Musician, artist and former social worker Diana Rose Frances founded St. Francis Healing Works to extend access to the healing arts through Spacecraft, a creative re-use store; Forte Expressive Works, a music program, and more. "I consider the creative healing arts anything that connects people to their own human nature," Frances explains. "Like, in our human nature, we want to make music and sound, we want to move our bodies and dance, we have an instinct to have healthy food and we all feel rejuvenated after we're around nature and animals."
A New York native, Frances began singing with the New York City Opera at the age of seven. As an adult, she worked as a social worker for eight years. Two years ago she decided to combine her two passions, art and helping the community, and co-founded I Can Jam Music Studios, a program that worked with alternative high schools and homeless youth.
For Frances, healing is about more than physical maladies. "I feel like the way to healing society and social dysfunction is giving people a way to help each other and heal their own hearts," she says.
This past January, Frances founded St. Francis Healing works to expand on her initial goal. "St. Francis Healing Works is based around the beliefs of St. Francis, and he believed in the power of nature and animals, he believed in the potential of at-risk youth and he believed in unconditional love," she explains. "Also believing in empowerment, teaching people how to save themselves, teaching them how to use music to heal, how to use art to become a vocation that they love, how to use nature to heal their minds versus expecting someone else to do it for them."
There are currently three main programs under the St. Francis umbrella. Spacecraft is a creative re-use store and also offers classes on making art out of unconventional items. Forte Expressive Works provides private music lessons, live performance classes and open mics. Spirit of the Arts is a monthly gathering where practitioners provide demos of laughter yoga, massage therapy, drumming, Qigong energy work and more. This summer, Frances will add a wellness nature hike program for groups of all ages.
Most of the programs are low-cost or free, often operating on a donation-based or sliding scale model. Although the programs cater to all ages, there is a strong focus on youth and young adults. "I feel like there's a lot that's pulling their attention away and they're powerful young beings in our society," Frances says. "And it's true: They are our future."
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