Managing pain through art: Grand Junction group forms at the Veterans Art Center |

Managing pain through art: Grand Junction group forms at the Veterans Art Center

Brittany Markert
Julia Widdop, a Grand Junction resident, started Pain Artists, a weekly support group at The Veteran's Art Center.
Submitted photo |


WHAT: Pain Artists

WHEN: First and third Wednesdays of each month, 1-3 p.m.

WHERE: Veteran’s Art Center, 307 S. 12th St., Grand Junction

COST: Free for veterans, small donations accepted


Julia Widdop, a Grand Junction resident, has lived with chronic pain for the past nine years; she uses art creation as a way to manage discomfort.

After talking to friends who also suffer chronic pain, she recently started a local support group to help others cope similar issues. No artistic background or talent is necessary.

“I thought I would help other people in pain talk about it and express themselves,” said Widdop, who has a master’s degree is psychotherapy.

Meetings will be held the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Veteran’s Art Center (307 S. 12th St., Grand Junction) from 1-3 p.m. The first Wednesday will host collage-making and the third Wednesday will host “visual journaling” (which is a mixture of drawing and writing). Materials are provided. Classes are free to attend for veterans and their family members; small donations are accepted by non-veterans. The next class is set for Wednesday, Feb. 18.

According to Widdop, people who use art as pain management channel their energy into their work instead of focusing on their discomfort. It’s also a good way to promote self-expression.

“When I do it, I sometimes don’t notice pain for a few hours after my project is done,” she said.

The classes aren’t limited to those who have chronic pain; those with emotional pain are welcome as well.

“There is a stress component that comes along with pain,” Widdop said. “This is a great way to express stress and relieve that stress to have less pain.”

Guest speakers are also planned, including Jeff McCloskey, a local chiropractor. He will present on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 11 a.m. at the Artful Cup (3090 N. 12th St., Grand Junction). The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit

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