Art of Eden Online Gallery

Star Center was a recipient of a Jackson Arts Council 2019-2020 Grant for the project “Art of Eden,” which provided art therapy services with art therapist, Sarah Hamil, to the girls at Eden of YouthTown. The art will be showcased on a Facebook Livestream June 30th and will stay on display at the Greyhound Bus Station on E. Main St. until July 7th for public viewing.

Paige Bledsoe, director of Eden, says of the sessions, “We have already seen the positive impact that the arts can have on treating addiction, trauma, and co-occurring disorders….We believe the arts can help young women realize self-confidence, worth, and life goals as they push themselves to accomplish what they did not believe possible.”

The art pictured below represents three different art directives: re”framing” identity, mask-making for internal and external self-expression, and painting vibrant colors on canvas to foster hope and belonging.

“I Am a Work of Art” Portraits

Frame-paper used to invite creating a work of art that portrays identity in recovery.
  • Participants created a work of art that reflects unique qualities and strengths
  • Qualities of the art are then described verbally in words or phrases
  • ‘I am’ statements with the words and phrases elicited by the art are used to create a poem about strengths and uniqueness

Mask Making in Art Therapy

Mask-making promotes an exploration into different aspects of self and experiences – internal and external.
  • Art materials are used to create masks that express ideas about self, identity, and experiences
  • The imagination is activated to support a safe reflection about personal resources and strengths to promote resiliency
  • Participants engage in this creative form to build skills in communication and self-expression
  • The masks represent narratives about identity and experiences

Hope & Belonging Paintings

Painting with vibrant colors on canvas engages the participants to foster a sense of hope and belonging within themselves.
  • Painting was used to express positive emotions through symbolism as a support for feeling a sense of self-safety and balance
  • The group shared ideas about personal styles and new perspectives in coping through self-expression
  • The primary objective of this art therapy session was to establish hopeful thoughts and images as a resource for responding to stressful circumstances
  • Identify and express distinct personal resources for coping with challenges

Star Center Music Therapist, Katlin Ross, also led Eden residents in Music Therapy sessions, using music as a creative outlet to address similar goals. Sessions often include verbal or instrumental check-ins, lyric analysis, group discussion, rewriting a familiar song to match personal expression, and cut-and-paste poetry with lyrics from a collection of familiar songs. Below are two group Music Therapy projects put together by the artists featured in this gallery.

Song Rewrite

Rewrite of “Fight Song,” originally by Rachel Platten. Vocals, guitar, and mixing by Katlin Ross, MT-BC.

The residents worked together in rewriting the song “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten over the span of 3 sessions. Each resident had the opportunity to express their opinion or thoughts and then vote on the final decision. The group created a song that expressed their current outlook on their life and motivation to continue moving forward. This music intervention worked towards establishing a creative outlet, increase self-esteem and self-expression, group cohesion, and awareness of self and others. 

Cut & Paste Poetry

Each resident selected a song they find motivating and encouraging during their journey of recovery. In the first session, the residents listened to each other’s song, participated in a brief song discussion, and identified the lyrics that encouraged them the most. In the second session, the residents took each group member’s lyrics and transformed them into a poem. This music intervention worked towards group cohesion, self-expression, and awareness of self and others.

Online Gallery

Below is a self-guided gallery which includes individual images of each piece of art as well as quotes from the artists about their own creations. To view the art in person, the window gallery is currently located at the Greyhound Station in downtown Jackson (407 E. Main St., Jackson, TN, 38301) now through July 7th. A live tour, including interviews with the therapists, is also posted on Star Center’s Facebook page and the Facebook event page for Art of Eden: Please check-in and comment so we know you visited!

Special Thanks to YouthTown, Jackson Arts Council, John H. Allen Company, Inc., and RIFA for providing the means, space, and easels for the in-person gallery.

Contact Star Center for more information on Art and Music Therapy services. 731.668.3888 or

About the Author : Chrissy Watson

NOTE: This person is a past employee or intern of the STAR Center. Their name and authorship is preserved for posterity. Chrissy Watson was the Clinical Internship Director at Star Center, Inc. A graduate of the University of Kansas, Chrissy became a board-certified music therapist in 2007 following her internship at The Institute for Research and Rehabilitation in Houston, TX. For the last 10 years, Chrissy has enjoyed working with a variety of populations in both North Carolina and Tennessee. Since coming to Star in 2012, Chrissy has facilitated the growth of the department to 4 full-time staff and continues to oversee the supervision of interns who come to Jackson from around the country. With a passion for forwarding the profession of Music Therapy through research, advocacy, and training of the next generation of therapists, Chrissy completed certification in Neurologic Music Therapy in 2014, is currently working to complete her Master of Music Therapy degree from Colorado State University, and serves on the TN State Task Force, the national Association Internship Approval Committee (AIAC), and continues to present at both regional and national conferences. Outside of work, Chrissy is fanatical about church, baking, reading, theater, and KU basketball and secretly hopes for snow in the middle of summer.

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