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ACA Arts & Wellness Academy

April 19 - April 21


“Art has a power to focus us on extraordinary and transcendent insights into what one’s life purpose can be.” Alex Grey

Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA) is driven by a mission that focuses on multidisciplinary artistic collaboration and mentorship. Since 2015, ACA Arts & Wellness ambassadors have developed a shared culture and experiential method that connects the arts to community health. We invite teaching artists, community leaders, and healthcare professionals to learn these techniques and best practices in a unique academic forum held at the historic ACA Harris House in downtown New Smyrna Beach. During the academy, participants will learn ACA’s organizational culture of public engagement that connect the arts to community health. The academy is taught by ACA ambassadors, staff, and invited guest leaders in the field of arts and wellness. The vision of this program is to advocate for social engagement, experiential learning, and creative thinking using the arts to define a holistic path to improve physical, mental and behavioral conditions. 

On site at ACA Harris House | $125 includes access to all presentations, experiential workshops, networking opportunities, and lunch for 3 days at the ACA Harris House (214 S. Riverside Drive, New Smyrna Beach, Florida).
Click here to register

Participants will learn:

  • The ACA Five Phases of an Arts & Wellness Experience (guiding method for facilitating creative group connection).
  • How to design programs for diverse audiences and facilitate arts experiences in wellness.
  • How facilitators can enhance listening skills to create a restorative setting.
  • Ways to offer creative tools for resilience.
  • Approaches to reframe challenges as opportunities.
  • The cyclical process of integrating research and mentorship into programs for your community.

Presenting Artists:

  • ACA Artist Ambassador, Bethany Bennett focuses her presentation on recognizing history of trauma in youth and veterans, and ways to respond to these populations through patience, empathy, and encouragement. She shares an experiential learning session titled Process of Layering.
  • ACA Artist Ambassador, Laura Bohn shares her experience as a certified art therapist and facilitator of the successful community workshop “Expressive Art Journaling.”
  • ACA Community Arts Director, Eve Payor welcomes everyone to the academy by sharing the unique methodology that ACA artists use to guide the groups in creative, healing experiences. She will present a lecture on building partnerships that focus on addressing public needs and building healthy communities.
  • ACA Artist Ambassador, Justin Lang (aka Justincredible) will share his experience with mentorship in the Volusia County Public Schools and his extensive knowledge of creative writing and slam poetry.
  • ACA Academy Alumni, Daria Hammond brings her unique community artistry to hospitals in Alabama and will share her experience and insights.
  • ACA Academy Alumni, Sauda Jackson introduces the “Universal Hug” and her specialty of creative movement and improvisation with diverse audiences.

About the Artists:

Bethany Bennett is an interdisciplinary artist who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Central Florida and her Master of Fine Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The artwork 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 is an adjunct visual arts professor at Daytona State College and works with ACA as a Community Artist sharing health through the arts with diverse groups from elders to youth. https://www.daytonastate.edu/directory/bethany-behr.aspx

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. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in music business from Georgia State University and a Master of Arts in arts administration from University of Kentucky. In the Fall of 2016, she created an Arts &Wellness program of soundwalks, which gave the public opportunities to experience natural surroundings through listening techniques, meditative breathing, and mindfulness.  The soundwalk program has grown into an artist residency called the ACA Soundscape Field Station at Canaveral National Seashore, and an accessibility program for blind and partially sighted youth called Young Sound Seekers, sponsored by the National Park Service.

Lauraheadshot Laura K. Bohn is a professional artist, art educator and ATR registered art therapist. 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.

Justin Lang (aka Justincredible) joined ACA in 2019 as a creative arts teacher and ambassador. He inspires youth to find their spark and build confidence in their unique voice through creative expression. He was born in North Miami, FL and raised in Dade & Broward County, FL. His grandfather was a traveling Jazz Band Saxophone Player and his parents sang and played instruments growing up. So he did as well. Justin’s mom and dad introduced him to R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Gospel music. As a kid listening to the radio, he was introduced to Hip-Hop and Rock music which lit a HUGE spark in him! In high school Justin began to write poetry as a way of expressing his teenage frustrations and as stress relief. Shortly after, he began recording music in the garage alongside a local artist group in Miramar, FL. Soon after that, he started to win rap battles, talent contests, and released EPs in South & Central Florida. As a graduate of the University of Central Florida, he won multiple talent competitions and created radio intros for established DJs. Since graduation, he has been a Lead Creative Writer for several organizations, overseen #GREATNESS: Behind the Scenes (a Creative Arts Mentorship program), held teaching & counseling positions throughout Central Florida, and was ranked 15th in the United States Blackberry Peach National Poetry Slam competition.

Sauda Jackson has used art as a way to break down barriers to communication and to provide tools for building self-esteem. She leads arts, dance and empowerment groups in her local community. Ms. Jackson has developed an empowering ritual for all to use, The Universal Hug. Through the Universal Hug, participants are given an opportunity to slow down, breathe, ground, tap into their own power, focus on gratitude, release tension, to remember their heart’s desires, to remember to be compassionate with themselves and to emotionally reset. All are encouraged to use this tool often and to share it widely.


Alabama local, Daria Hammond creates work that has the power to transform minds and transform the environment, helps her to recognize and identify with her purpose as an intermediary to intercede. So, she sees her work as a message of hope and healing and something unforced but, unavoidable—graceful but, powerful.



Option 1 – On site at ACA Harris House | $125 includes access to all presentations, experiential workshops, networking opportunities, and lunch for 3 days at the ACA Harris House (214 S. Riverside Drive, New Smyrna Beach, Florida).
Click here to register for Option 1 – On site at ACA Harris House

Option 2 – Online only | $125 includes access to all presentations and experiential workshops via online curriculum. Click here to register for Option 2 – Online only

Contact us for more information: community@atlanticcenterforthearts.org / 386-423-1753.


April 19
April 21
Event Category:


Community Programs