Haven for Arts & Healing
A Refuge in the Arts
We are all called to bring a little healing into each others lives. As we bring this into our creativity, we start to broaden and deepen our own sense of presence, awakening a new art of feeling and an attentive relationship with others and our environment that is far more ancient and encompassing than we realize.
Haven for Arts & Healing invites us to sense the larger life within us, know more genuinely our relatedness to humans and nature and inspire spiritual and physical care for the world around us through photography, exhibits, arts education, and spiritual healing.
Melissa Blythe Knowles
Haven for Arts & Healing is the creative practice of Melissa Knowles, whose passion for the arts, teaching, nature, and healing has led her to work internationally with women and girls exiting trafficking, socially isolated elders, patients, and individuals with learning differences, disabilities, trauma, and mental health diagnoses. With an extensive background in education, children's rights, arts in health, spiritual healing, and visual anthropology, she draws people to openly share themselves through their creativity, at the same helping each individual feel a connection with others and nature far more ancient and encompassing.
Melissa and Haven for Arts & Healing are based on the beautiful island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Their reach extends throughout New England and New York, and overseas.
Melissa Knowles Photography
If we think about what photography can be, not just the click of the shutter or the sophisticated capturing of a flat piece of memory, but the experience of feeling. It can be the soulful sharing between those before the lens, the photographer, and the later viewer; an unending glimpse into the intricate warmth of our lives...
In keeping with her background in healing and anthropology, Melissa practices what you could call Slow Photography. This technique encompasses an awareness and approach to making pictures that gives consideration and time to the unfolding processes and relationships between participants. She brings a healing intention to her work, to foster each time an experience through the lens that will affirm identity and enhance well-being.
Her work advocates for spiritual, as well as physical, responsibility to our environment, and developing open, empathetic relationships with those she works with is both important to her and an essential part of her technique. She often builds long lasting partnerships with families, children, schools, socially isolated elders, human rights nonprofits, conservation agencies, community organizations, and slow fashion.
Melissa can be booked directly through Haven for Arts & Healing by clicking the button below. Alternatively, she can reached through Randi Baird Photography, where she works as an associate photographer at one of the island's leading photography studios.
Current Exhibitions & Installations
for Healthcare & Healing
Haven for Arts & Healing encourages artistic engagement as a means to deep recovery while generating further interest in researching the arts role in spirituality and healing. Either as an observer of the creative efforts of others or as an initiator of one's creative efforts, photography has the ability to inspirit, to open the door to a special sense of wellbeing, and to personalize the healing process.
Exhibits are ideally suited for hospitals, healthcare, elderly housing, homeless shelters, trauma-informed care, nonprofits, and schools. Exhibits can be created specifically for your facility and integrate a more documentary style to include portraits and scenes from your everyday life. Workshops and individually hand-made prints are available to accompany exhibits, so please reach out to Melissa directly.
March 2022 - March 2023
We are all creative and need our constructive powers for our own and others' beneﬁt. Each of us needs to meet daily with some facet of this growing capacity, and everyone – no matter their background or circumstances – has the right to rekindle their creativity.
Melissa has facilitated workshops internationally with children and adults of all ages for educational, therapeutic, and expressive purposes. Over the past fifteen years, she has worked with women and girls exiting trafficking, socially isolated elders, patients, and individuals with learning differences, disabilities, trauma, and mental health diagnoses.
Bringing creativity to diverse communities is essential to Melissa's practice as an artist and anthropologist. She blends healing, spirituality, history, anthropology, and nature inspired art forms to engage participants in a paradigm where they are reminded of a far more ancient and encompassing relationship to their creativity that helps each person develop the confidence to share their art with the wider community.
Crossing Point Arts: Bringing the Arts to Survivors of Human Trafficking
Children's Rights & Photography Workshop
Martha's Vineyard Regional High School
Artist-in- Residence: Photography for Health
Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School
Music as Medicine
Martha's Vineyard Center for Living
Deepening Connection to Nature through the Arts
Island Autism Group @ Polly Hill Arboretum
Art for Healing
Parkinson's Support Group @ Howe's House
Seeing with New Eyes through Photography
Penikese Science + Nature Camp
Artist-in-Residence: Photography & Healing
Stars Residency @ Eagle Hill School, January - March '23
Private one-on-one and small group mentorships
Photography Engagement Project
West Tisbury Library
2022 Special Events
Island Elderly Housing, Oak Bluffs / May - September:
We Belong Beautifully to Nature exhibit
Wandel Lab Conference, Berlin / June 3, 2022:
Deepening Connection with Nature through a Therapeutic Lens virtual presentation
Penikese Island School, MA / July 17 & August 11:
Seeing with New Eyes through Photography workshop
MV Center for Living, Vineyard Haven, MA / October:
We Belong Beautifully to Nature exhibit
Howe's House, West Tisbury, MA / October 10, 10.30am:
Arts for Health: Painting & Singing workshop