HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – EVMS Art Therapy and Counseling Arts for Optimal Program is hosting free education and expressive art workshops.

They are part of a project titled, “Visual Conversations: Community Resilience over Violence.” It’s about prevention and response to violence in the community for those directly or indirectly impacted.

In this week’s Community Chat, learn more about the project that’s taking place across Hampton Roads. Watch the conversation in the video player on this page.

Digital Host Sarah Goode spoke to Dr. Mary Roberts, who developed the project. Roberts is the EVMS master of art therapy and counseling program director and professor.

Over the course of four workshops, participants will explore four topics: community gun violence, trauma informed care, mentoring youth and fostering resilience. There will be a 30-minute presentation followed by reflection through art and discussion.

Photo courtesy of EVMS Arts for Optimal Health.

Roberts said this format allows the public to express themselves differently than how they might with speaking alone.

“We are using art making because sometimes folks can’t find the words to fully express what they’ve experienced,” Roberts said. “And, we can bring people together through the arts to develop conversation sometimes where words can’t be found because trauma has occurred.”

To participate you must be 14 years and older. No prior arts experience is needed.

Starting Monday, July 17, they will take place in four cities across Hampton Roads including Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach.

Find out more about the project at the link here.

Digital Desk Host Sarah Goode will have updates to this story after the live conversation.