Rising from the Ashes and Grace Street:

An Evening of Arts-Based Research Performance


Saturday November 14th, 8:30 to 10:30 pm


Arts-based research (ABR) is as an umbrella term for the use of the arts as a research method—where the art forms are primary in the research process—and as an overall methodology—where a creative worldview forms the philosophical foundation for an inquiry. Performance is central to the dissemination of ABR. Two arts-based research performances will take place: Grace Street by Dr. Diane Austin and Rising from the Ashes by Dr. Michael Viega. Audience members will have a chance to evaluate the results and dialogue with the researchers to discuss the implications of these performances for music therapy, trauma, adversity, and recovery.


Grace Street


Grace Street is a musical based on Diane Austin’s experience working with people in recovery for drug and alcohol addiction. The musical unfolds like a typical AA meeting, where the audience will meet four composite characters revealing their stories as they work towards recovery. By experiencing the lives of these four individuals, it is Diane’s hope that the audiences will resonate and empathize with addicts and alcoholics journey to understand their lived experience. Grace Street aims to illuminate the trials and tribulations of recovery.



Rising from the Ashes




Rising from the Ashes is a cycle of songs that explores the lived experience of adolescents who have had adverse childhood experiences. For this performance, Michael Viega will be remixing original hip-hop songs of songwriters who he worked with in music therapy in order to reveal a psychological journey from protecting vulnerability and exploring abandonment, to developing faith and love. It is Michael’s hope that audiences will gain empathy for adolescents that are typically viewed as “troubled teens” as their trails, tribulations, and rewards are revealed through sound and song.


These performances represent the systematic and reflexive use of artistic process to investigate and address complex social phenomenon and interactions. Audience members will play a vital role in evaluating the usefulness of these research projects. The goal for the researchers is that these performances illuminate the value and beauty of the lives of everyday people who face adversity and whose needs are often marginalized in society. Therefore, audience members will be encouraged to think critically about these topics and respond to the material in a way that promotes social change in their own world, even if the change is small. To better understand the audiences overall thoughts, feelings, and reactions to these performances, they will be invited to fill out a survey. Their responses will be completely confidential and participation is voluntary. Audience members must be at least 18 years of age to participate in the survey. This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Board at SUNY, New Paltz.  These performances are sponsored by a research grant funded by the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Music Therapy Association. 

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