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Join ArtServe for a deep dive into the power of art as healing therapy with a panel of local experts who have extensive and sometimes personal experience with using art as a recuperative instrument. Moderated by artist and human rights advocate Vicki Rosenthal, panel participants will discuss their stories, offer insights about art as a cultivator of wellness and share the impact of their work.

Panelists include stand-up comic and former substance abuse counselor Michael Panzeca, Florida Children’s Theatre Executive Director Janet Erlick, ArtServe Executive Director and former Center for Contemporary Dance Executive Director Craig W. Johnson, former Miami City Ballet dancer and stroke survivor turned painter Isanusi Garcia Rodriguez and artist and educator George Gadson.

Following the discussion there will be a Q & A with the panel and an opportunity for participants to share their experiences.

DATE:  June 5th, 2019
TIME:  Networking 5:30pm | Panel Discussion Starts at 6pm
ArtServe Larsen Auditorium
FREE | Cash Bar

About the Panel

Moderator:   Vicki Rosenthal
Vicki Rosenthal Art is a business in which she combines her talent of art with her passion for human rights. Vicki knew at an early age that art was the pastel to life. Her parents tried to guide her to become a professional artist-  however, she was never inspired to use her art as a career until the beginning of 2018 when she realized that her advocacy work of many years combined with oil and acrylic on canvas could create a platform for discussion / education to promote social change.

Vicki has lived in Broward County since 1980 where she has advocated for underserved populations, particularly black and brown communities of TLGBQIA+, persons living with HIV/AIDS, and victims/survivors of human trafficking. While serving on various boards she has pushed non-discrimination governmental actions for housing, employment and public services. Vicki advanced a research and experiential learning course in Global Citizenship at Florida Atlantic University.

George Gadson - Artist
George Gadson, graduate of Duke University and native of the small southern town of Ft. Meade, Florida, discovered his talent of art in 1981. While in search of a means of creative relaxation from the rigors of a demanding banking career, he quickly became enamored by painting. His work has evolved into use of different medium and today he is one of Florida’s most versatile and celebrated African American artist.

George is the founder of Art-Turnatives for Building Communities, Inc. (ABC), which is a non-profit organization that seeks to bring the arts to communities where access to and participation in the arts is limited.   ABC’s program seeks to bring back to life the forgotten history found in many communities and capture civic memories through direct hands-on creative experiences such as art classes workshops, and community outreach projects.

Gadson holds a Bachelor's of Art degree from Duke University, completed studies at the University of Valencia, Spain and holds a Masters of Arts degree in Education from Brewer Christian College.

Isanusi Garcia Rodriguez - Artist
Born in Havana, Cuba and following in the tradition of his family, Isanusi Garcia Rodriguez studied dance at the Escuela Nacional de Arte. His unbelievable talent led him to study and perform all over the world, eventually bringing him to the U.S. where he danced in Miami under Edward Villella.

In 2012 Isanusi’s dance career was brought to a halt when a brain aneurysm left him paralyzed and unable to speak or understand anything. Slowly he has rewired himself, making a remarkable recovery. Always having visually creative ideas before his accident, after he has freed and discovered many new visions in his work. His style is playful and imaginative, and many of his paintings are inspired by his love of dance and choreography. He imagines the movement as if he were choreographing a ballet, and puts his ideas onto the canvas. What he cannot achieve physically anymore, he can realize through his paintings making his choreographies come to life.

Michael Panzeca - Entertainer
20 years has been active in the field as a counselor, writing, directing and producing plays for teenagers about drugs and alcohol, HIV, aids, domestic violence, gangs, racism and child abuse. He was a writer for recovery today magazine and a regular on that radio show. He was one of the founders of integrated arts and Healing the Wounded Warrior Weekend, a retreat for men. Michael has worked with thousands of addicts and alcoholics and their families and spoken and lectured and taught at numerous professional agencies, organizations on the topics of treatment, therapy and recovery for addicts, alcoholics doctors, nurses and therapists all over the country. He still consults with some of them today after deciding to follow his dream to do standup.

Michael believes in the original definition of the word "sanity" (the ability to work. love and play). Stand up for him is work that he loves that feels like play. Michael comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable with his straight forward intelligent in your face style of comedy while he makes you laugh.

Craig W Johnson
ArtServe | Center for Contemporary Dance
With 22+ years of experience, Johnson is a seasoned veteran in artistic programming, creative direction and senior-level arts management.  He joins ArtServe from Central Florida, where he served as president and CEO of the Center for Contemporary Dance, a nonprofit community dance organization he co-founded and spearheaded for 17 years. He earned national recognition for the organization with multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and awards for statewide contributions to arts education, social change and innovation in the arts.

The Center for Contemporary Dance was known for its community involvement and commitment to introducing dance to people from all walks of life. The center led a free “healing through dance” workshop after the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre, and has led programs for the visually impaired, at-risk students, low-income neighborhoods, the elderly and individuals with special needs.

Janet Erlick | Florida’s Children’s Theatre.
Janet Erlick is the Executive Artistic Director of nationally recognized, award-winning Florida Children’s Theatre where she oversees both their administrative and artistic components. She has been in that position since 1999 and has worked at the theatre since 1990.  She teaches, directs and acts in the community and developed and implemented the theatre’s comprehensive outreach program that serves tens of thousands of children, both in and out of school settings.  That program includes A Bridge From Me to You (conflict resolution and character education program), From Page to Stage (literacy improvement program) and an Arts Infusion Program for classroom teachers to learn how to infuse the arts across the academic curriculum.  Her continuous work in the community reflects her assertions as a cultural advocate:  The arts have the power to transform lives, to heal, to celebrate, to challenge and to connect.

She serves as the Chair of Broward County’s Cultural Executives Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Broward Cultural Council, as a member of Broward Women’s Alliance and as a panelist for the South Florida professional theatre Carbonell Awards.  Janet is a graduate of Swarthmore College with a double major in Theatre and Psychology and currently serves as immediate past president of the Alumni Council.

Why this panel is an important topic
The arts have the power to transform lives, to heal, to celebrate, to challenge, and to connect. My work in the wellness arena supports that idea every time, in a variety of profound ways. Whether working with families dealing with terminal illness or health crisis, with children served through hospice, with those in residential mental health or substance abuse facilities, and everyone in between, art makes a powerful difference in the quality of life and provides ways to process and explore unimaginable circumstances in healing and meaningful ways.

Kelsey Brannock | The Renfrew Center
Kelsey Brannock was born and raised in south Florida and currently resides in Palm Beach County. As a young girl and throughout her life, she has depended greatly on art as an outlet for her own creative expression. After graduating from Florida State University with a bachelor's degree in social work, she served for three years as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. There she worked as a employee to a local organization called Cordillera Parents Federation, Inc and was responsible for development work with the international organization Child Fund. Some of her projects included developing an HIV/AIDs awareness program in the local high school, a weekly art program within the schools, facilitating local youth murals and community gallery exhibitions. She spent her last year designing and helping to build a two-story youth art center within her new community.

Following her service, Kelsey moved to New York City and received her master's degree in Creative Arts Therapy from the School of Visual Arts. During her three years in New York she worked with adults living with mental illness and HIV/AIDS and youth and young adults living in homelessness. There she became completely dedicated to the unrivaled and exceptional benefits of art therapy, which offers individuals the ability to express themselves during times when words cannot be found. Offering to others the opportunity to experience the healing power that artistic expression has provided for her time and time again.

Kelsey is currently an Art Therapist at The Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, a residential treatment center for women struggling with eating disorders. At Renfrew, Kelsey helps to assist women in using alternative creative venues for expressing emotions, tolerating discomfort, self-reflection, validating their recovery process and finding the strength in themselves that they already possess.