Women’s art retreat hits the beach

  • Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Diane Scher, Charleston resident, and artist/facilitator with a bachelor of fine arts degree from San Jose State University, will be conducting the first “Art @ the Beach” Women’s Retreat, Wednesday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tides Hotel, Folly Beach. This workshop is part of a series of classes Scher developed in San Jose, Calif., known as “No Stress Art Workshops.”

The Loma Prieta Earthquake, a 7.1 quake, hit the San Francisco Bay area on Oct. 17, 1989.

After the destruction of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, Californians went back to work and their everyday lives, but most of them continued to suffer stress and post traumatic stress, depending on their losses. The quake hit hard on the west coast. and not only left a destructive path, but the aftershocks continued for months.

The Art for Stress Relief program was originally based on the stress and the post trauma suffered by local residents, some of whom urged her to create a class.

At the invitation of friend and local professor of photograph, by February, 1990, Scher exhibited more than 30 of her drawings at San Jose City College. The exhibit was called “Aftershocks: Post Quake Expressionism.” at San Jose City.

Shortly after the exhibit, she created the No Stress Art series, and it was officially introduced in the Santa Clara County’s Adult Education Program in Silicon Valley. Next, she marketed the workshops to high tech companies focusing on “Stress Management” at Hewlett Packard, Apple, and Intel for their employee development and corporate training programs in Silicon Valley. She was told that it was the first creativity class introduced in high technology.

The workshops were not only educational but they were fun, according to the groups of classmates. They continued to be popular, and Scher received high marks on the company evaluations and personal testimonials from hundreds of attendees over the years.

It not only brought out more creative decision making, but a creative spirit,and an art form of relieving everyday stress at work and at home. She incorporated spontaneous and right brain drawing techniques, music, relaxation exercises, visual journaling, writing and other creative exercises, including team play.

The classes extended to children’s programs, Kaiser Permanente’s Medical Center, and a variety of community programs.

When she moved to Myrtle Beach in 1996, and later in 2000, she continued to offer her classes to non profits and social service organizations’ such as for the staff of Mercy Hospice and in other public venues. She taught a creativity class for Roper’s Care Advantage Program for Seniors, and at the Ship Shapes Maritime Gallery in downtown Charleston, that she co-owned with the late William “Bill” Thomas-Moore.

Scher at that time, contacted the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) headquarters in Tucson, Ariz., and the community director, Michael Blishak, regarding support groups. He in turn asked her to donate some of her paintings to the permanent MDA Art Collection, which she did. Her paintings, along with many other artists’ works are selected for the MDA’s traveling art exhibit around the country.

Some types of these diseases are fatal. There is no cure yet, but steady, gene research and trials continue.

Scher says, “I truly want to share my creative skills and life experiences with others at this age.” She is 70 years old. She is donating a portion of the proceeds of the upcoming Art @ The Beach Workshop at Folly Beach, April 17, to the local chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

For more information about the “Art @ The Beach Women’s Retreat, please Diane Scher, 843-762-6280, 324-0900.

Personally, Scher has coped with muscular dystrophy since her diagnosis at age 15. She suffers from Facioscapulahumeral” Dystrophy (FSH), a slow moving form of the disease, that involves increased weakening of muscles around the face, shoulders, arms and lower back.

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