Explore Arts for Optimal Health

 The EVMS Arts for Optimal Health Program is hosted by the Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program in the EVMS School of Health Professions. The new program’s mission is to bring art therapy and arts engagement services to the community for wellness, healing and growth, supported through partnerships for education, research and patient care.

First and Second-year students with Program Director, Dr. Mary Roberts, at an internship with Norfolk Street Choir Project during the fall 2020.


Current Projects:

EVMS Arts for Optimal Health will host Visual Conversations: Community Resilience over Violence in four cities in South Hampton Roads.  The Hope and Healing grant provided by UWSHR was in response to the November 22, 2022 mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake. EVMS AOHP is one of 16 organizations to receive grant funding.

This project, developed by Dr. Mary Roberts in the Art Therapy and Counseling, MS program targets prevention in our community through education and expressive arts workshops. These workshops are free and open to individuals (14 and older). The workshops begin with a 30-minute presentation about topics related to Gun Violence, Trauma Informed Care, Mentoring Youth, and Fostering Resiliency.  Topics will be presented by EVMS Master of Public Health and EVMS Art Therapy and Counseling faculty. Following each presentation, participants will reflect through art making and discussion facilitated by an art therapist.

Dinner will be provided and workshops will take place at the following locations:

Indian River Community Center
Mondays, July 17, 24, 31 and August 7, 2023

Slover Library
Tuesdays, August 29, September 5, 12, 26, 2023

Sanctuary of Hope Church - 5:00-7:30pm 
Wednesdays, January 10, 17, 24, 31, 2024

Virginia Beach
Virginia MOCA - 5:30-8:00pm 
Thursdays, February 15, 22 and March 7, 14, 2024

Registration is required and space is limited to 30 participants. 

Contact artthrpy@evms.edu for more information, or register.

This project is made possible by the United Way of South Hampton Roads Hope and Healing Grant  

 EVMS Banner




The AOHP provides education for community members about mental illness, special populations, and the benefits of art therapy. Arts engagement and art therapy advocacy are a primary focus for educating our community.

The GATCP faculty partner with various groups to research the efficacy and benefits for wellness and healing of art therapy and arts engagement. Current proposals are in the development process and once approved by the IRB they will be posted.