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, opening our lives to others and our environment, and awakening a new art of feeling that is far more ancient and encompassing. 

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, education, and healing. 


Founding Artist

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 time encouraging a rhythm of seeing that brings them into contact again with their sense of self, their community, and their environment.

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. 

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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 approaches photography with attentive 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 celebrate the relationships that mean the most to you. 

Her photographs advocate for the spiritual, as well as physical, wellbeing of humans and nature, and developing open, empathetic relationships with those she partners 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.


Florawear & Maple Mehndi,
June 2022


Family Portraits, Engagements, & Small Weddings


Circuit Arts,

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Vineyard Conservation Society

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March 2022

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Documentary: Non-Profits & Schools

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Precious Primary School,

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Earth's Dreaming

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Creative Fine Art


Current Exhibitions & Installations

for Education, Healing, & Social Activism

Haven for Arts & Healing fosters creative approaches to education, healing, and social activism and healing through in-person and virtual photography exhibits. Melissa's exhibits are ideally suited to healing and educational environments, and have transformed spaces at children's rights events, non-profits, conferences, hospitals, schools, and elderly housing, libraries, and other public spaces.

Exhibits can be created specifically for your facility, school, or event, and may include all styles of photographs displayed throughout this website. Melissa will happily provide suggestions, as well as tailored workshops, student/participant exhibits, and hand-made prints to accompany your exhibit, so please reach out to her directly.

Melissa has raised awareness around conservation, healing, education, children's rights, including child labor, child marriage, and trafficking.

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We Belong Beautifully to Nature

Precious Children:
Justice for Africa's Children

Seeing Spirit in A Fading Landscape




2022 - 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-anthropologist. She blends healing, spirituality, history, ethnographic research, 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. 

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Special Education Teacher (Arts Integration)

Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School


Photography Mentorship

Crossing Point Arts: Bringing the Arts to Survivors of Human Trafficking


Music as Medicine

Martha's Vineyard Center for Living

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Art for Healing

Parkinson's Support Group @ Howe's House

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Deepening Connection to Nature through the Arts

Island Autism Group @ Polly Hill Arboretum

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Seeing with New Eyes through Photography

Penikese Science + Nature Camp

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Children's Rights & Photography Workshop

Martha's Vineyard Regional High School

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Artist-in- Residence: Photography for Health

Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School

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Photography Mentorship

Private one-on-one and small group mentorships

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Photography Engagement Project

West Tisbury Library

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2022 Special Events

Howe's House, West Tisbury, MA / October TBA, 10.30am:

Arts for Health: Painting & Singing workshop

MV Center for Living, Vineyard Haven, MA / October 1:

We Belong Beautifully to Nature photo exhibit

Justice for Africa's Children, New York City / September 20:

Precious Children photo exhibit

Penikese Island School, MA / July 17 & August 11:

Seeing with New Eyes through Photography workshop

Wandel Lab Conference, Berlin / June 3, 2022: 

Deepening Connection with Nature through a Therapeutic Lens

virtual photo exhibit & presentation

Island Elderly Housing, Oak Bluffs / May - September:

We Belong Beautifully to Nature photo exhibit


Reach Out

Po Box 4422, Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard, MA 02568



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