Supporting the Mental Health of Artists Working with Vulnerable Populations

Saturday, June 16, 4:45 pm - 6:00 pm

Artists who make work with vulnerable populations often witness, evoke, and hold space for emotional processes. While gifted their practice, artists can also feel out of depth when participants are processing trauma through their work. Mental health aid, self-care, and education around trauma are important services to offer artists in these spaces so that they can confidently care for both their participants and themselves.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn more about holding emotional space in an artistic process, drawing boundaries with participants, and supporting artists in their specific skillsets.
  2. Gain practical learnings about how local arts agencies can serve as direct and indirect support to artists who work in psychologically challenging situations.
  3. Explore self-care and self-assessment protocols for mental health, as well as strategies for identifying at-risk individuals and resources for supporting them.



Liz Green, MSW
Social Worker
Arts Approach
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Liz Green, MSW (May 2018) is a clinical social worker using creativity to address mental health issues and leads audience engagement initiatives for a variety of arts organizations. She is currently the director for OnStage Seniors: A Community Project of McCarter Theatre, a teaching artist working in refugee communities with Buildabridge, International, a board member for the Painted Bride Art Center's millennial engagement team BrideNext, and the evaluator and past community engagement manager for Temple Institute on Disabilities' arts initiatives aimed toward telling the untold stories of Pennsylvania's Intellectual Disability Rights Movement. Recent projects include community engagement manager for War of the Worlds with the Drexel University and Calvary Center for Culture and Community, The End, an interactive game exploring one’s mortality, with Swim Pony Performance Arts, and engagement for the 100 person community army for Shakespeare in Clark Park’s Henry IV. She has studied documentary performance through institutes with Sojourn Theatre, Ping Chong and Company, and Cornerstone Theatre.

De Nichols
Social Practice Design Principal
Civic Creatives
Saint Louis, Missouri

Through a multi-disciplinary creative practice, De Nichols mobilizes global changemakers to design and activate ideas addressing issues of social division, racial injustice, food insecurity, and civic disengagement. Based in St. Louis, MO, De leads social impact design firm, Civic Creatives, as a Principal Designer, and she is a 2017 Citizen Artist Fellow of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. She is the visioning artist of the Mirror Casket (2014), a sculpture and performance created as protest art during the 2014 Ferguson uprising, which was collected by the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum for African-American History and Culture in 2016. Within her community, De serves as a member of the Boards of Directors for Forward through Ferguson and Creative Reaction Lab, two organizations that exist to foster more racial equitable practices, policies, and systems within communities. Most recently, De was selected as a 2018 Artist Fellow of the Regional Arts Commission St. Louis.