How Art Saved My Life (HASML), 2011

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Vita Arts Presents: How Art Saved My Life (HASML)

“How Art Saved My Life” takes place in a collective mind space. The show is an amplified illustration of the moment in time where you stare into a black hole and choose life. The setting is the mind, in dreamspace, fantasy, plugged into the matrix, whatever you want to think of it.

The stories told are amplifications, illustrations, depictions, of that moment when art saved “you”, and those moments before and after it. The show flows in a liquid motion toward progress and self acceptance and is sure to move, inspire, and entertain.

This semi-annual show is open to the public, and consists of the theatrical production presented in conjunction with a targeted workshop using Vita Arts flagship Integrated Workshop structure. Learn more at

The response to HASML in Jan of 2011 has been overwhelming. Please “Like” Vita Arts on Facebook to stay informed of future shows.

Performances and Performers, HASML 2011

Courtnee Papastathis (A.K.A. Zita the Aerialist)

Music: Assemblage 23 – 30KFT
In 2005, after years of aerial training, Josh, one of the precious few connections I had to my childhood past, died suddenly in a plane crash. I experienced intense suicidal grief, and was unable to climb even a few feet up. Visions of Josh’s body falling out of the sky haunted me when I tried. Through the arts and therapy, my fear of loss became one of my many triumphs, and a story I am grateful to be strong enough, and alive enough, to share with you now.

Kerry Cox

Music: Accompanied by Evelyn Gamage
I grew up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic mother and suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a step-father and uncle.  We left my childhood home, including the family and friends I’d grown up with suddenly, and we moved a lot as I stayed with relatives and my mother sunk deeper into her addictions.  Through it all, I wrote to cope with thoughts and feelings that I had no other way to express such as anger, sadness, loss, grief, and frustration.  In order to survive, writing became a healing tool for me.  I often have said that writing saved my life and I truly believe that without this creative outlet and crucial healing tool, I wouldn’t be here today.

Sharon Pointer

Music: Ethan Winer – 37 Cellos
For the last 40 years, movement has helped me cope with grief, stress, and change.  Movement  has kept me connected to the ground and my body while letting my heart and spirit soar.  Movement has kept the most vital part of myself nourished.  When my soul hurts, I dance; when I’m happy, I dance.

Nickolai Pirak

Music: Pogo – Lost
For me, juggling is more than throwing and catching things. It is something personal and dear to me, and in the 9 years that I have juggled, it has helped me cope with some very difficult times. I will never forget the beginning of 2004, when I moved to Germany to be with someone who I had been in a long distance relationship with for two years. Almost as soon as I moved there, she ended the relationship. It was an extremely hard and lonely time for me, dealing with the isolation of living in a new country as well as with the end of a relationship. Sometimes I felt so lost and sad that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I found that while practicing, I would be able to lose myself and focus on creating something new. Learning a new trick would be a way to focus on something else other than my hardship, and making an act was a creative release that kept me optimistic. It gives me indescribable joy to be able to share my art form with audiences, using my juggling to bring a smile to another’s face, just as it has so many times for me.

Beau M. K. Prichard

The most recent time art saved my life was with the book A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. It was one of the few things that helped stave off the demons and shadows at the time. It let me see some hope. The art of others often helps pull me back from the brink, particularly the brink I am brought to after spending too much time in the shadows.

Nancy Neyhart

Music: Antony & the Johnsons w/ Rufus Wainwright – What Can I Do?
and Evan Rachel Wood – Blackbird
“It’s my turn to die, and it’s your turn to live. Don’t mess it up” – Sue Monk Kidd in The Secret Life of Bees.

Goodbye, Mom.

Jill Leversee

Music: James Zabiela – Human
For me, being onstage is about the experience of being simultaneously utterly naked and vulnerable, and totally empowered.  It always presents the opportunity to not just survive, but to really thrive.

Kirsten Love Lauzon

Accompanied by Sasha Malinsky and Ricky Gene Powell
When I was very young I began having terrifying recurring nightmares of spiders.  In my adolescent years I underwent a tragic reality shift involving both my parents that literally shattered my entire young world.  When I reached my early twenties I began interacting with my dreams in a way that began to release my web-caged spirit and helped me transform from being the victim of the tangled webs of my, and my family’s, past. Eventually spider became one of my most powerful allies as I learned to spin my current and future webs with clear intention and care.  Now I see that my connection with the dream world is a very valuable gift that I can and must share.

David Jones

Art may not only save lives, it may change them as well.


Vita Arts is comprised of experienced artists who are motivated to share the artistic process with those in emotional need. We cherish the results that involvement in art brings to our own lives and want to share the possibility of those benefits with others.

For us, the process of creating art works as metaphor for healing and growth, and directly parallels the process of coping with the difficulties that life presents. In both creation and coping, there are long stretches of self-questioning, profound moments of frustration, and powerfully clear breakthroughs that, while generated from the self, often seemingly come from nowhere.

We understand how the artist is both leader of and led by the process of creation, and how the the experience of viewing and interpreting art or performance can be insightful, grounding and nurturing. We invite those who participate in our workshops and shows to experience the many roles of artist, and guide them through the experience so that they receive skills of emotional transformation through the work of Vita Arts.