Healing Arts Chicago

Spring Session 2024: Monday, April 22 – Friday, June 28

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The Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events and the Chicago Department of Public Health announce Healing Arts Chicago, a new program offering free arts services to support mental health and wellness at the City of Chicago’s Mental Health Centers throughout the year. Sign up for creative classes and workshops including movement, yoga, sound and body meditation, music, painting, poetry, writing, and storytelling.

Registration is open now at the unique links provided below. You can also view the full arts services menu online.

Registration is encouraged by Saturday, April 20, 2024


Englewood Mental Health Center (641 W. 63rd St., Chicago, IL 60621)

Brushstrokes and Breathwork: Nature, Arts, and Crafts

Artist: Jewel Hale

Description: This program will inspire participants to creativity and cultivate well-being through the natural world using materials that can be found in nature. Research has shown that nature can improve a person’s overall mental health and wellness. This program will facilitate stress reduction, enhance creativity, promote mindfulness, and give community members an outlet for self-expression through various making practices.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, April 30-June 25, 2-4pm

Special Considerations: Mobility Range: Workshops will include minor movement components like stretching and basic yoga asanas. Sensitivities: Arts and crafts supplies might have some smells (glue, paint, other mediums)

Register Online


Monday Midday Reset: Audio Pharmacology™ Sound Spa©

Artist: Shannon Harris

Description: A rest, relaxation, and restoration afternoon affair.

Day/Time: Mondays, April 29-June 17, 12-2pm

Special Considerations: People with epilepsy are not encouraged to participate in this session. For those who do not feel safe in spaces that are dimly lit or when asked to close their eyes to relax, are suggested to attend the HAC (Healing Arts & Craft) series.

Register Online


Healing Arts & Crafts: Medicinal Maker Space©

Artist: Shannon Harris

Description: A medicinal home remedy maker space

Day/Time: Thursdays, June 6 & 13, 2-4pm

Special Considerations: Participants with allergies will want to inform the artist lead.

Register Online

Greater Grand Mental Health Center (4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave., Chicago, IL 60653)

hope lives here!

Artist: Nile Lansana

Description: “hope lives here!” is a writing/spoken word workshop series focused on recognizing and lifting up how we push through what gives us strife and how we bring hope to wherever we are.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, April 23-June 27, 12:30-1:30pm

Special Considerations: If participants would prefer to speak rather than write or type, please inform the artist lead so they are prepared to type what the participant says.

Register Online


Move to Live (MTL)

Artist: Leyda “Lady Sol” Garcia

Description: A wellness offering that centers easy-going, full body movement, stretching, breath work, and dance as a cultural practice embodying heart, mind, joy, and self-awareness.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, April 23-June 25, 2-3pm

Special Considerations: Music will be utilized for movement, meditation, and dance. Mobility range will be considered for all bodies, access, and abilities. Chairs can be used for those who cannot stand for long periods of time and/or cannot access yoga mats on the floor.

Register Online

Greater Lawn Mental Health Center (4150 W. 55th St., Chicago, IL 60632)

Growing Together: Community Based Mural

Artist: Gerry Holiday

Description: An exploration of self talk and growth language through the creation of a community mural

Day/Time: Tuesdays, May 14-June 25, 1-4pm

Special Considerations: NA

Register Online


Hand Building Ceramic Explorations

Artist: Shalom Parker

Description: In this 6-week series, participants will learn the basics of hand building ceramics as well as use their new skills and support from the instructor to design their own project.

Day/Time: Tuesdays, May 14-June 18, 3:30-5pm

Special Considerations: Ceramics materials can be hard to acclimate to for people with sensory processing issues.

Register Online

Lawndale Mental Health Center (1105 S. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60612)

Tune In: Reclaiming Inner Balance Through Sound (Empowering and positive, focuses on personal control and wellness)

Artist: Mecca Elevated

Description: This sound meditation experience is designed to help you disconnect from the external world and reconnect with your inner self, establishing a strong foundation within yourself. As an audible sensory experience, this sound meditation allows your mind, body, and soul to reset and recharge.

Day/Time: April 22-June 26: Tuesdays - 6-7pm; Wednesdays - 2:30-3:30pm

*No Class on: May 14, May 15, May 28 & June 19

Special Considerations:

Please consider the following:

- Hydrate well beforehand!

- Wear comfy clothes and avoid heavy meals prior to the experience.

- Participants will be lying down on mats or sitting in chairs in a dimly lit room with their eyes closed.

- Mats and bolsters are provided, but feel free to bring your own for extra support.

- Come with an open mind

Register Online


Love and Liberation: The Empowerment Series

1. Visioning Your Empowered Future: A Vision Board Workshop

2. Empower Your Body: Chair Yoga Workshop for Strength and Serenity

3. Gratitude Unleashed: Empowerment through Appreciation Workshop

Artist: Erica Serrano

Description: The Empowerment Series is a series of three stand alone workshops focusing on fostering empowerment through enhancing self-awareness from a vision board exercise, promoting mind - body connection from chair yoga, and cultivating gratitude from learning techniques for enhancing your appreciation.

Day/Time: April 25-June 27, 1-3pm (specific dates below)

  • April 25, May 2, May 7 (Vision Board)
  • May 14, May 23, May 28 (Yoga)
  • June 12, June 18, June 27 (Gratitude)

Special Considerations: Sessions include a chair yoga sequence and meditation. Mats and Chair are provided. Wear Comfortable clothes.

Register Online

North River (5801 N. Pulaski Road, #UNIT C, Chicago, IL 60646)

Cuentame (Tell Me A Story): Preserving Culture Through Visual Storytelling

Artist: Natalia Cuevas & Chihjou Cheng

Description: An ongoing open studio series intended for participants who are interested in creative experimentation, collaborative learning, material exploration. Participants will explore cross-cultural storytelling and learn to capture narratives through a variety of art and movement techniques, including printmaking, sculpture, photography, and dance.

Day/Time: Wednesdays & Thursdays, May 9-June 27, 3-5pm

Special Considerations: Open studio sessions will involve mixed media materials and processes that will be heavily interactive and potentially messy. Please wear clothing that you don't mind getting dirty.

Register Online

Offsite Workshops

Move through sound

Artist: Mecca Perry & Chihjou Cheng

Description: This experience blends gentle movement, the power of sound healing, and introspection. Move Through Sound will guide you on a journey within, using your body and the vibrations of sound instruments to explore your inner landscape.

Session Location: Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60618

Day/Time: Saturday, April 27, 3-4:30pm

Special Considerations: NA

Register Online


What We Carry: Celebrating Stories of Migration with Pinatas & Puppets

Artist: Natalia Cuevas & Chihjou Cheng

Description: A two-part workshop series that explores the history and journey of migration through visual arts and theater. Participants will engage with traditional pinata making techniques combined with puppetry in a cross cultural exchange of memories, stories, and folk tales.

Session Location: North River Commission, 3403 W. Lawrence Ave. # 301, Chicago, IL 60625

Day/Time: Saturdays, May 11 & 25, 3-5pm

Special Considerations: These workshops will be heavily interactive and will involve mixed media and materials that can get messy. Please wear clothing that you don't mind getting dirty.

Register Online

Artist Cohort 2023-2024

The Chicago Arts & Health Pilot for Creative Workers (CAHP) is an innovative paid job training program that seeks to bridge the realms of arts, health, healing, and wellness. Funded through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) federal funds, the program pays artists to apprentice in community clinics and become certified community health workers to amplify the proven benefits of arts engagement in fostering holistic recovery, well-being and social cohesion in communities.


The CAHP program is a collaborative effort between the following organizations:

From September 2023-December 2024, ten Chicago artists were placed in the following CDPH Mental Health Clinics: North River Clinic (North Park/Albany Park), Lawndale Clinic, Greater Grand Clinic (Bronzeville), Greater Lawn Clinic, and Englewood Clinic.


North River Mental Health Center

5801 N. Pulaski Road, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60646

Chih-Jou Cheng

Chih-Jou Cheng is a Chicago-based movement artist and puppeteer originally from Taiwan where she studied Community Theatre &Theatre in education. She is dedicated to creating artworks that illuminate the challenges and joys of the human experience through collaborative physical theatre. She is the co-founder of Dawn Theatre Project and has performed with Drury Lane, Teatro Vista, and other Chicago theatre companies. You can find more of her work at chihjou-cheng.com

“Since finding dance as a young adult, movement art has become my lens for expressing feelings, understanding the world, embracing diverse perspectives, cultivating compassion, and healing. Creating meaningful art is more than just a creative endeavor for me; it is a way of living, loving deeply, and thinking profoundly.”


Natalia Cuevas

Natalia Cuevas (she/they) is a Mexican American artist, educator, and mentor, based in the city of Chicago and actively working towards building community, bridging cultures, and supporting youth through art based learning. Their creative practice is deeply rooted in their experiences growing up in Chicago with undocumented parents and draws from traditional Mexican iconography, folklore, and family stories of migration. Through interactive, immersive, and collaborative projects, they aim to cultivate spaces for community building and create platforms for storytelling as a form of celebration and healing.

“While my family moved repeatedly throughout my childhood, I spent most of my formative years in Albany Park and developed a deep and profound connection to the sense of community that echoes throughout the predominantly immigrant neighborhood. This sparked an innate desire to contribute to the culture and advocate for others. I am interested in the art and health aspects of this program because it is the essence and foundation of what drives my artistic and educational practice and continues to fuel my work as a member of the Albany Park and larger Chicago community.”

Englewood Mental Health Center

641 W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL 60621

Jeweline Hale

Jewel Hale is an interdisciplinary artist from Chicago, Illinois. She obtained her BA in theater studies from Northern Illinois University, received her MA in interdisciplinary arts from Columbia College Chicago, and her MS in curriculum and instruction from Western Governors University. She is a certified wellness, SEL, and yoga instructor. She has been writing and performing professionally since 2012.

“I believe that education and holistic wellness practices are the keys to a bright and prosperous future for all Chicagoans. I am interested in the art and health aspect of this program because I have been teaching SEL with interdisciplinary art practices (through various organizations) to youth 4-15 years of age for over 5 years.”



Shannon Harris

As an international DJ, musician, composer, anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, label owner, videographer, Qi Gong instructor, humanitarian, pro-activist, healer, sound scientist and Audio Pharmacology™, Shannon explores obscure territories, regions, genres, styles, and traditions through his work in the Healing Arts. Receiving a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Music as Wellness certificate from the Berklee College of Music, his work bridges the dualities of unconventional futurism and indigenous traditionalism using sound energy. His journey in the fields of art, music, science, and research spans four decades, six continents, and numerous cultural and spiritual traditions.

“My journey into the healing arts started after being diagnosed with several critical ailments at a young age. After finding solutions that helped myself and those around me, I decided to shift my career and outreach objectives to serve communities in need of tools to assist them along their wellness path. This program will empower me with certifications and clinical experience to continue my career aspirations within the healing arts.”

Greater Grand Mental Health Center

4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
Chicago, IL 60653

Leyda “Lady Sol” Garcia

Leyda “Lady Sol” Garcia is a proud XICANA and Chicago native who is globally recognized as a teaching artist, creative director, and street dance practitioner. She is a Co-Founder of Kuumba Lynx, Chicago's first all woman led Hip-Hip arts organization and a proud 3Arts Chicago Award winner. Lady Sol is a self-proclaimed “Professor of Practice” who has taught street dance workshops at Columbia College, Harvard U, Stanford U, and U of C.

“My inspiration is always family and community first. I have family members who have lost so much in this lifetime and I want to keep winning for them. My name is Leyda Garcia and I am Maria's immigrant daughter.”




Nile Lansana

Nile Lansana is an acclaimed interdisciplinary artist from the South Side of Chicago. His work is centered around revealing radical truths and amplifying marginalized voices and narratives through a lens of Black imagination and visionary intention. He’s just trying to be even better than he was the last time!

“My work is centered around revealing radical truths and amplifying marginalized voices and narratives through a lens of Black imagination and visionary intention. I wanted to apply because arts & health are very important to the fabric of my being and I'm excited to engage deeply with how arts & health intersect and create liberating and healing spaces for folk to be moved through creative practice in a similar manner to how I continue to be moved and inspired every sunrise.”

Greater Lawn Mental Health Center

4150 W. 55th St.
Chicago, IL 60632

Holiday Gerry

1st Gen Chicano and a Chicago native. As a CPS student, he discovered his passion for the Arts in afterschool programs such as After School Matters. Today he is a professional artist, activist, and photographer with a passion for teaching. He believes in the power of art for personal transformation and building community.

“I am drawn to the program's focus on integrating the arts and mental health, as well as its emphasis on community health and wellness through arts-focused strategies. By participating in this program, I anticipate not only expanding my knowledge and skillset in creative therapies but also gaining valuable experience in social work. This will not only help me grow as an artist but also equip me with the tools to address the upcoming generations of young artists and the Larger Chicago community.”


Shalom Parker

Shalom is first and foremost a person. One who loves people and loves making art, specifically ceramics, she is also an abolitionist and invested in her community. One of the ways that she has used those passions is through becoming an art therapist and LPC at Chicago Torture Justice Center and working with people who have been tortured by the police.

“I am passionate about making art and mental health resources accessible to people who don’t traditionally access therapy. I applied to this program because I am also a firm believer in making healing roles more accessible as well as to build a community of artist who are passionate about community and healing.”

Lawndale Mental Health Center

1105 S. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60612

Mecca Perry

Mecca Perry is a Certified Sound Meditation Facilitator, Founder of Elevated Mediation Studio, Wellness Podcaster, and Wellness Event Professional. She weaves her background in event production/culinary with modern and ancient wellness practices, all in the service of others. Mecca’s mission is to create bespoke sacred experiences that transform her clients' experience of themselves and the world. After a decade-long meditation practice, Mecca turned her passion into service. She completed over 300 hours of Sound and Meditation Training in Washington, DC; Chicago, IL; Tempe, AZ and Auroville, India.

“In my experience sound healing brings our body and mind into balance and harmony, this is one benefit that inspires my craft. Combining sound healing with community mental health care training will deepen my impact within the community and expand my knowledge as an individual.”


Erica Marie Serrano

“I am happy, healthy and healed.” This mantra is the foundation for my work in my community, Chicago, and beyond. I am a motivator! I am an educator and I am a coach. Through physical movement, mindfulness and gratitude work, I touch, move and inspire young people and adults to discover their best selves so they can live happy, healthy and healed lifestyles. My name is Erica Marie Serrano or Coach Erica Marie! My certifications are in Yoga, Personal Training, and Wellness.

“I am inspired by IMPACT, GROWTH, and LIFE CHANGES in the people I serve! Helping people help themselves by giving them tools to use to have a positive outlook on life in Chicago and beyond made me want to apply to CAHP Apprenticeship Program. Through this program my best hope is to expand my outreach and collaborate with others to use our artist talents to bring out the best in all the people we serve!”


CDPH Chicago Department of Public Health



City Colleges of Chicago

One Nation One Project A National Arts & Health Initiative

This project is supported in whole by federal assistance listing number 21.027 awarded to the City of Chicago by the US Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

DCASE is a participant in One Nation/One Project. ONOP is a sponsored partner of the Tides Center and is funded by Anne Clarke Wolff and Ted Wolff, Barbara and Amos Hostetter, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Doris Duke Foundation, Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams Family Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, The Tow Foundation, Sozosei Foundation, and The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation."

This program is made possible in part by a grant from FGC, a Builders Initiative Foundation Entity.