MIDDLETOWN, NJ – As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, The Amanda’s Easel Program of 180 Turning Lives Around is brings a community arts project to residents of Middletown and the surrounding area. The theme of the art project is “A Community Connected: To Each Other, To Healing, To Hope.”

Amanda’s Easel invites people of all ages to the Middletown Arts Center to create a community art piece in response to 9/11 –– on Thursday, September 1 and Thursday, September 8, from 7 to 9pm; and Sunday, September 11, from 2 to 4pm.

The activities will be free and open to the general public. Amanda’s Easel in collaboration with the MAC will ask participants to use art to create a representation of a person or people in the community that they feel connected to. The piece will represent individual and communal resiliency.  Evidence-based research on resiliency after disaster indicates that the establishment of healthy connections with family, friends and people in the community are a key component of healing.  

On each anniversary of 9/11, Amanda’s Easel has offered an arts and wellness program that is open to the public. Amanda’s Easel’s philosophy is that the act of creation is a healing response to the experience of trauma and loss.  The work of art therapists, Cindi Westendorf, Amanda’s Easel Program Coordinator and Laura Greenstone, Assistant Coordinator, has been noted in national media venues and publications.

“Having worked with Amanda’s Easel for many years, I have witnessed firsthand the incredible healing power of art. I am grateful to be working with the talented, compassionate staff of Amanda’s Easel to offer this healing activity to the community”, said Maggie O’Brien, Director, Middletown Arts Center, who has offered Amanda’s Easel a space to hold their annual 9/11 commemorative arts and wellness activity. The Middletown Arts Center is also hosting a juried art exhibit with the same title as the arts and wellness activity.


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Through specially designated funding after the events of 9/11, Amanda’s Easel was able to expand its services with children and non-offending parents affected by domestic violence using use art therapy to help serve survivors, parents and children who had experienced traumatic loss related to 9/11. “We felt that it was natural to offer our services as experts in art therapy and trauma”, said Laura Greenstone.

 The Middletown Arts Center, a fully ADA-compliant facility, is located at 36 Church Street, Middletown. For more information on participating in the community arts project, please call Amanda’s Easel at (732) 787-6503.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...