“Mermaids in the Desert” Promote Arts, Healing – Press Release 12/10/2003

DATE 12/10/2003 9:37 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

“Mermaids in the Desert” Promote Arts, Healing

Take a trip down U.S. Highway 89, the Heritage Highway, and you will find something you don’t see every day: mermaids.Along the Heritage Highway in the towns of Elsinore, Salina and Monroe a group of women artists have come together and formed a unique coalition to promote their work, Mermaids in the Desert.

They are writers, poets, jewelry makers, painters and crafts makers who share a fondness for small Utah towns, their Danish heritage, the arts AND large bodies of water. “We are all so taken with the ocean, it means so much to us, and here we all are, so far inland,” laughs Doreen Christensen, one of the group’s founding members.

The women have been working together to promote their artistic creations for a few years, but they reinvented themselves after Christensen developed a book and game with a mermaid theme. “All of us really are mermaids out here in the desert, trying to swim our way out of poverty and away from medical challenges and other personal situations,” Christensen says. “We all are trying to find ways to be able to spend more time on our art, and ways to use our art to help other people.”

Christensen’s created her book and game, Mermaid Meditations, out of a need to find relief in her own life. Once paralyzed from the waist down, she is now able to walk, but still undergoes therapy. A certified clinical hypnotherapist, Christensen spends much of her time working with people with disabilities.

“I noticed that I started to have this heaviness about me, this feeling of anxiety that I needed to do more to help them,” she says. “So I came up with this game, which is centered around the idea that even though your body may not be capable of taking you places, the spirit can go wherever it wants to.”

The game, which is centered around a mystery story Christensen wrote about mermaids, includes 25 sea shells, sand and 25 separate meditations. It can be played individually or in small or large groups. “Each person reads a meditation and write what it means to them and later shares that with the group,” Christensen says.

Once Christensen showed the book and game to the other women in her artists group, they began creating accessories to accompany Mermaid Meditations. “It just sort of evolved into a collection of all kind of things that we have made that have a mermaid theme “and we became Mermaids in the Desert,” she says. For example, one artist made a special pouch to hold the sea shells, another has created jewelry and another came up with Native American meditations.

The group has published a small number of the books available for sale and a web site is under development to promote the book, game, and jewelry and other accessories.

Mermaids in the Desert has also been holding private sessions for groups around the state who have heard about the game. “We have done sessions for groups of women, and for groups of men and women,” Christensen says. “The most surprising thing is how receptive men are when they play the game.”

For more information about Mermaids in the Desert or Mermaid Meditations, contact Christensen at (435)527-4039 or by email: mermaidmeditations@yahoo.com.

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502
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