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Hyde Park Art & Centered: A Wellness Day

May 21, 2022 @ 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Join us this Mental Health Awareness Month for a free day of wellness activities to center your mind with art, sound meditation, yoga, and workshops!

Register here for the workshops below:

Lonely Intersections Workshop (in Mueller Meeting Room)

11 – 2pm (Black Queer Specific)

Join facilitator Abu Ansari for a participatory theatre session, culminating in a devised performance, that aims to address loneliness in queer Black individuals. For Black LGBTQ+ folks who are experiencing loneliness and want to tap into their creative side. This workshop uses fun theatre-based activities to bring loneliness out of the shadows of stigma and shame. As Black LGBTQ+ folks, we navigate a lot and often neglect our mental health. This event gives space and time to reflect on how loneliness manifests in our lives and explores what the opposite of loneliness can look like, all in collaboration with folks like us who are going through something similar.

The 3-hour workshop does not aim or claim to solve loneliness. It builds awareness and facilitate discoveries through reflection and connection. It is a just a taste of a more expansive 8-week project that entails devising a play about this subject.


Abu Ansari is a performer and facilitator who who has worked primarily in Chicago and London. He has been a part of Chicago’s theatre community for 20 years and has also been active during that time in socially engaged and participatory theatre. He worked as a facilitator and performer with GTC Dramatic Dialogues and Imagination Theater with participants of all ages to investigate topics such as substance abuse, conflict resolution, sexual assault, and diversity and inclusion awareness.

As a teaching artist and board member of Chicago’s Voice of the City, Abu worked with young people to devise original performances based on personal and imagined stories, and he co-produced Switch, a monthly partner dancing event for Chicago’s LGBTQ+ communities. Abu has recently co-founded the Agitate Collective in London, which will use theatre to encourage young people to interrogate one-sided historical narratives taught in schools.

While studying for his MA in applied theatre in London, Abu became interested in using theatre to explore loneliness, particularly in marginalized communities. He facilitated workshops at Goldsmiths University for a variety of participants, including lonely gay men. He aims to build upon this work by exploring and developing theatre-based methods for addressing loneliness in queer Black communities.

Yoga Session with Candis Oakley (Catwalk) (Open to All)

Join us on our Jackman Goldwasser Catwalk for a one hour yoga session alongside the natural light overlooking Gallery 1. Bring your own mat and mask!

About your instructor: Candis Oakley, E-RYT 200, is a yoga instructor and founder of Very Human Social. This mission-driven social club produces memorable experiences, workshops, classes, and events that encourage authentic human connection, self-exploration, and personal growth. With over ten years of experience in various mindfulness practices, Candis is driven by her desire to generate a culture of hope and belonging and expand our conscious capacities for individual, collective and planetary wellbeing. Her values are rooted in liberation, embodied ethics, personal autonomy, and spiritual sovereignty. Very Human Social is deeply personal to Candis and her way of contributing to change and good in the world.

Current Vibrations Sound Meditation (in Library) (Open to All)
2 – 3pm

Join meditation facilitator Jay Taylor for an experience in sound.  Sit back and allow the precise frequencies of the crystal singing bowls to support you in reaching a deep state of relaxation.  No skills, abilities, or beliefs are required to participate and receive the benefits of this meditation.

After completing a ten year middle school teaching career, meditation facilitator Jay Taylor decided to explore a new path.  Over the past 3 and a half years Jay has facilitated over 1,000 sound meditation experiences in and around Chicago supporting many thousands of people.  His intention behind each of these meditations has been one of service. Following each meditation participants often share that they feel a deep sense of peace, relaxation, and harmony. Jay stands firmly in the possibility that sound is the wave of the future and a key to providing release, relaxation, rest, and rejuvenation.

Checking-In with Yourself: A Therapeutic Arts Workshop with Farah Salem (Open to All)
3 – 4pm in Pond 

This workshop is geared towards individuals who are interested in checking-in with themselves and their mental health with the use of art as therapy. The space is facilitated and informed by art therapy frameworks, however is not a replacement for professional counseling. With an intentional expressive process this workshop offers the option of following a prompt around centeredness or engaging in freehand artmaking. The workshop will conclude with a sharing of final works and a supportive conversation amongst participants.


Farah Salem (she/her)  is an artist and art therapist from Kuwait, whose photo, performance, and installation practice questions the potential erasure of socio-cultural conditioning, focusing on the gendered nature of trauma as it is embedded within her experiences as an Arab woman. Her studio and art therapy practices are bridged by social activism. In both, she focuses on community building through artmaking, investigating the use of materials for social-emotional wellbeing, accessibility of mental health services, and raising awareness about domestic and gender-based violence. She holds a BA in Visual Communications from Gulf University for Science and Technology and an MA in Art Therapy from SAIC. Farah’s work has been exhibited at United Photo Industries (New York), Mana Contemporary (Chicago), Site Galleries (Chicago), La Galerie (Dubai), and Contemporary Art Platform (Kuwait). She was also a 2021 Radicle Resident Artist at the Hyde Park Art Center. 


May 21, 2022
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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Hyde Park Art Center
5020 South Cornell Avenue, Chicago, IL 60615
Chicago, IL 60615 US
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