Art has long been known for its therapeutic value. In the visual arts, pastoral scenes, certain colors and composition
can lower heart rate and have been shown to have a calming affect. Art, when viewed, listened to or read, can transform
people into a state of higher consciousness, enhance self-awareness and improve healing properties.
Charlotte Lenssen, owner of the Lightner Creek Inn, understands these virtues, and she has incorporated art into the
lodge's new iteration. Lenssen said the inn, which now is referred to as Lotus Oasis, is a place where people can go
to experience an optimal level of health and well-being."
To further bring attention to the Lotus Oasis, Lenssen established Art that Heals," an art exhibit created to touch
on different areas of health and well-being (and) to help the individual achieve ... a happier, more joyful state of
She conceived the Oasis idea about two years ago with her husband, Carlos Simon, and took over the inn last July.
Lotus Oasis Retreats has become the manifestation of many years of following a path of continuous evolution and
conscious choice making," Lenssen said.
Art as a medium for change is not alien to Lenssen; she has a bachelor's degree in art, has exhibited her own work many
times and also has been an art teacher. Three of her pieces are in the show at the inn. Husband Carlos worked for the
Arts Council in Dallas and also is a painter and mixed-media artist.
With its location just a few miles west of downtown, Lenssen and Simon have made only minor changes to the charming
Lightner Creek Inn, but they do plan to erect a yurt in which to hold classes, conferences and provide space for
This inaugural exhibit showcases 15 artists chosen from a call for entries, and Lenssen said she sought art that
evoked an emotional response; joy, awareness, inspiration and contemplation." Some of the work, she said, reflects
the artist's own healing process."
While most of the artists are from the Four Corners and familiar to locals, two are from Arizona and California. Though
Lenssen insists it was not a criterion, the color schemes of almost every painting, photograph, assemblage and quilt
that graces the walls blend into the inn's décor as if they were created for it. Bayfield artist Pamela Riding's
shamanistic pieces are particularly interesting in the use of materials as well as their spiritual overtones. Broken
glass and bits of tile form the basis of Durango's Kristi Taylor's unique assemblages, while Phoenix painter Lee Ables'
abstract art swirls and sways rhythmically like ocean waves and celestial nebulae.
These few are just a sample of the pieces that make calling for an appointment worth the time and the short drive -
Lotus Oasis' hours of operation are limited right now, so call ahead.
Stew Mosberg is a freelance writer and has written about art regionally and nationally.
Reach him at email@example.com.