Art meets empathy at upcoming workshop with Tori Tinsley

The event will offer tools to help those experiencing illness, grief or personal challenges.

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Artist Tori Tinsley wants to talk about the difficult stuff — and she wants other Atlantans to join her. On Saturday, April 1, she’ll host On the Act of Empathy with Tori Tinsley: Harnessing Our Own Experiences to Help Others, in partnership with nonprofit group Twin Radius. The event, which will be held at Christian innovation hub CenterForm, aims to explore ways to effectively grow from experiencing personal challenges and, in turn, help others who are going through tough times themselves.

Twin Radius’ goal is to encourage and facilitate collaboration between the local arts and faith-based communities (though they’re not affiliated with one particular religious organization or tradition). They hosted their inaugural art show last February, which was a solo show by Tinsley dubbed Echolalia. “This new work stems from my Hug series, which is about trying to hold onto my mom as I lose her to a degenerative brain disease called fronto-temporal degeneration,” says Tinsley.

When Jacob Gunter, who heads up Twin Radius, saw Tinsley’s work, it sparked the idea to host a workshop on empathy — the artist was hesitant to get on board. “I feel like I never know what to do or say to others facing something awful, especially when it’s something I have never been through,” says Tinsley. “I think people assume I know how to be empathetic because of my experience losing my mom, but this is not the case. In fact, I think it has made me more fearful of approaching others because I've experienced other people saying things that actually made me feel worse, even though their intentions were good.”

For this free workshop, participants will be supplied with materials to make a card for someone they know who may be navigating illness, loss, grief, or another difficult situation. “I am hoping that participants will be able to reflect on their own experiences in order to be present for others going through challenging times,” Tinsley adds. “I want them to not feel frightened about being present for someone they know who is hurting. It's the small gestures that sometimes make all the difference.”

On the Act of Empathy with Tori Tinsley: Harnessing Our Own Experiences to Help Others. Free (pre-registration encouraged). 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Sat., Apr. 1. CenterForm, 115 Martin Luther King Jr. S.W., Suite 3B/4B, 404-682-1612, twinradius.org.

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