Healing Art Inspires Women to Be Free from Bad Relationships

Positive affirmations, thought-provoking collages, stirring mask images, inspiring guest speakers, delicious refreshments and more, brought visitors out of their homes in Pasadena, California. On October 17, 2014, the first annual Healing Art Exhibition was presented at the Fair Oaks Renaissance Plaza Community Room, 649 N. Fair Oaks Avenue.

Linda Offray, Shepherd’s Door Founder and Teresa Smith, Healing Art Organizer and teacher and special guests were available to share personal stories and answer questions about domestic violence.

Offray, who has been on a mission to help people in violent relationships for decades, said "…Shepherd’s Door was birthed out of anger, frustration and pain." Being a mother, she had members of her own family who suffered through domestic violence. She shared most of the women she has talked to about their experiences said they didn’t know how they ended up in their situations. Offray mentioned these type of relationships tend to happen "quick, fast." She says, "I have seen successes, but I have also seen survivors come and go. Each time you go back it gets worse," she warned. "If you escape trauma, you are blessed…Victims of domestic violence need to feel supported, understood and not judged."

Smith, also a mother, talked of the women’s creative works on display. "They are expressing themselves through healing art workshops." The teacher received her training from A Window Between Worlds, an organization in Venice, California that helps people heal from traumatic experiences by producing their own artwork.

Artwork on exhibit included: Examining Relationships Collages, Loving Heart Sun Catchers, Inside/Outside of Me, and Affirmation Mandala Shrinky Dink. Each piece shared emotional struggles from within that each woman was hiding with a smile or in other ways. But upon closer examination, the viewer could relate to issues of low-self-esteem, depression, unforgiveness, regret, anger, and more. They were heartfelt, moving pieces that beckoned attendees to take a look. Visitors pointed and commented and expressed their gratitude for such a neatly arranged and motivational art exhibit.

"Every piece of art has a story behind it," Offray tells the audience. "It’s all about healing to move on to the next level." Smith explains, "This is healing art not art therapy, there is a difference. In art therapy there are licensed therapists who guide their patients through the healing process by allowing them to create art and then using the art to make a diagnosis." The therapists will take what they have learned and create a healing plan for their patients. On the other hand, Healing Art is "free expression and no one is telling the person what the art means," says Smith.

Some audience members created their own art and shared encouraging affirmations. A moment of silence and prayer was also done in memory of the victims. Prayers were also said quietly by attendees for people currently in abusive relationships.

Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate author and speaker, Nicholl McGuire recited poetry from her book with the same name. Offray opened the floor up for discussion and comment about the art exhibit, domestic violence or any other information the audience would like to share. One visitor shared, "This is a great starting point for those to express themselves." Another stated, "It takes a lot of strength to speak about a situation, sometimes people close off themselves…if (people) don’t share, healing can’t come. They can be a blessing to other women."

To learn more about future healing art workshops in California, send email to: or call 1-888-979-8884.

Nicholl McGuire’s book is available on
More artwork from the event:

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God didn't put you with an abusive mate. Your flesh did.

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