Skip to main content

Local Art is a Balm that Soothes, Restores and Inspires

Aug 29, 2021 12:46PM ● By Gisele M. Siebold

Art in its many forms encourages individuals, families, groups and communities to tell their stories. Whether it is by putting pen to paper, painting a blank canvas or engaging a community with a vivid, sprawling mural, art inspires and lifts us up.


Writing Therapy for Cancer Patients


Melissa Greene, therapeutic writing teacher and founder of Write From the Heart creative writing workshops understands how writing can be therapeutic when it is taught in an atmosphere of warmth, compassion and trust. Since 2014, she has led free workshops for cancer patients and their caregivers, in collaboration with the Penn Medicine/Lancaster General Health Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute.


“The workshop is a place where we approach writing through poise, delicacy and precision of thought,” explains Greene. “Because it’s a cancer support writing workshop, some people think we’re going to direct everything toward the topic of cancer, but I always let people know that they can write about the cancer experience—or not. We’re also there to have a bit of fun. I think people find our workshops therapeutic in that we don’t focus directly on cancer. Patients tell me again and again that medicine alone is not enough. Writing alone is also not enough, but together, they a create a total healing picture.”


Public Art Inspires Community Engagement


Sprocket Mural Works is a citywide mural project that works with neighborhoods, artists and organizations to create vibrant community murals across Harrisburg, with creative action serving as a catalyst for increased community pride and civic engagement. As the summer-long 2021 Harrisburg Mural Festival by Sprocket Mural Works continues and stretches its reach into neighboring communities, two community-focused murals are in the creation stages in Penbrook and Steelton.


“While much of our work over the past seven years has focused on uplifting Harrisburg through art, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to spread the joy—through murals—to our city’s neighbors,” says Megan Caruso, Sprocket co-founder and president. “Our partners in Penbrook and Steelton could not be more positive and welcoming, recognizing the value murals will add to their vibrant communities and daily lives.”


Art As a Universal Language


“Intuitive and visionary art offer us a universal language that is part of our felt sense of being and invite us into the temple of the body and into life itself,” notes local artist Lori Sweet. “Through art, we can be guided by the mystical, the magical and the mythical. It unites us in the moment, here and now, as we navigate our lives, but it reminds us that we are part of a bigger story. Art is where both the personal stories are told and the collective, universal story is shared. It is a sanctuary for the sacred,” she believes.


For more information, visit, and