A collaboration between the Gunnison Arts Center and The Center for Mental Health

Made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley. 

Shape, see, move, hear, and feel what’s inside. This NEW series of art activities and classes is aimed at helping all in our community understand and safely express emotions during difficult times. The Gunnison Arts Center has teamed up with The Center for Mental Health to offer this mindful art series to the Gunnison Valley. We’re here to help you explore and express creativity and emotions through art. Come participate in-person or in a virtual class and even download an activity to do in your own space, on your own time. Learn about GAC’s Covid-19 class policies here.

*Click area of focus to view classes.

Stress Relief






Stretch Yourself ~ (All Ages)

Warm-up your body and prepare to move freely and comfortably within it. In this short but effective stretching session we will free your body of the stress it can hold to prepare you to fully engage in your next dance or movement class, or even your day to day activities. This course can be paired with any other dance or movement course. Instructor: Jes Vogan.

  • Virtual Class: Available to watch on YouTube on Friday, July 24.
  • Cost: $10 / GAC Members $8.50

Sign up HERE


Rise Above Covid: An Acrylic Painting Workshop ~ (Young Adults and Adults Ages 16+)

Participants will explore the Gunnison Valley from above by painting a birds eye view of a local area that has brought them joy and escape during the Covid-19 pandemic. Maps of the valley will be provided to be able to trace the features of the landscape and then, using acrylic paints, participants will paint colors that represent the emotions they felt during the pandemic and/or the emotions they felt when spending time in their favorite location in our beautiful valley. 

  • Instructor: Deirdre Jones
  • Tuesday, September 1. 5:30 – 8:00 pm. 
  • Cost: $25 / $21.25 Members

Sign up HERE


Drop That Pot ~ (Young Adults and Adults 16+)

Participants will be shown how to throw a basic form on the wheel, most students will struggle to find the perfect pot but, with the help of our instructor, will discover that you can succeed with help. Once the cylinders or bowls are thrown, the stress of wheel throwing them will be released by dropping them, allowing us to see the form in a different way and build from what we now have. This practice is freeing and would present itself to be a foundation of “failed” expectation that grows into something else, something uniquely yours. Instructor: Kristin Gruenberger

CLASS SOLD OUT, stay tuned for our fall offerings. 

  • Tuesday, September 15. 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
  • Cost: $20 / GAC Members $17.


Coping with Uncertainty & Change

Movement & Mindfulness ~ (Young adults and adults ages 16+)

Join this four part movement class that focuses on mindfulness practice and reconnecting to one’s natural rhythms, such as our breath and heartbeat.  Each class will focus on a different type of rhythmic movement and mindfulness strategy to help build a deeper connection with oneself and feel more rooted in the body and mind. We will learn to let go of the toxic thoughts and feelings that we so often harbor in our bodies and move freely but with intention and awareness. After each in-person session, classes will be available to download and do on your own time.  Instructor: Jes Vogan.

  • Sunday, August 9. 5:00 – 6:00 pm.
  • Wednesday, August 19. 7:30 – 8:30 pm.
  • Sunday, August 30. 5:00 – 6:00 pm.
  • Wednesday, September 9. 7:30 – 8:30 pm.
  • Cost: $40 / GAC Members $34. $10 session / $8.50 members. 

Sign up HERE








Trust Yourself, Trust Your Voice ~ (Teens & Adults 18+)

We’ve all found ourselves in situations, be it giving a presentation, in a class, at a meeting, or sometimes just at a meal with friends and family, having something to say, but for any number of reasons, stopping ourselves and staying quiet.  The stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we have to offer are powerful and important and not always accurate.  In this class, we’ll help identify the stories and narratives that may be holding us back, and using theatre-based activities and techniques, dig into new practices to remind us of just how powerful we are and how much we have to offer.  Wear comfortable clothes and prepare to move and laugh! Location: GAC Dance Studio. Instructor: Heather Hughes.

  • Teens 13 – 18: Friday, July 24. 7:00 – 9:00 pm.
  • Adults 18+: Thursday, August 6. 4:00 – 6:00 pm.
  • Adults 18+: Saturday, September 12. 4:00 – 6:00 pm.
  • Cost: $20 / GAC Members $17

Sign up HERE


Tear It Up and Make Something of It ~ (Ages 5 – 10)

Participants will be provided a 11X18 white sheet of paper and various colors of tissue paper. Our instructor will work with the little ones to help them understand the emotions they have experienced (happy, sad, confused, all feelings) and validate those feelings by manipulating the medium as desired and creating an art piece with it.  The intent of the class is to understand that all feelings are beautiful and they can come together to create a piece of art. Feelings are valid and real.  The first session will take place at the end of summer and will prioritize expressing how your summer was different due to Covid-19.  The next two sessions will be after school has started to process the emotions that come with living with Covid-19 and how your day to day activities are now different.  Instructor: Amber Butler.

  • Tuesdays, 4:30 – 6:30 pm. August 18, September 1, September 15. 
  • Cost: $20 Session / GAC Members $17. $60 all 3 sessions / $51 members. 

Sign up HERE


Just Take a Break

Wood Burning

Find mindfulness and a sense of zen in this single day workshop. Students will be provided with the tools to draw and burn their own mandalas on wood. The process of wood burning is relaxing and provides an escape from everyday stress. No drawing experience necessary. Instructor: Chelsea Hoitt. 

  • Tuesday, August 4. 5:30 – 8:30 pm. 
  • Cost: $25 / $21.50 Members.

Sign up HERE


Tie-Dye Masks ~ (Ages 6 – 12)

Create something fun and functional in this one hour workshop!  Our instructor will show students step by step how to make their very own, unique, tie-dye masks that are sure to cheer anyone up when wearing them around town! Instructor: Sunny Wolfe. 

  • Thursday, August 13. 11:00 am – 12:00 pm.
  • Cost: $10 / $8.50 Members. 

Sign up HERE


Tie-Dye Masks ~ (Young Adults and Adults Ages 16+)

Create something fun and functional in this one hour workshop!  Our instructor will show students step by step how to make their very own, unique, tie-dye masks that are sure to cheer anyone up when wearing them around town! Instructor: Sunny Wolfe. 

  • Wednesday, August 19. 6:00 – 7:00 pm.  
  • Cost: $10 / $8.50 Members. 

Sign up HERE


Meditation and Mandalas

Gather your whole family to paint mandalas on river stones with Boo Radford! This workshop will be instruction interspersed with meditation. There is something uniquely calming about focusing on the task immediately before you, allow yourself to create in stillness and with purpose. Quiet the mind while creating something beautiful. Instructor: Boo Radford. 

  • Pre-recorded virtual art class. Includes supplies, staff will arrange for kit to be picked up.
  • Cost: $25 / $21.50 Members. 

Sign up HERE


Acrylic Pouring

Treat yourself to something new and colorful! In this video, Artist and instructor, Gail Sovick, will walk you step by step through the process of mixing your fluid paints and using them to create your own, unique, abstract painting. Acrylic Pouring is fun for all ages, this project can be completed as a family or individually. Instructor: Gail Sovick.

  • Pre-recorded virtual art class. Includes supplies, staff will arrange for kit to be picked up.
  • Cost: $30 / $25.50 members.

Sign up HERE


Photo Transfer & Colors

Take a trip down memory lane and learn how to transfer your favorite black & white images to canvas by using a simple trick you can easily achieve at home! Once the image is transferred, add some color to the print using acrylic paints and pens to make it uniquely yours. Our instructor will walk you through the process in a quick online video you can access at any time and we will provide most of the supplies, all you need to do is join the fun. Instructor: Megan West.

  • Pre-recorded virtual art class. Includes supplies, staff will arrange for kit to be picked up.
  • Cost: $20 / $17 members.

Sign up HERE



Exploring Your Emotions

Story Tiles ~ (Ages 8 – 12)

Using a variety of hand building techniques, students will focus on experiences and emotions felt over the past few months to tell their own story through clay. Designs can be abstract and color can be used to express emotions or designs can be detailed depictions.  Instructor: Kristin Gruenberger.

  • Tuesday, August 18. 4:00 – 6:00 pm.
  • Cost: $20 / GAC Members $17.

Sign up HERE


Dance Your Heart Out ~ (All Ages)

In this class students will explore emotion through movement. Learn to express yourself and release your feelings in a nonjudgmental environment through a choreographed series of movements and fun activities. We’ll explore different dance inspired exercises that help you become more in tune with your inner self. No dance experience required. This is a great class for all ages, parents and kids, partners, friends or to explore by yourself. Classes held safely in person in the GAC Dance Studio. Sign up for just one session or join us for all three! Instructor: Alexandria Rodriguez.

  • Tuesday, July 28. 6:00 – 7:00 pm. 
  • Saturday, August 15. 10:30 – 11:30 am.
  • Wednesday, September 16. 2:00 – 3:00 pm.
  • Cost: $10 session / $8.50 Members. All 3 sessions $30 / $25.50 Members

Sign up HERE


Sound and Color of Emotions ~ (All Ages)

Join Heidi on a journey of sound and color as we explore abstract watercolor renditions on the theme of emotion. Bring water, wear comfortable clothing, and enjoy a series of guided meditations through breath, awareness, crystal bowl and vocal vibrations, and free exploration of the watercolor medium. Relax in colorful cocoons of flowing fabric panels. Use local spring water entrained IN the crystal bowl to create a final piece that embodies the process of your journey. Classes will be in the dance studio at the GAC and will last 2 and a half hours. Participants can ZOOM in! There will also be meditation-videos incorporating soothing nature sounds and imagery included for students. All ages! Max 8 – Min 3 students. Instructor: Heidi Benson.

  • 1 session with 4 options to attend.
  • Saturday, August 1, 10 am – 12:30 pm.
  • Wednesday, August 12, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 6:00 – 8:30 pm.
  • Friday, August 28, 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm.
  • Cost: $25 session / $21.25 Members. (Please email carlie@gunnisonartscenter.org if you’d like to join us over Zoom!)

Sign up HERE



Expression Through Watercolors and Nature ~ (Ages 9 – 13)

Drawing inspiration from the natural environment around us and using colors to express emotions, students will get the opportunity to express themselves by transferring their feelings onto paper using watercolors.  The first day will be an opportunity to meet the class and paint, the second day will be a day to share experiences with the group and, hopefully, discover new friendships through shared experiences. Instructor: Amber Butler.

  • Tuesday & Wednesday, July 18 & 29. 3:30 – 5:30 pm.
  • Cost: $40 / GAC members $34.

Sign up HERE


Finding the Well of your Creativity ~ A Writing Course ~ (Ages 16+)

Weekend Intensives & Weekly Classes

Join us in cultivating tools for creativity and well-being. In order to access our creativity, we must be willing to look into the murky waters of ourselves. This class begins to lay the foundation for a healthier self, whether you are experiencing stress, fear, sadness… GREAT those are the murky waters and this class is FOR YOU. This Intensive class has a specific focus on using writing as a tool to create space for creativity and healing to transpire. We will try a variety of different techniques to help you access the well of your creativity. These techniques include integrating meditation and contemplation, clearing mental/emotional blocks with Free Form writing,  and the power of using visual and auditory writing prompts. At the end of this intensive, you will have four unique mediation techniques, the ability to remove limiting beliefs whether mental or emotional, and a set of tools to implement in your own life that allow you to return to your well and draw up ideas and inspiration. Instructor: Paige Stewart.

  • Learn more on the four part series below.
  • Category: Exploring Emotions

Weekend Intensives:  Sign up HERE

July 18 & 19 OR August 22 & 23, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (with a one hour lunch break).  

Cost: $80 / $68 Members


Weekly Classes:  Sign up HERE

Virtual ZOOM on Tuesdays, August 4 – 18 (updated dates). 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

IN PERSON on Thursdays, August 6 – 20 (updated dates). 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

Cost: $80 / $68 Members


Part One: Gaining Clarity

The first step in any endeavor is to find clarity. In order to access our creativity we must be willing to look into the murky waters of ourselves. This class begins to lay the foundation for a healthier self, whether you are experiencing stress, fear, sadness… GREAT those are the murky waters and this class is FOR YOU.  This first class will begin with a quieting and centering of the self, and then we will use the Free Form Writing technique to begin to move through and illuminate mental/emotional blocks and begin to release them. This is a practice you can then use on your own, at any time. 

Part Two: Listening Deeply

We are gaining Clarity and now we must go deeper by Listening. This class will begin with a unique meditation and the setting of intentions, the goal of which is to further clarify what is currently going on, and what we are seeking to heal and create. Then poems will be read aloud specifically geared towards listening deeper, and each poem will have a unique writing prompt that will be the jumping off point to this writing technique. There is no assessment in this class, it is merely giving us another tool to gain clarity and go within. 

Part Three: Seeing Truly

To be able to see truly what is before us, and in us without illusion is real magic. This session will begin with a unique mediation technique to illuminate and center us. We will be looking at different works of art to expand our language of creating. We will explore composition and elements that together create theme and meaning in artwork. Then we will use our new ability to look at art and do an imaginative writing exercise. 

Part Four: The Wisdom of the Well

This Final session is infusing us with the wisdom that the well is always full, and everything can be used for inspiration and upliftment. This session will also begin with a unique meditation technique. By this 4th session we have integrated the use of Free Form Writing to remove mental/emotional blocks, we have the ability to listen deeply and respond, we have the ability to see truly and interpret, and now we will use all of this to create and solidify our leanings; that we have cultivated tools for creativity and well-being.



Earthen Lyricsim: Methods for Writing in Nature, Finding Rhythm in Your Prose (Adults 18+)

A Healing Through the Arts Writing & Music Program 

In this two hour workshop, you will spend time writing outdoors, drawing inspiration from the landscape. Then head indoors to explore the process of turning prose into song. Lizzy will teach exercises to strengthen and expand lyrical ideas, use rhythm as your guide, and develop your musical voice.

Instructor: Lizzy Plotkin.

  • Saturday, August 15, 2:00 – 4:00 pm.
  • OR Saturday, September 26, 10:00 – 12:00 pm
  • Cost: $20 / GAC members $17.50.

Sign up HERE

Learn about the Instructors!

Heidi Benson is a singer, storyteller, GACtor and painter as well as a practitioner of mindful breathing and sound healing at Integrative Therapies through GVH. She trained in singing and opera from early childhood through college, and since then has studied regenerative agriculture and nutrition, yoga, art, philosophy, story archetypes, energy work, breathing and meditative techniques, all while trying to understand and heal from trauma and anxiety. She also teaches voice lessons focusing on breathwork, confidence, and expressing emotions. She has been spending the last few years synthesizing her accumulated knowledge and personal healing journey into a compassionate method of performance healing: a combination of feeling emotions in a safe space created by soothing harmonies and visuals, attaining temporal and physical awareness through breath, and then examining and retelling our personal trauma story into a story of recovery through the use of creative mediums. She believes art and creativity have the power to make our deep problems and patterns observable and tangible. When we can bring those energies into the physical world we can then change them, and become more resilient to events beyond our control.”


Heather Hughes is an Actor/Director/Teaching Artist/Public Speaking Coach who loves finding the places where real life and our imaginations intersect.  Heather believes that the basic tenets of acting: being present, being honest, listening, and trusting yourself and your voice, translate to nearly every facet of human interaction and connection, and loves nothing more than helping people discover those strengths and abilities in themselves.


Jessica Vogan has been dancing since the age of three and has studied several different styles of dance.  She graduated from the International Baccalaureate High School Dance Program before Minoring in Dance at the University of Arizona and eventually moving to Gunnison for school where she has taught dance both at the Gunnison Arts Center as well as High Attitude Dance Academy.  Jessica currently works as a school counselor at Gunnison High School and holds a professional licensure in Mental Health Counseling.  She is passionate about bringing wellness to all aspects of people’s lives, and believes that movement is essential for healing, wellness, and happiness.    


Paige Stewart has her BA in Biopsychology and Clinical Psych and then went on to an MA program in Spiritual Psychology. She now works full-time as a Ceramic Sculpture Artist. She understands the importance of creativity and art as a means to heal and balance the self. She believes we are all inherently creators and each have a well of potential and energy that is always full but we as humans find impressive ways to block ourselves. Creating these classes is her gift to the Gunnison Valley, using techniques she learned in her Spiritual Psychology program as well as those she has cultivated as a practicing Artist. This program is dedicated to giving people a new set of tools and techniques to uplift and empower them.


Amber Butler is an undergraduate student at Western Colorado University pursing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting with a minor in English. She has been teaching at the Gunnison Art Center for a year and loves sharing art and creativity with the Gunnison community through her classes.  Amber enjoys painting, playing with cat Malcom, journaling, and spending time with her friends and family whenever she can. She also loves the way the environment changes so beautifully with every season in Gunnison and she is grateful of the appreciation for art and art education within this valley.


Kristin Gruenberger is a full time ceramic artist in Gunnison. She holds a BFA in Ceramics from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her work and process ignites the imagination and evokes a sense of play and wonderment. Her workshops focus on playful technique and exploration rather than perfection, encouraging students to connect with the clay and go with the flow of their own creative process. She currently teaches workshops on form and surface at the Gunnison Art Center and Art Students League of Denver.

More amazing instructors info to come!