Haven for Arts & Healing
A Refuge in the Arts
We are all called to be healing, and creativity approached just so has the ability to help us see with new eyes, bringing us into a deepening relationship with others and our environment, and helping us take spiritual as well as physical responsibility for the world around us.
Haven for Arts & Healing invites us to sense the larger life within us, and know more genuinely our relatedness to humans and nature through photography, exhibits, arts education, and spiritual healing.
Melissa Blythe Knowles
Haven for Arts & Healing founder Melissa Knowles's passion for the arts, teaching, 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 their connection with others and nature is far more ancient and encompassing. Her research and work brings awareness to the interconnectedness of the arts, healing, nature, and spirituality.
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.
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. Workshops and outreaches are available to accompany exhibits, as well individually hand-made prints, 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.
For over fifteen years, Melissa has taught internationally with children and adults of all ages for educational, therapeutic, and expressive purposes. She has worked with women and girls exiting trafficking, socially isolated elders, patients, and individuals with learning differences, disabilities, trauma, and mental health diagnoses. In bringing creativity into the lives of others, they, in turn, have shaped her own creative path.
She blends healing, spirituality, history, and 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
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
Recent Photography Notebooks
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.
For short projects, Melissa spends time in the place she photographs beforehand and meets clients prior to each session to personalize each unique experience. Typical sessions last around 2 hours, but she is available for a half day of 4 hours, and a full day of 6 hours. Session fees start at $350. All clients receive high resolution downloads, with individually hand-made prints upon request.
For longer projects, she immerses herself in her environment for sometimes months, participating in its culture, building relationships, and supporting the welfare of others, each photograph a moment of a relationship and a way to deep engagement.
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 patients, families, children, schools, socially isolated elders, human rights nonprofits, conservation agencies, community organizations, and slow fashion.
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