In In The News

WOOSTER – It’s hard to think of any word but “amazing” to describe the Cheryl and Steve Shapiro Center for the Expressive Arts, said The Village Network’s art therapist, Michelle Cochran, adding, TVN is “so blessed” by the facility.  It opened a year ago on Celebration Day and was once again a focus at Celebration Day 2016.

With studios dedicated to music and the arts, youth spend time in group and individual settings pursuing fine arts.  For this year’s auction, held in the center during the annual Celebration Day on Saturday, July 16, about 100 items were on sale by young artists from four TVN campuses — Salem, Knox, Bethesda and Wooster.  Money will go directly into their accounts for the sale of their work, Cochran said, noting youth worked in a variety of media.

This year she was even able to frame some of their work with matting.  One of the pieces Cochran was especially proud of was a collaborative mural depicting “the tree of where we are growing,” as distinguished from “where we are going,” she said.  “We’re just crossing paths here,” she said, highlighting the young artists’ goals, ranging from graduating from high school to becoming an engineer, singer, dancer or athlete.

Augmenting all that is available in terms of art supplies and facility amenities in the interior of the building, Cochran worked all year with her students on an exterior project — a Zen garden, which will serve a number of purposes, from a place to calm down and meditate to another venue for art work.  Except for the electricity for the fountain and the placement of a table, which was donated, the garden is the fruit of the labor of the youth, whom Cochran said, “dug it out, spread gravel, laid brick and planted.”  “It came out awesome,” she said, and may be used in conjunction with the horticulture program at TVN as well.

Next year’s project, she said, is to “get the ceramic studio up and running.”  Cochran showed off the art room, complete with storage for student portfolios and what is “going to be a chalk wall.”

Music therapist Adrian Murphy, who shares the facility, said youth who are acting out from being troubled “can focus and get engaged” with expressive arts therapy.  With music therapy, “it’s really nice to be able to meet the kids where they are,” whether a youth has taken eight years of piano lessons or never touched an instrument.  The arts are “very important to these kids in their therapy,” said Steve Shapiro.

Reporter Linda Hall can be reached at 330-264-1125, ext. 2230, or

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