PHOENIXVILLE- Lynn Miller has found paradise.
An artist, active community member and art therapist, Miller calls her hometown "Phoenixville paradise."
" I found the community I always wanted here," said Miller. The Colonial Theater, Steel City Coffee House and restaurants are places where residents can meet each other, according to Miller.
Miller might not have felt such a sentiment a few years ago, when she, like many people, was having a difficult time finding a community for herself. She wanted to find other artists, her peers, in the area.
Setting out to change the feeling of disconnection, Miller created the mural project on Main and High Streets two years ago. She invited any artist in the area and at least fifty people with varying backgrounds joined the effort.
"I met wonderful people and we were bonded together with the project," said Miller, "If people volunteer they are going to find their community." The focus of Miller's work has changed some since that time. Her projects are less education oriented and seek to bring people together.
"My interest is in building community through the arts," said Miller, "I want to connect people with their creative selves."
Founder of Expressive Therapy Concepts (E.T.C.), a non-profit organization that teaches music, dance, visual arts and theater, Miller has been living in Phoenixville for the past ten years with her husband, Eric, and nine-year-old son, Zachary.
"A baby, career... It all happened in Phoenixville paradise," said Miller. E.T.C. and the Healing Arts Studio, which works in conjunction, offers a dance floor, musical instruments and recording studio used for one on one personal creative sessions in singing, music, puppetry, clay and improvisational movement. Miller also runs music therapy groups for disabled adults.
Miller is a certified music therapist, and is David Darling's Musicianship and Leadership program certified. She holds a masters degree from Lesley University in expressive arts therapy, a certification from Don Campbell's Therapeutic Soundschool and is a Music for the People and Art for People teacher.
Believing that everyone has creative potential, Miller teaches Painting from the Source training programs and music therapy at Immaculata University.
"Art was always a way for me to express myself," said Miller. "It keeps me happy."
Miller brings her art therapy programs to local assisted living centers, schools and mental health centers creating music with seniors, sing alongs and drumming or using puppetry, ceramics, painting, dance, storytelling, doll making and sculpture. Last summer she organized a parade on diversity with 12-foot-tall puppets made by community volunteers who came together at her studio.
" I'd really like to bring an inter-generational program to Phoenixville," said Miller. She hopes to bring seniors and kids together to tell stories with art, music and produce a theater piece.
"It's arts and entertainment that's going to bring people to Phoenixville," said Miller. "And food." Miller has other community arts projects planned in Phoenixville and Pottstown.
She also was involved in the opening of the Benevolent Arts studio on Main Street. In addition to her paintings and dolls for sale, Miller organized local artists to display their work.
"This is where I really want to be," said Miller who enjoys being able to walk to the center of town. Miller has traveled and lived in various places around the world such as Mexico, Oregon, Europe, New York state, New Jersey and in West Chester, Pa.
Currently, Miller is involved in the pending opening of Phoenixville Village, an art studio that will provide classes for residents.
Miller performs jazz standards at the Taste of India restaurant with her husband, Eric the last Saturday of every month. Eric plays mandolin and Lynn plays guitar and sings.
"If you have a calling you have to follow it," said Miller of her artistic interests.
For more information contact Lynn miller at www.expressivetherapy.org or 610-933-8145.
The Healing Arts Studio is located at 125 Prospect Street, Phoenixville.
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