Charleston artist Steve Cefalo (above) will lead a workshop at Redux July 15 with sound therapist Arlyn Ruddy | photo provided

Local visual artist Stephen Cefalo and sound therapist Arlyn Ruddy will facilitate a one-of-a-kind workshop July 15 at Redux Contemporary Art Center.

Dubbed “Alchemy of Arts,” this five-hour immersive workshop will guide participants through a combination of movements, sounds, meditations, drawing techniques and observations to assist in extracting “unexpressed aspects of self” through intuitive art, mindfulness and sound.

Ruddy said she will use intentional music playlists and create a meditative soundscape with singing bowls, gongs, bells, buffalo drums and various percussion instruments.

Cefalo added, “The aim is not to make something ‘good’ or a ‘piece of art,’ but rather to explore drawing as a mode for meditation and self-discovery. As a bonus, you will walk away with some handy drawing techniques, if you wish to use them to make art.”

Ruddy, who is also a quantum energy worker, said “this experience will naturally evoke self-healing and integration on all levels.” She said this artistic endeavor is all about helping people to make physical, mental, spiritual and emotional progress.

Art instructor Cefalo said, “It is designed as a journey that is both personal and shared with other participants. I believe there will be surprises — and ultimately breakthroughs. ‘Alchemy’ for me is the idea of transcendence: The intent is to go past the idea of ‘making,’ but to use the act of drawing as a means of self-discovery, divination or hacking into something deeper.”

It’s the pairing of these particular hosts that makes this event so special. Ruddy brings 20 years of experience in healing work — she said she has long been aware of the link between the arts and personal transcendence.

“When I began working with at-risk youth in my early 20s, I noticed the profound shift that happened when I started integrating artistic expression as a form of self-awareness and therapy,” she recalled. It was while participating in her first sound bath, however, that she fully realized how profoundly transformational sound can be. “I quit my job and went into sound therapy full-time not long after that,” she said. 

Cefalo, a traditional oil painter and illustrator, has felt drawn to the benefits of artistic expression for most of his life. “The creative path just came out of just an inexplicable drive to create from a young age.” He teaches art not only as a means for making images, but as a form of inner exploration and open eye meditation.

Because set and setting are so important, Ruddy said Redux was carefully selected as the venue for the Alchemy of Arts workshop. 

“We intentionally wanted to have the workshop hosted at an art gallery,” she said. “We thought this would create more inspiration. … Most events of this nature are hosted at yoga studios and healing centers, but that is not the environment we thought would be best suited for this caliber of an immersion workshop.”

As to whether this a one-off occurrence or the first in a series of similar happenings, Cefalo said that even he and Ruddy will have to wait and see. 

“I believe that it will tell us exactly what it wants to be as it unfolds. The event is an intuitive work in itself.”

Alchemy of Arts’ immersive workshop will take place from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 15 at Redux Contemporary Art Center (1056 King St.). For more details and sign up information, visit Eventbrite.

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