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Tucked away in the Innovista and off of Huger Street—between One Eared Cow and the Congaree River—you’ll find Stormwater Studios, home to artist Heidi Darr-Hope. Heidi recently located to Stormwater Studios this past year, along with eleven other artists, to continue her lifelong passion of creating and teaching art. She’s been doing just that in Columbia for more than twenty-five years, but she might be most well known for the non-profit that she founded: Healing Icons.
Healing Icons began more than twenty years ago with a simple idea from Heidi and the support from a very innovative CEO at a local hospital.
“I wanted to show people that art is an incredibly soulful language that everyone should learn to speak—that’s what I wanted to do and that’s what I still do,” said Heidi. “I teach people how to speak this language and I teach art as a language that can be used for healing and self-discovery.”
In the beginning, Healing Icons was taught at the South Carolina Cancer Center and was geared more around cancer and adult oncology. Today, it’s for anyone who’s experienced a life disrupting event where words just aren’t enough to express one’s self.
“The creative process helps you understand what’s going on inside,” Heidi said. “It gives you a concrete something to explain what you’re feeling.”
Those who have taken art classes with Heidi through Healing Icons say that through art, you can put your burdens down on paper and physically feel the weight of all of that worry and stress be lifted up off of your shoulders. It’s a therapeutic way to mentally and emotionally deal with the difficult things that life throws in your path.
“I want everyone to have access to that visual art,” Heidi said. “The dance, the poetry, the music, the whatever it may be for them that helps us connect to what it is to be human.”
For more information about Healing Icons and artist Heidi Darr-Hope, visit www.healingicons.org.