Practicing visual art is the second tool RMSS uses to assist members in seeing and expressing the heart and mind of God for themselves and sometimes for others. Members do not need to have experience with visual art and may choose to focus more on writing or music. However, RMSS encourages members to try out visual art in the safe environment of the RMSS studio/support groups. Making things with our hands is often very rewarding and validating in that the results are tangible and can be seen.

There is power in creating that originates from the Creator and we are all innately part of it. The very first verse of the bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth”. God is the creator and originator. Goodness and authenticity come from the Lord. Then in Genesis 1:26 we are told God created humans in His own image. If were are created in His image, we too are creators. What are we to create? Why are we to create?

We are to create beauty. In Exodus 31 God is instructing Moses to create a tent for the Ark of the Covenant, and God mentions several artisans whom He has chosen to create “artistic designs” to beautify the tent. God says, “In the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill.” Another good example of God’s desire for beauty is in 1 King 6:4, where Solomon is creating a temple for the Lord. The verse states “artistic frames” were made for the house.

Why? We are to create beauty for the purpose of worship to our creator but also as a means of being closer or being stronger in the presence of God. It is a like minded language that helps us to communicate with one another. Sometimes there are no earthly words that adequately express what the Father wants us to know or what we want to share with the Father. It is like the old saying, “A picture says a thousand words.” Visuals art also prepares our hearts to receive what God wants us to know and express. It can be a powerful tool to push back oppression and focus a person’s attention on seeing things from above and giving us new and fresh perspectives.

Further, researchers conclude engaging in visual art provides many health benefits:

1. Builds confidence by establishing a sense of accomplishment.

2. Builds self-esteem by finishing a work and/or learning a new skill or technique.

3. Improves physical health via sensory stimulation and develops hand-eye coordination as well as helps maintain dexterity.

4. Improves a person’s mood by using parts of the brain that are sometime not accessed, especially during a time of great stress. Visual art helps the artist feel a new sense of control which facilitates relaxation. This is particularly true for people grieving over sudden and unexpected deaths in which life seems totally out of control.

5. Studio art classes assist members to combat isolation in a safe environment.

6. It encourages playfulness and a sense of humor.

7. It can be a tool to help with trauma as the artist may use the projects as a way to deal with their feelings about the homicide(s) in a healthy manner. Often just a few weeks after a homicide, it is common to hear people tell family and friends of victims it is time to get over this and move on. As survivors we know murder take time to process; longer than less sudden and violent criminal deaths. To process all the emotions can be difficult. With Spirit led instruction, the artist has the opportunity to express soulful emotions at his/her own pace on his/her own terms. Visual art may be a catalyst for the members to move forward from tragic events and at the same time honor God with beautiful work.

8. Finished visual art can be very helpful for others in the group who are struggling to express their feelings. Sometimes just looking at a visual piece is a blessing in that the art says what others are trying to articulate. There is a sense of relief that someone else feels similarly.

RMSS invites new members to tryout visual art as a means to create beauty from the tragic ashes. To enroll in a studio/support group, please contact us at 720-316-7491 or info@rmsurvivorsstudio.org. Enrollment forms are under the “Get Involved” tab.