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‘Art saves lives’: Free festival shares the healing power of arts for addiction, substance abuse

‘Art saves lives’: Free festival shares the healing power of arts for addiction, substance abuse
Published: Jul. 14, 2018 at 4:29 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2018 at 9:02 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - An art festival at UNC Wilmington, Hooked on Arts street fair, celebrated the healing power of creativity.

The UNCW College of Health & Human Services collaborated with the UNCW Lumina Festival of the arts to bring the art festival alive on Kenan Lawn Saturday.

"Art saves lives. There's no doubt about that," said Paula Baisden, a psychiatric nurse who came up with the idea for the festival combining art and addiction therapy.

"I have family members and very close personal friends who have struggled with not only substance abuse, but with food addiction and eating disorders that art therapy has helped them with," said Baisden.

About 12 different tents at the festival allowed attendees to explore different types of art, including dancing, painting, sidewalk chalk, graffiti, clothing design, musical instruments, and more.

"Using creativity, or the right side of your brain activates, the same parts of your brain that emotional regulation occurs in," explained Baisden.

Kristen Brogdon, Director of the UNCW Office of the Arts and the producer of the Lumina Festival of the Arts, helped organize the event.

"We are inclusive of all art forms- music, dance, face painting, and many more," said Brogdon.

"It's a simple idea when you say art to someone, said Baisden. "It means something different to everyone, but it could be as simple as coloring to help you refocus, and it's just really therapeutic, even if you aren't struggling with something specific, it's stress relieving."

The festival is happening July 14 and July 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is free to the public. The event organizers said they plan to hold a larger festival with the same theme in the future.

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