A new regional web series, “h.e.ART & Soul,” created by the content team at Arkansas Soul, will launch tonight on YouTube. The series came to fruition with major support from the CACHE Bridge Fund and will highlight seven regional Black artists who demonstrate how they use their craft to cope with feelings such as grief, pain and trauma.
When Arkansas Soul was approached by Synetra Hughes with the idea of an arts series exploring healing, they knew they had to jump at the opportunity to bring it to life. Hughes had been working with Lakisha Bradley of My-T-By-Design Therapeutic Art Studio to confront difficult emotions and was a believer in the power of the arts in healing.
“Creative expression can transform our painful reactions to traumatic situations, providing renewed strength of our identity and a way to give voice to difficult feelings, “said Hughes, who is featured in the first episode of the series “Arts for Airiel.”
The arts are often seen as a source of entertainment, but they can also provide emotional healing. The “h.e.ART & Soul” web series, featuring Hughes, Bradley and other Black artists, seeks to guide viewers through creative expression forms of healing, dealing and coping.
“This process will start with my story as a Black woman who has experienced great trauma in the last year of losing a young child. Through my story and the documenting of utilizing creative expression to aid in healing from grief I hope to normalize speaking power to truth in the Black community,” Hughes said. “I’m hopeful that we will inspire others around the state of Arkansas to join me in the future–virtually and physically–to share their stories and stand in their truths. Providing this platform might be the inspiration or motivation that someone who is struggling to deal with the difficulties in their life needs in order to start to heal and move closer to finding purpose in their pain.”
Arkansas Soul also plans to offer a limited number of free art kits for key episodes that incorporate elements of painting and jewelry making, in partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
The h.e.ART in this series stands for “healing and expression through ART”—a process created by Bradley at her art studio, centered on the idea that creative expression can transform our painful reactions to traumatic situations, providing renewed strength of our identity and a way to give voice to difficult feelings, according to a press release.
The series will launch online on YouTube tonight, Friday, July 16–a date set to honor National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month–with each new episode (eight in total) posting every Friday until the first week of September. The series finale episode spotlighting Bradley and her art studio, My-T-By-Design, will also serve as an instruction video for a statewide “Sip and Paint” participation event.
ABOUT ARKANSAS SOUL
Arkansas Soul is a fresh, digital media platform geared toward BIPOC–primarily by BIPOC–in Arkansas. It is our mission to share the heart, soul and culture of the natural state, recovering the histories and underrepresented stories of diverse audiences in regional pockets throughout the state. Visit argotsoul.com