We recently partnered with Rapha House, Touch A Life and Art Feeds again to build the 4th art center around the world! This space, the Healing Hands Art Center, built in Chiang Mai, Thailand, will serve as a place of creative healing for girls who have been rescued from trafficking and sexual exploitation.
These art centers have become the “crown jewel” of the Rapha House programs and campuses. In 2016, we built 2 art centers in Cambodia with the same team of design and carpentry professionals.
“Art is often a key component in laying the groundwork for trauma counseling, and these beautifully designed centers invite broken hearts to open in creativity and self-expression,” says Stephanie Freed, CEO and Executive Director of Rapha House.
The Healing Hands Art Center was built with generous funding from the doTerra Healing Hands Foundation.
We had a short 2 weeks to design and build the interior furniture pieces. The girls and staff were asked not to peek, as the interior would be a surprise! On the evening of the reveal party, as the sun was going down, a row of Rapha House girls excitedly held hands and waited for the doors to be opened.
Kim Lewis addressed them, making certain that they knew they were full of worth and value. Kim explained the brightly painted doors hanging on the exterior of the building represented the many “doors of hope” in their future. No matter what had happened to them in the past, there was hope for their future.
The custom rose medallion installed on the ceiling represents this: The fragrance of a rose is most potent in the middle of the night, therefore, extracted during the darkest hours. Our design is a tangible reminder that beauty can be pulled from ashes. Their past does not define them. The rose is a symbol of strength, beauty and resilience. Each space in the room is designed with specific art curriculum in mind to facilitate healing and freedom of expression.
Kim recalls this story from the day of the reveal:
"Art is the Daughter of Freedom", the little girl read out loud, as she walked in and saw the quote on the wall for the first time. "She" is a survivor. She looked at me and responded with brightness in her eyes, "freedom...I like freedom." Tears welled up in my eyes. Such a simple statement, but it wasn't...and it isn't. Her journey to find that freedom, I can't even imagine. She is one of many that have survived trafficking, and have been kept safe thanks to the Heaven-sent Rapha House staff.
Special thanks to Jake Scott of Black Hill Design, for his time and talent as our custom furniture maker and Lead Carpenter. To Tasanee Siriphong, Rapha House Thailand Director, we love you to the moon and beyond. To Art Feeds for their partnership in curriculum and training, along with a special collaboration with Touch A Life Foundation and Pam Cope. Thank you to Anne Rumsey-Wairepo, Director of doTerra Healing Hands Foundation, who made this project possible with the support of the doTerra team.
Photography by Joey Puterbaugh