), a time (when) spouses or spouses and their kids could have an enjoyable time (and) get together,” said Briana Nelson Goff, director, Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families.
The workshops included a spouse night, as well as a date night for couples.
“Each workshop was unique,” Schlageck said.
“The spouse workshop was wonderful because the spouses had a chance to be with each other and talk about things that were going on in their lives and meaningful for them,” she said. “They had a chance to have fellowship.”
Every adult-focused event also featured a separate children’s workshop, so that parents didn’t have to worry about their kids, according to Schlageck.
“We read books. We did crafts.
There was a relaxed atmosphere, and we had activities for the children downstairs in the craft room,” said Jennifer Dixon, Parent to Parent Cadre, which facilitated the children’s workshops.
“The date night was just kind of magic,” Schlageck said. “I think the part that impressed me the most was how hard the men worked on the project for their wives. It was just really sweet,” she added.
“We have some who attended every single session, and they just really enjoyed it,” Goff said.
Goff said she hopes to reach more Soldiers and Families during the spring 2013 workshops.
“We really want folks to attend, particularly because it’s geared for our military Families,” Goff said. “This is another outlet; this is another opportunity that our community provides and just another way that we want to support our military Families.”
But Goff said she understands the idea of alternative means of expression can be daunting for some people.
“I laugh about my own lack of artistic ability,” she said. “I think for some people, if they haven’t ever been involved with doing art of any kind, there may be some hesitancy, or thinking, ‘I’m not very artistic.’ We want to emphasize the role that arts can have in people’s healing and connecting.”
Whether by facilitating a deeper connection with Family or helping Families heal, “we want people to learn that art can be a way to enrich your lives in whatever way you need,” Schlageck said.
The dates for upcoming workshops are Jan. 24, April 11 and May 2. The Jan. 24 workshop is a children’s workshop led by Parent to Parent. The other workshops, geared toward adults, will tie into the “Museum of Wonder” exhibit and will include a separate children’s workshop, so adults can participate without worrying about their children.
“It’s a wonderful, small little gem of a museum,” said Blair Benz, Parent to Parent Cadre. “This is a neat opportunity for new experiences.”
For more information about the Beach Museum, visit the website at http://beach.k-state.edu/. For more information about the upcoming Healing Arts or other events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Julie Fiedler
1st Inf. Div. Post