Announcing Our Midweek Mastery Series: Best Practices in Social Emotional Arts

Since Fall 2013, our Certificate Program in Social Emotional Arts has been training community members of all backgrounds in how to develop, deliver, and evaluate their own effective curricula in social emotional arts, which integrates the innate benefits of the arts with mental health practices to provide accessible, sustainable, trauma-informed, and culturally-relevant support in the community.

In this free, three-part series, learn how our social emotional arts (SEA) practices enhance the innate power of the arts. In each virtual session, we’ll experience an exemplary lesson plan developed and presented by a team of Certificate Program alums. This will be followed by a moderated discussion regarding the intentions and supportive elements of the session, for professional applications and/or personal benefit.

Session 1 | Wednesday, January 24, 2024 from Noon to 1:00 pm PT

The Best Practices Series is intended to demonstrate the social emotional arts process in different contexts. This session was designed to help transitional age youth in their journey to independent living, and the activities apply to anyone who making a major life transition.

Invisible Travel Bag: A Journey of Resilience

Join us on an empowering journey as we provide tools and support for transitional-age students to fill their Invisible Travel Bag with resilience, self-awareness, and a vibrant tapestry of coping skills that will ultimately prepare them for the exciting yet challenging adventure of independent living. The journey begins with self-reflection, engaging each of the five senses with mindful movement for identifying mood, feelings, and thoughts with the help of a visual map called "Wonderland." The power of poetry is the vehicle for transcendence, allowing expression of innermost thoughts and sensations. This immersive, virtual session in mindful activation is intended to enhance healthy coping skills, fortify protective factors, and nurture meaningful connections with peers within the high school setting.


Brittany Dufeal is a creative soul who loves to express herself through the arts and writing. She has a decade of experience in the human services industry, where she has helped many people overcome their challenges and achieve their goals. Brittany is a mental health advocate who believes that healing is a personal and holistic process that should not be confined by any limitations. She is the founder of The Healing Hive Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports BIPOC women who are survivors of sexual trauma. The Healing Hive Foundation offers various holistic approaches to healing, such as yoga, meditation, social emotional arts, and more. Brittany's mission is to empower and inspire women to reclaim their voice, their power, and their joy.

Carlos Mares serves as a high school wellness therapist, and is the Founder of Play, Dream & Heal Counseling Corporation. Carlos faced immense challenges growing up, including grappling with his sexual orientation in a society that often lacks understanding. He overcame adversity, survived two suicide attempts, and now stands as a symbol of resilience. As a therapist, he's dedicated to providing the understanding and compassion he once longed for. He wants today's youth to know they're valued just as they are.

Olivia Wu has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ and wellness for 15 years. She is the founder of a wellness space in Taiwan that uses traditional and creative modalities to offer healing. She is also the director of a multi-day charity bike ride. 


Session 2 | Wednesday, February 28, 2024 from Noon to 1:00 pm PT

The Best Practices Series is intended to demonstrate the social emotional arts process in different contexts. This session was designed to help women of color make their metamorphic shift into motherhood; however, the activities apply to anyone needing self-care and strength in community.

Revolutionary Mothers: Self-Regulation & Self-Care for Mothers of Color

In this interactive, virtual session, we offer an opportunity for new mothers of color to connect and find words to articulate what they are feeling around this metamorphic shift into motherhood. We will mark the beginning (and end) of this session with our community heartbeat. From there, we shift to a poetry activity to help soften the experience and the individual. This is also a community-building exercise that allows us participating mothers to move away from individualized trauma and to find healing in a shared, collective experience. This will be a space dedicated to supporting reflection, rest, and creativity. We will be invited to ease into the session at our own pace, and we’ll come away with accessible, self-care tools that can be used daily.


Shanna Beauchamp is currently the program manager for Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre (KPET), where she creates arts-based programming for resilience. Shanna is a professional, teacher, director, producer, performer, and is a graduate of the Arts & Healing Initiative Certificate Program in Social Emotional Arts. She graduated from both Solano College Theatre and North Carolina School of the Arts.

Grace Gulley’s work is aimed at reframing how we, as a society and individuals, see motherhood and perform mothering. This is done through poetry, movement, the arts, and group work. Grace is a graduate from Arts & Healing Initiative’s Certificate Program in Social Emotional Arts; holds a certificate in Motherhood Studies; is a certified Matrescence facilitator; is an ICF accredited facilitator; and has 15 cumulative years working in the arts.

Sarah May Taylor is a Canadian teaching artist based in Los Angeles with a background in television, music journalism, and trauma-informed wellness practices. With over a decade of experience as an arts educator, she is interested in how creative processes can serve as forms of resistance and healing for people of all ages. Currently pursuing her master's degree in fine art at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and recently earning a certificate in Social Emotional Arts from Arts & Healing Initiative, she partly sees her work as advocating for the transformational power of art, and making self-recovery, creativity, and resilience accessible to all.


Session 3 | Wednesday, March 27, 2024 from Noon to 1:00 pm PT

The Best Practices Series is intended to demonstrate the social emotional arts process in different contexts. This session was designed to help budding actors ground themselves in truthful reality; however, the activities apply to anyone who plays multiple roles in life or who could benefit from releasing accumulated stress in the body.

Building an Unshakable Foundation with Self

When we use our bodies to play a role, we may lose ourselves in the process. Actors may be adept at getting into character, yet dangerously inept at getting out. This session offers a process that invites the actor to restore the natural rhythm of their breath and reintroduce their bodies to the basic movements of a daily routine. The actor can then leave vulnerability on the stage, ground themselves in a truthful reality, and walk with purpose on their path to building an unshakable foundation within.


Alexis Anderson is a recent SEA Facilitator trained through Arts & Healing Initiative, and Certified Biblical Counselor with a passion to create spaces of inclusion and acceptance, using creative expression as a means of healing both the individual and communities.

Ruffy Landayan splits his time between Los Angeles and New York City in acting, performance art, hip hop dance, and writing. He tours high schools, with Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre Programs, as an actor and health educator teaching students about STD and HIV prevention. He has also toured with East West Players performing and educating America's youth about Asian American culture. Ruffy has taught slam poetry for the Leigh Steinberg Human Relations Leadership Institute and has performed slam poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City and at the Urban Graffiti Slam at the Warner Studios in Hollywood. He has appeared in numerous regional musical theater productions.

Bridget McKevitt, since earning her MFA in acting from University of Washington in Seattle, has made a commitment to further develop the tools to help creatives grow and achieve success in their craft. Bridget completed her Certificate Program in Social Emotional Arts with Arts & Healing Initiative and is currently working with the Michael’s Daughter Foundation, developing and facilitating filmmaking workshops for Los Angeles teens and young adults in high schools, hospitals, and institutions. Concurrently, she is attending UCLA, where she is training in substance use disorder counseling. Bridget prides herself on maintaining a creative life, becoming a foster parent, and exerting positive influence. 


This series is funded by the Los Angeles County Arts Ed Collective in partnership with Flourish Agenda, and the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.

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