Inside HSVS' HeART Studio

On Feb. 15, members of HeartShare’s Race Equity Committee (REC) had the opportunity to connect and chat with Robert Grant and Monica Hofstadter from Heartshare St. Vincent’s HeART Studio. The HeART Studio is a creative space where individuals are encouraged to express themselves authentically through art making in an inclusive and judgment free setting. Some themes that came out of this conversation were change, empowerment, and how a diversion from arm chair therapy has been healing for those who enter the HeART Studio’s doors.

HSVS Associate Clinic Director Robert Grant

Robert and Monica shared that in the HeART Studio, art is the “thread to facilitate connection.” The HeART Studio hosts individual clients as well as several therapy groups. It is ultimately a therapeutic space for clinic patients that is art therapy driven.

When asked how the studio specifically serves the Black community, Robert and Monica shared a bit about their client experience. Monica shared, “we have a space that allows for a diversity of expression. We could do talk therapy in the studio, we could have conversations, we could connect as a community- but we could also utilize the space for making artwork, and be a bit more embodied. It’s a bit larger so we’re able to use the space in a way we might not be thinking of or what we imagine a typical therapy session might look like. A lot of the people who come to this space, find it comforting and refreshing. It’s a different experience than perhaps what they’ve had in the past or what they expected therapy would look like. It’s different that way.”

HeART Studio Art Therapist Monica Hofstadter

Robert added, “I think that we have set the space and the place and the ground is very fertile to allow a lot of growth to take place and I think our clients are the ones who are ultimately benefitting from that. The HeART studio is a beautiful space and can allow individuals to explore and play and they have the support of being able to do that in that space. They have the support of a Creative Art Therapist to look at things that are maybe not so pleasant.”

When asked how art acts as a medium for change, Robert referenced artist, activist, and therapist, Cliff Joseph, stating that “art has so much power to be the facilitator of change.”

“This is why we love what we do. It gives opportunities to individuals to elicit change through the medium. You do not have to be an artist and it is not about skill.”

To learn more about the HeART Studio, or to refer a client, please email or call 929-625-1118.