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ACA Arts & Wellness Academy

April 15, 2021 - April 17, 2021

$125 – $500

“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 beautiful artist complex of ACA, featuring online and in person presentations. 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. 

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, Rachel Chase will share her extensive experience in group facilitation process, free play, mindfulness, and best practices with groups of active adults, elders with cognitive disabilities, and those with physical disabilities. She will present a lecture, and an experiential learning session titled Creative Wellness Collage.
  • Guest artist, Cole Garlando presents a discussion of practice called Awareness of Being, and shares community methods for integrating creativity, movement, improvisation, and open dialogue into group sessions. Cole offers guidance and resources for creating programs for adults and children with autism.
  • ACA Community Artist, Bethany Bennett focuses her academy 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 Director of Community Programs, 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.

Artist Biography

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 received her master’s degree in mental health counseling at Rollins College. 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. https://www.rachelchase.com/index.html

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

In the words of multidisciplinary dancer, Cole Garlando, “I am a maker. I work in physical research, imagination, and intuition. Interested in cosmological theories, philosophies attending to self, phenomenology, noumenology, and change – I believe in creative process as inquiry and as a vehicle for internal and societal r/evolution. A choreographer, poet, and inter/transdisciplinary artist, I am absorbed with both the concepts and (non)material of LIGHT and TIME. I believe we as human beings are like projectors aimed at one another: I see you, through me. Æ autœthnography: another way to learn about self, perception, and reality in order to grow. I am interested in the research of my own creative/human process – compiling and vetting decades of my writing, choreographic sketchbooks, poetry, paintings, footage, and ontological inquiry. Alongside awareness of social events and histories, this serves as a creative feedback loop and allows me to see and honor change” https://nicolegarlando.com/

Eve Payor (aka Lady Eve) 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. www.ladyeve.ca


Option 1 – On site at ACA main campus | $500 tuition includes access to all presentations, experiential workshops, networking opportunities, accommodations, and meals for 3 days/2 nights (April 15-17) at the ACA main campus in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. ACA has implemented a robust COVID-19 policy that limits capacity in studios, regularly disinfects common areas, and offers pre-plated meals. A copy of this policy is available on request. Click here to register for Option 1 – On site at ACA main campus 

Option 2 – Online only | $125 tuition includes access to all presentations and experiential workshops via streaming platforms for three (3) weeks beginning April 15, 2021. Click here to register for Option 2 – Online only

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

Sponsored by the Pabst Steinmetz Foundation


April 15, 2021
April 17, 2021
$125 – $500
Event Category:


Community Programs


ACA Main Campus
1414 Art Center Ave
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 United States
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(386) 427-6975