ACA Arts & Wellness

In 2012, Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) established its cutting-edge Arts & Wellness program, an initiative that reaches out to people in health care settings, as well as to all parts of the community, by combining various forms of the arts with wellness practices. With the generous support of donors, foundations, and sponsors, ACA is at the forefront of producing innovative resources for all ages. The arts are a tool that can enhance quality of life by connecting mind, body, and spirit through creativity.

ACA works with a wide range of artists and partners to establish ongoing dynamic programs to increase the health and wellness of elders, caregivers, veterans, active adults, youth, and artists. These Arts & Wellness ambassadors believe that people of every generation can explore their “inner artists” and learn from one another. The Arts & Wellness ambassadors are a dedicated team of artists, music therapists, art therapists, and volunteers who work together to provide meaningful experiences that emphasize well-being through the arts.

Rooted in the National Center for Creative Aging’s Creative Caregiving initiative, Atlantic Center for the Arts programs include:

  • Making weekly visits to nursing homes and wellness facilities where artists incorporate poetry, painting, and movement into programming, which encourages creativity and enjoyment.
  • Providing support and resources that assist both caregivers and their care recipients to have more substantive experiences together.
  • Offering Arts & Wellness programming to relieve stress, build self-esteem, and enhance the quality of life for lower income communities, young people in foster homes, and at-risk youth in Volusia County.
  • Presenting Arts & Wellness workshops, retreats, and classes that are open to the public, including intuitive painting, expressive journaling, music, and movement.
  • Facilitating team and skill-building workshops for healthcare professionals, and members of educational institutions.
  • Arranging for internship opportunities for medical, arts, and psychology students.

Please contact us to find out more about joining a program, or customizing opportunities for your facility and staff. | 386.423.1753

 For full program details visit our Calendar of Events

ACA Arts & Wellness Ambassadors

Lauraheadshot Laura K. Bohn is a professional artist, art educator and art therapist MAAT. She recently completed her Master’s degree in Art Therapy in December 2014. She has been an art educator for many years and is now an art therapist available for facilitating art and wellness workshops. She has exhibited at the Florida Museum for Women Artists, De Land Museum of Art, IGM gallery in Los Angeles and Wolfe Gallery in De Land, Florida.  Some of the art festivals she has exhibited at includes IMAGES, Mount Dora, Gaspiralla, De Land, and Maitland.  Laura has taught classes and workshops at De Land Museum of Art, Ormond Memorial Museum of Art, The Hub, Casa Montessori School and Children’s House Montessori School, and now shares her talent at Atlantic Center for the Arts leading workshops in expressive arts.

vicki gross headshot Vicki Gross (MT-BC) is a graduate of Florida State University, and has made a career of practicing music therapy. She has worked at ACT Corp. (which was The Human Resource Center) in the Daytona Beach service area as a day treatment and social network counselor, and ran the first Adult Day Care Center (Extended Family) in New Smyrna Beach, FL. In the year 2000, her personal practice, Comprehensive Music Therapy Services was created to bring services to the East Central Florida community.  Center Schools in Volusia County were being disbanded as disabled children were being accommodated in contained classrooms in regular schools throughout the county and a new music therapy career challenge presented itself.  Over the past 14 years, she has served many people and programs including intellectually challenged residents of The Duvall Home, the Homeless Day Treatment Program in Deland, children in foster care, elderly residents of area nursing homes and assisted living facilities, hospice patients and more. The main thing Vicki wants to convey is that her passion for music therapy is ever present.  She is humbled by the many people who understand and love the power of music, the way music can express when words can’t, and how music can create, establish and renew life and relationships.

Ashleee Hughes Ashlee Hughes is a graduate of The School of Music at Florida State University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy. Ashlee is also proud to be a second generation music therapist where she has the experience from the pioneer music therapists like her mother, Vicki Gross. As a professional music therapist, Ashlee has over eight years of experience in serving a variety of populations, including special needs, hospice, acute care medical, premature infants, traumatic brain injury, trauma, stroke, dementia, behavioral health, substance abuse, foster children, juvenile detention, and more. She brings her diverse experience in music, visual arts, and healthcare to ACA Arts & Wellness as a way to connect creativity and community health.

ACA_BabeJames Shy Morris, Atlantic Center for the Arts Community Artist is an integral part of ACA’s ongoing efforts offer unique art related programming to New Smyrna Beach. Shy draws upon her vast experience as a community based artist, including three years working with ACA Master Artist and MacArthur Genius Award Recipient Rick Lowe at Project Row Houses in Houston. She also has an educational background in early childhood studies, and creates fun, thoughtful art programming designed to encourage and educate children, teens, and adults.

C0SCaPOWQAA0B7k Eve Payor joined Atlantic Center for the Arts as a musician and electronic soundscape artist. Her arts advocacy focuses on the connection between music, environment, and wellness. In the Fall of 2016, she created an Arts and Wellness program of soundwalks, which gave the public opportunities to experience their natural surroundings through listening techniques, meditative breathing, and mindfulness.  Eve also mentors youth to help them find their creative spark, develop professionalism, and real-world assets for careers in the arts.

BethanyheadshotBethany Bennett Behr is an interdisciplinary artist who earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Central Florida and her Masters of Fine Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The art work she produces question women’s equality and role in society. Her investment in the community is to boost others confidence and self-worth through artistic practices. Currently she works with the Children’s Home Society of Florida and Atlantic Center for the Arts, offering art courses to children in group homes.

Morgan Kelly Morgan Kelly is a professional teaching artist with a passion for puppetry. She has taught in Florida, New York, New Jersey, and holds a Master’s degree in Educational Theater from NYU. Morgan has worked with youth and families in a diverse array of puppetry artforms from theater performance to traditional folk archetypes. She explores themes of arts, wellness and personal transformation within the expressive and surreal possibilities of puppetry.

77013_orig Rachel Chase has been a teaching artist since the age of 15. She began expressing through dance. First a classically trained ballerina, then a semi-professional modern dancer studying with the likes of Alvin Ailey dance company, and dancing professionally in the Orlando area; as well as trained in theater arts. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida with a bachelor of fine arts, integrating video art and performance, as well as painting and printmaking.  Rachel has continued teaching movement and art to children and adults in community settings for over 15 years. She is currently working toward her Master’s degree in mental health counseling. As a therapist, she continues using expressive and visual arts as therapeutic processes, assisting others on their journey to well-being and wholeness. It is the power of play and creative expression that have always propelled her life into new and uncharted territory. She is constantly creating, and has a passion for consciously creating community. Join her in this ever-evolving process of intuitive creation.

Sloan headshot pic Lucinda Sloan, DMA holds degrees in music performance from the University of Illinois.  As a teacher at the university level she has specialized in humanities courses that are interdisciplinary.  She believes that through the study of the arts a much deeper understanding of particular eras and movements can be more fully appreciated and understood.  Also, an advocate of the arts to further the human condition she has given national lectures through the Lilly Foundation for the Arts and Sciences.    She helped developed and taught in a course that was required of all students entitled “Odyssey in the Human Spirit” in which Homer’s Odyssey was taught for over 25 years.  Other courses included: Art and Music in the Baroque; Romanticism in Literature and Music; The Holocaust: Understanding through the Arts; Theology and the Arts; The Civil War; and the Sixties.  Her teaching was always awarded the highest student ratings.

Robert SabljakRobert Sabljak, A.P. owns and operates his Pathway to Healing Acupuncture and Massage Therapy practice in New Smyrna Beach. He has been practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine and teaching Tai Chi for 23 years. As an acupuncture physician, Robert’s practice also includes nutrition counseling and exercise programs as key components in his treatment plans. Robert studied Tai Chi while attending the Shanghai Institute and he recommends this as a remarkable exercise for combining cardiovascular activity while improving strength and balance as well as stress reduction. Understanding that the leading cause of injury in elders are falls, the A.A.R.P. promotes the use of Tai Chi for its ability to strengthen and improve balance.

Janice pic Janice Stieber Rous is the creator of Body Dialogue, an integrative therapeutic system that reorganizes the body and develops a new mental feedback process that eliminates habitual dysfunctional movement patterns. It is a form of movement re-education that draws on the wisdom of the following systems: Alexander Technique, Stough Breathing Coordination, Qi Gong, and Yoga and Body Soul Rhythms (based on Jungian psychology and the work of Marian Woodman).  She teaches internationally, and has been conducting women’s retreats of this nature since 2003.  Janice is a former dancer, studying with the Martha Graham company since the age of twelve. She graduated in 1972 from Sarah Lawrence College, and holds a Master’s degree from Bank Street School of Education in Arts Education and Administration.  Her specialty has been arts and wellness from the inception of her private practice in 1981. As a former New Yorker, she continues her practice in New York City (having worked with the Manhattan School of Music, Joffrey Ballet, and Julliard) and has expanded her services to Orlando. Janice has worked with several ACA Master Artists, and currently teaches at UCF music school and Opera Orlando.

MBMcLatchey  M.B. McLatchey currently serves as one of Florida’s Poet Laureates for Volusia County and is the recipient of the 2011 American Poet Prize. She was recently selected as a Writer-in-the-Spotlight by the national Association of Writers & Writing Programs:  A widely-published author and the recipient of several national literary awards, including theMay Swenson Award for her book of poems, The Lame God, published by Utah State University Press, M.B. is a professor of Classics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. She completed her graduate work in literature and teaching at Harvard University and Brown University and the M.F.A. in Poetry at Goddard College. Find her at:

Thanks to our supporters and partners!



Mind. Body. Spirit. The Pabst Charitable Foundation for the Arts is a leader in fostering awareness and action for the growing belief and field of work that integrates creativity arts, wellness, and health, particularly when illness strikes families. Our mission, identifying both interdisciplinary and innovative initiatives for impact on community, continues to foster development and research on outcomes that can make a difference for people, especially families challenged by illness.  Learn more

Brown and Brown with white edgeThe company that was to become Brown & Brown Insurance was founded in Daytona Beach in 1939 by two cousins, J. Adrian Brown and Charles Covington Owen. Under the direction of Adrian Brown’s son, Hyatt, a unique corporate culture has been created which values individual initiative and instills an indomitable “can do” attitude in its employees. B&B is acclaimed as, arguably, the most efficient operating platform in the insurance brokerage business, delivering high quality placement and service to a broad array of accounts. This, coupled with a precise, focused acquisition strategy helped Brown & Brown become one of the insurance industry’s most powerful and influential leaders.

ACA has received $5,000 from Florida Hospital New Smyrna Foundation to continue and expand its Arts & Wellness program – the Healthy Minds/Healthy Hearts outreach in our local schools.
Wildcat Wellness Wednesdays is designed for the fifth graders at Chisholm Elementary School, using art and creative conversations to take a deeper look at bullying and how to apply positive affirmations to mirror respect and PEACE at home, in school, and in the community.
Feel Great Fridays takes place each week at New Smyrna Beach High School. Each Friday, students gather in the courtyard to participate in wellness activities that help them destress from a busy week, contribute
to their mental health, and promote cardiac health.