Van Wezel Foundation Underwrites Program to Bring Therapeutic Arts Practices to Adults Overcoming Trauma

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Van Wezel Teaching Artists & Resilient Retreat Collaborate to Help Frontline Workers Manage Trauma

In light of National Stress Awareness Month, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and the Van Wezel Foundation today highlighted its ongoing collaboration with Resilient Retreat, a not-for-profit organization utilizing innovative arts-based approaches to help those impacted by trauma. The Foundation is providing the funding for these community-based program through the generosity of donors who believe in the power of arts to change lives.

“Resilient Retreat believes in utilizing a variety of trauma-informed modalities including expressive art therapy – the integrative use of art, music/sound, dance/movement etc. – as a form of body-based treatment to help participants in their recovery journey,” said Lisa Intagliata, executive director of Resilient Retreat. “Collaborating with an organization like the Van Wezel Foundation was a natural fit for us and gave us access to the highest caliber of arts instructors and curriculum to benefit our participants.”  

“It is because of the generosity of the Foundation’s donors that we can fund mission-critical programs developed by our community partners, like Resilient Retreat,” said Foundation CEO Cheryl Mendelson. “Together, using the power of the arts, we are having a deep and meaningful impact on our community.”

Through this collaboration, Van Wezel teaching artists, who are professionally trained in therapeutic arts practices and arts-based intervention, alongside Resilient Retreat’s highly trained certified trauma professionals, lead first responders and helping professionals in the creative process to address burnout, as well as vicarious trauma.

“Our experience in partnering with Van Wezel teaching artists has been phenomenal,” said Candice McLeod, program and volunteer coordinator at Resilient Retreat. “Their facilitation of our programs has exceeded our expectations. These artists have been an integral part of opening our participants up to the healing process using the power of creativity and the arts. We are fortunate to have these types of programs to complement the other programming modalities that we utilize at Resilient Retreat.”

Utilizing creative exploration and self-expression, these professionals, who have experienced trauma in the workplace, are empowered and given tools that will assist them in coping with and beginning to heal from vicarious trauma. 

“These workshops are amazing,” said a Resilient Retreat participant. “Deep level healing. Very safe and gentle environment to explore ourselves. The approach was so unique, and every participant gets a lot out of it.”   

To learn more about how a gift to the Van Wezel Foundation can make an impact, visit


The Van Wezel Foundation’s mission is to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts. The Foundation has partnered with the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall since 1987 to support arts education throughout our region, serving more than 50,000 students and their families annually with enriching arts-based education opportunities and professional development for more than 400 teachers across five counties. The Van Wezel Foundation is leading the vision to build a new Sarasota Performing Arts Center as a public-private partnership with the city, and in collaboration with the Bay Park Conservancy and Van Wezel Hall. To learn more about the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center and get involved, visit For more information on the Foundation and its mission, visit, or join us on Facebook and Instagram.


Resilient Retreat was founded in 2018 to empower survivors of abuse and those that experience trauma in the workplace, like first responders and helping professionals, to thrive through selfcare and community. In October 2020, Resilient Retreat began construction on a new 18,000 square foot retreat center and 5,000 square foot community center on 84-acres at 13010 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34240. Upon completion in Fall 2022, Resilient Retreat will be able to further expand its capabilities and capacity to offer healing services to survivors and helping professionals from our community and beyond, including modalities like neurofeedback, yoga, meditation, massage, time in nature, gardening, and support groups as well as enhancing selfcare skills through workshops on healthy cooking, journaling, and other beneficial activities. In addition to the no cost, confidential day programs currently being offered, once retreat construction is complete, peaceful multi-day retreats focused on healing the entire person will be added to provide participants with the necessary tools to not only survive after trauma, but to thrive. For more information about the services of Resilient Retreat, please visit or call 941.343.0039.

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