Haven for Arts & Healing

Living Life Through the Lens

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 deepening of feeling that when shared, invites us to experience a renewed sense of curiosity, belonging and purpose revitalizing our education, health, and social care.

Founded by photographer, arts educator, and arts-in-health specialist Melissa Knowles, Haven for Arts & Healing is a Martha's Vineyard based photography studio and atelier committed to enhancing the quality of our lives through photography, education, outdoor learning, art therapy, and exhibits. 


Founding Artist

Melissa Blythe Knowles

Melissa Knowles has worked internationally with schoolchildren, women and girls exiting trafficking, socially isolated elders, hospital patients, and individuals with learning differences, disabilities, trauma, and mental health diagnoses.

She believes that the well-being of humans and the wild places we love are deeply interwoven, and the arts a subtle, yet powerful, way to reconnect us to the best part of ourselves and the natural world around us. 

Photographing and teaching across the island’s organizations and schools, Melissa champions children’s rights, creativity, health, and access to outdoor spaces. Her reach extends throughout New England, New York, and overseas. 

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Photography Studio

Imagine yourself, a photographer takes an interest in you, photographs you, relates to you, and you to them. Photographs can be made with healing intention, used to change people, so that neither the photographer or the person being photographed is the same again. 

- John Diamond, M.D.

Melissa provides non-profit, family portrait, engagement, wedding, event, editorial, nature, and documentary photography across Martha's Vineyard, New England, and New York, as well as overseas. She regularly works with children, entrepreneurs, families, schools, healthcare, and media, along with community organizations supporting the arts, autism, children's rights, and conservation.

She has been an artist all her life, but it was when studying with the late John Diamond M.D., the world of photography truly opened up to her. A physician and author, as well as a prolific artist and photographer, the therapeutic use of creativity was integral to Dr. Diamond's approach. It was at his encouragement that Melissa began to use the medium as a modality for healing, for herself, as well as those in her professional care.

An attentive photographer, you’ll have a blast working with Melissa — it's hard not to when you’re around her positive energy! 

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Visual Journal


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

Get in Touch

Current Exhibitions & Installations

for Education, Healing, & Social Activism

Haven for Arts & Healing fosters innovative and personalized approaches to education, healing, and social activism through photography exhibits and installations. Melissa crafts each exhibit specifically with your event, facility, or school in mind. Upon request, she will design arts programming around exhibits, and create opportunities for students to share their art with the wider community.

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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 and connection to nature.

Melissa has taught internationally for over fifteen years for educational, therapeutic, and expressive purposes. She works with school children, women and girls exiting trafficking, elders, patients, and individuals with learning differences, disabilities, trauma, and mental health diagnoses.

Her approach reminds participants of their powerful connection to creativity, giving them the confidence to share themselves, through their art, with the wider community. 

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Special Education Interventionist/Photography Teacher

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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