“Poetry Apothecary” features written and visual art paired to provide a sense of succor during this difficult time. This is Jessica Laura Wood’s “Clay Bucket.” The show hangs in the Center for the Arts’ Lobby Gallery through the end of the month, with a “Prescribe: Poetry Apothecary” livestream reading scheduled for Thursday.

When you think of a prescription, you generally expect a bottle of medication, right? Well, the “apothecary” on exhibit at the Center for the Arts this month offers a different sort of prescription: poetry.

A collaboration between Jackson Hole Writers and the Center for the Arts created and curated by Matt Daly, assistant director of JH Writers, “Poetry Apothecary” features work by local artists who paired up to write poems and join them with visual components.

The mixed-media exhibit strives to “acknowledge the power of poetry to serve as a balm, a poultice, a splint, a placebo, a treatment, a remedy, a prescription or perhaps even a cure for some of what ails us in our times of need for healing,” Daly said.

The inspiration for the Apothecary was based on a class that Daly helped develop and teach that focuses on addressing burnout in the medical profession. His course uses a mix of practices, including meditation and reflective and creative writing.

Through leading the course, he learned how expressive and creative writing can be as valuable to one’s well-being as medicine.

Daly conceived of the exhibition before the COVID-19 pandemic. He meant for it to run during the 2020 Jackson Hole Writers Conference, which had to be moved online.

“It made me think about whether or not we are personally experiencing the health impacts of COVID-19, the need for healing is universal,” he said.

Now, more than ever, the exhibit stands to be an impactful way to engage viewers and inspire healing.

“For several people who contributed work, I think it really was a healing experience to make what they made,” Daly said.

He hopes people who view the exhibit will engage with it and create something themselves.

The Poetry Apothecary will be on display in the Center for the Arts through the end of July.

A livestream event set for Thursday will feature several medical professionals, including Drs. David Shlim, Giovannina Anthony and Travis Riddell, reading published poems that they feel have a healing capacity. Tune into that for free at the event page on JHCenterForTheArts.org or on the Center’s Facebook page.

Daly encouraged viewers of the livestream and the exhibit to share with him anything they make that was inspired by the event. Email him at info@jhwriters.org. 

Contact Gabrielle Gasser via at 732-7078 or entertainment@jhnewsandguide.com.

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