Free The Arts Jam
7:00 PM19:00

Free The Arts Jam


Music, Poetry and Dance as Healing

We invite people with lived experiences and their peers to come together to create music, dance, and poetry in collaboration with Free the Arts Festival and The Institute for the Development of Human Arts:

Feb 24th, 2018
East Village Access
242 East 2nd st. NY, NY

In this jam we will warm up our bodies and voices, use our voices in song and use our bodies to move and dance freely, and capture our inner experience with poetry, drawing, and coloring. Our process is unique in centering mutuality, peer support and skill sharing from an eye to eye perspective. We use arts as a tool for healing, liberation, individual and collective freedom. Any documentation is towards recording and building a process of Creating The People’s DSM (Different States of Mind-Matter), a community based project to make a creative alternative to the oppressive Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that imprisons, erases and gives stigma to Neurodivergent, especially Black, Indigenous, Queer, Trans People of Color with trauma and lived experiences of mental health; the goal of the project is to create new language, ideology, and practices around inner experience, internalized oppression, mental and whole soul health.

As a mixed race, mixed gender, mixed disability space, we center the emotional needs of Black Indigenous, Disabled, Trans, People of Color by encouraging any intersection of white, cisgender, and male people to listen more, speak less, and hold space for silence and others’ processing styles. We will also ask everyone for any accessibility needs, as well as for People of Color to voice any emotional accessibility needs / any needs as a person of color in the space.

Hosted by: Nikomeh Anderson - A Black and Mixed Race, Trans and Gender Expansive, Neurodivergent, Trauma Survivor, Creative Producer and Collaborator with Free The Arts Festival, Multidisciplinary Theatre Maker, Advocate, Educator, Facilitator, and Cultural Activist who draws the connection to the greater societal picture.

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Starry Nights: Arts & Spirituality Dialogues
7:00 PM19:00

Starry Nights: Arts & Spirituality Dialogues


Join us at
East Village Access
242 East 2nd St. NY, NY
February 13th 2018

What does it mean to be mentally “different” in a culture dominated by reason? How can we pursue other dimensions of our humanity that are often less valued in our time? How do we acknowledge and value our own sensitivity and yearning for ways of being that expand beyond the range of rationality?

There are many thinkers, artists, and leaders we can look to for suggestions. Take for instance, Vincent van Gogh, a critical and visionary artist who placed a greater value on spirituality and justice than many of his contemporaries. The courage of his work shows us that it is possible to step outside the norm, to value alternate ways of thinking, and to connect with each other in our desire to express ourselves through the arts and spirituality.

We can draw inspiration, solace, and wisdom from engaging with courageous works of art and spirituality such as Van Gogh’s and by joining together with others who consider creativity and spirituality important parts of their life, their story, and their healing .

In this workshop, we begin with a short (10 min) guided meditation exercise, followed by a group discussion of a work of spiritual art (such as van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night” or a Mary Oliver poem). Then we engage in a personal creative exercise that furthers our understanding of the work. We will leave connected to a deeper meaning for ourselves and our communities.

Hosted by:

Dr. Bradley Lewis - psychiatrist, therapist, and humanities professor. He is devoted to enriching clinical practice and everyday life through integration with the arts, humanities, and cultural/religious study. 

Dr. Montana Queler - psychologist and licensed mental health counselor. Her approach to therapy honors suffering and difference.

Annie Robinson - Annie Robinson - wellness program facilitator at NYU School of Medicine, narrative medicine instructor, certified wellness coach, and doula. She is dedicated to guiding people in explorations of their innate capacity to heal, awaken, and flourish.

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2:00 PM14:00

Pre-Class Party!


September 9th, 2017
East Village Access
242 East 2nd st.


Whether you're enrolled in classes or not, you're invited! Come hang out with some of the organizers and faculty of IDHA, see our classroom space, and become part of our community as we head straight into one of our first big initiatives: "Re-Thinking Crisis"!

We will have snacks, entertainment, and great discussions! 

See you there!


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2:00 PM14:00

IDHA Networking Potluck Picnic!


Hey friends and comrades - come bask with us in the glory of August in NYC! The faculty and organizers at IDHA decided it's a great time to have a potluck and networking hangout before we embark on our series of classes in the fall. 

☀️ Did you come to our launch event back in June and have a good time?
☀️ Are you interested in building supportive community in NYC around issues of mental health and social justice? 
☀️ Come eat some food and hang in the park with us!

*Here's where we're meeting: Take the B/C to 81st and Central Park West (or the 1 to 79th & Broadway). Enter the park at 81s and CPW. Follow the path below. We will be on the lawn, on the shores of Turtle Pond, in the Shadow of Belvedere Castle*

See you there!


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12:00 PM12:00

Making New Meaning: A School for Innovative Voices and Transformative Visions


To the launch of IDHA (Institute for the Development of Human Arts) a new training initiative that will focus on community-based, recovery-oriented and peer-driven alternatives, which are taking an increasingly prominent role in the new formal and informal care network. We would like you to be a part of this new community of transformative practice. Attendees will also be eligible for a discounted registration rate for our fall course: Rethinking Crisis: An Introduction to Transformative Mental Health Care

East Village Access
242 East 2nd st.
New York, NY

*Plenary Sessions, live music, theater, poetry, dance, and more!*
*Donation based Acupuncture, Massage, and Reiki*
*Drinks by Montauk Juice Factory*

Eventbrite - Making New Meaning: A School for Innovative Voices & Transformative Visions

Event Schedule 

12:00- 12:30- Sign in/registration

12:30-1:30- Introduction & Plenary 1:
-Jazmine Russell: Teaching and Learning from Lived Experience
-Noel Hunter: Trauma informed approaches: Considering context
-Alisha Ali: Addressing the Mental Health Effects of Trauma and Oppression
-Peter Stastny :  What works and what doesn't: Pragmatism and the Ethics of Mental Health care

Performances by:
Mac Russ- Folks songs by a Brooklyn based Singer-Songwriter
Nikomeh Anderson - The Dystopia of Normalcy: Immersive Poetry/Dance

2:30-3:30- Plenary 2:
-Bradley Lewis : Transforming Narratives in Psychiatry
-Ed Altwies: A new paradigm for crisis responses
-Cindy Peterson-Dana: From a Family Perspective

3:30-4:30 - Performances by:
Rebecca Stabile - "Crazy People" and Other Songs about my Human Experience (feat. Daniel Mackler)
Issa Ibrahim - "Confessions of a Zombie Savant"- music and conversation with Geo Geller.

4:30-5:30 -  Plenary 3:
Jonah Bossewitch: Surveillance Psychiatry and the Mad Underground
-Karen Rosenthal & Duysal Karakus: Harm Reduction and Recovery
-Sascha DuBrul: Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs)

5:30-6:00- Improv Comedy Group: Horse Girl (Feat. Will Jacobs, Janna Barron-Ewert, Alexis Rhiannon, Steven Polletta, Donald Chang)

Eventbrite - Making New Meaning: A School for Innovative Voices & Transformative Visions
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