A New Approach to Wellness Using Movement and Art

Come Back Alive: Defending Ukraine Together
Saturday, June 25, 2022
pm - 4pm

uniting and healing communities.


Visual Arts
Performing Arts
Interactive Workshops
and more.

OUR MISSION: Arts Unity Movement creates change by healing individuals and uniting communities through inspiring dance performances, community events and expressive arts workshops.


Awaken your mind with inspiring performances

Reflect through visual arts response and meditation

Transform with interactive art and movement workshops

Share experiences to connect and build community

White Brick Wall

Inspiring Performances

Awakening to themes that connect us.

Image by Ahmad Odeh



Shekinah: One woman’s journey from pain and suffering to finding self-empowerment.  The “heroine’s journey” of facing her own challenges and discovering the strength and compassion of the divine feminine, “shekinah”

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Star seed: A poetic narrative of three seeds of our existence-- breath, minds and voices--unifying us across our differences. A beautiful dance production with representation from our local BIPOC, LBGTQ and disabled communities.

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Art Show and Empathic Art Exchange performance:

112 art pieces produced during COVID workshops that dealt with feelings of isolation, fear and hope.

Dancers selected art pieces that influenced them to build six pieces of choreography relating to COVID and BLM.  The show also included a performance by an award-winning opera singer.





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Workshop Instructors

Roberta Wentzel-Walter, MA, ATR-BC, Terra Nova

Roberta is a board certified art therapist, and an artist, writer, photographer, and musician.  For more than 30 years Roberta has provided workshops, lectures, and therapeutic services to incarcerated youth, people in recovery, children at risk, elders, and women.

Coleen Lorenz MA, BC-DMT, CGP, Reiki Master

Coleen is an educator, healer, choreographer, and dancer. Coleen is a board certified dance/movement therapist and has been on faculty at University of Michigan, Notre Dame de Namur University, Canada College, and Notre Dame High School teaching courses in dance and psychology.  She has also worked in treatment centers with adults and youth.

Roberta and Coleen are co-founders of AUM, a 501(c)3 non-profit providing workshops, classes and events. Their greatest love is to cultivate self-esteem and expressive freedom through creativity. 


ARTS can heal 
trauma in our communities

AUM's ARTS programming allows mental health and recovery providers to offer self-care tools - via creative expression - that address secondary trauma, also known as vicarious trauma, a common experience of teachers and caregivers. Secondary trauma is a change in the mental and emotional well-being of a trauma worker or helper as a result of empathic engagement with others' reports of traumatic experiences. Just taking in the news on any given day is a common source of secondary trauma.


ARTS also addresses collective trauma. Traumatic events witnessed by an entire society can impact relationships, alter policies and governmental processes, and change social norms―like the absence of shaking hands or hugging due to COVID. Examples of events that can lead to collective trauma are a global pandemic and a panoply of injustices: racial, social, economic, sexual, gender, age, physical or mental ability. 

AUM's growing community of ambassadors - often working with socially-conscious corporations - are active in our local communities to develop programs that help impacted communities feel heard, respected and connected with larger communities to share needed economic and other resources.

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Image by Luca Nicoletti

ARTS funds artists

AUM helps fund artists from all disciplines:


dance and movement

visual arts

creative writing and poetry





mindfulness practices


Many of our artists are also licensed and board-certified therapists, and are from less advantaged communities.  They heal us and each other through their creative expression.

We give our artists a voice, an audience, and an income.

Image by Clay Banks

ARTS driving impact

We are grateful to client agencies and corporate funders for their grants, sponsorships, donations and trust.

Their dedication to funding the arts and healing our communities keeps us going in big ways and small.


We especially want to work with agencies and corporate sponsors to help us create programs that show tangible results.

Our team will work with you to align our ARTS approach with your community, employees, stakeholders and funding.

We also develop custom programs—just ask us.

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AUM Board of Directors


Roberta Wentzel-Walter

AUM Executive Director and Vice President


Coleen Lorenz
MA, BC-DMT, CGP, Resilience Advantage Trainer, Reiki Master. 

President, Director of AUM Events and NewGround Theatre Dance Company


RJ Mahadev

AUM Secretary and Treasurer


Devora Weinapple

Director of AUM Web and Graphics


Lisa Spivey

AUM Board Member-at-Large

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AUM Advisory Council

Pamela Eakins, PhD
Michael Elkins, MFA
Lance Fung
Steve Garritano
John Hackmann
Christine Hirabayashi, MA, ATR-BC
Paula Kravitz
Beth Miller, PhD
Jess Miller, EdD, BC-DTR
Sean Morrison
Richard Newton
Shelley Richanbach, CDAC-II
Michael Whitney, MDD, MA

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AUM history and timeline


Arts Unity movement (AUM) is located in San Mateo CA, in northern Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco. AUM was founded to focus on the therapeutic use of the arts to connect communities and empower change.


The core team is a unified force of practitioners dedicated to the mission of stress reduction and wellness through the arts to populations who might not otherwise have access or exposure to these modalities.


AUM operates a professional dance company, NewGround Theatre Dance, under the direction of Coleen Lorenz, AUM  Founder, MA, BC-DMT, CGP, Reiki Master. NewGround provides storyline-message based performances, and collaborative, audience- interactive presentations. NewGround performances have been offered at low cost or by donation for widespread viewing and audience participation. It has been said that the NewGround performances “stir the soul to its core.”  Our vision is to create a ripple effect of positive, healthy choices, each person influencing their own sphere.




We develop storyline dance/multi-media performances and therapeutic workshops geared toward helping our targeted communities address issues of acceptance, compassion & transformation. AUM provides art therapy to incarcerated teens, mental health addiction professionals and their clients, at risk children, transition age youth, and ordinary people seeking to find meaning and purpose in their lives. AUM has a variety of unique programs that incorporate the Expressive Arts Therapies (dance/movement, art, drama, music), meditation & guided visualization techniques, insight-oriented improvisation approaches, discussion groups, and life coaching practices. Our vision is to create a ripple effect of positive, healthy choices, each person influencing their own sphere. Recently we have been doing work with the therapeutic community on strategies for incorporating racial trauma into treatment for mental health and addiction.  This training included expressive arts approaches and a dance performance on the history of racism performed by a black man and a white woman. AUM appeals to a broad range of populations and age groups by focusing on the universal power of expression and the arts to transform lives.


The AUM Center envisions a better world brought about through a critical mass of individuals who are awakened to their highest purpose and potential. To this end, our mission is to catalyze the individual to their greatest potential and expression through the power of the healing, expressive, performing, and social arts. By stimulating people to open up to their own potential we address the widespread alienation, stress and inner emptiness that result in addiction and the dominance of violence, racism and greed in our world.


Over 40 performances, Annual storyline performances around themes such as earth/environment, domestic violence, self-awareness, dance/art events, art shows and multiple workshop series


Our co-founders Roberta Wentzel-Walter and Coleen Lorenz begin collaboration on art and movement projects


AUM applies for and receives 501(c)3 designation


AUM incorporated as 501c3. NewGround Theatre Dance Company performed the Terrain Project.  Subsequent art workshops followed


New Ground performed AXIOM


New Ground presented Catalyst, Choreographer Festival and Breaking New Ground, Discovering the Relationships between Art, Psychology and Recent Discoveries in Neuroscience.

2014: Opening of AUM Center, Started Offering Classes & Sessions: Open Art Studio, New concept of Empathic Art Exchange (EAX) was initiated Express Yourself! event was presented at AUM for the broader community. Three well-known artists presented their works and assisted community members in their own self-expression. NewGround commissioned to perform at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in SF


The AUM Theatre and Workshop Center opens 


AUM invited to present the Opening Ceremony for the ‘Girls Conference’ in Human Trafficking. Black box theater opened. EAX event involved inviting community artists view new works in progress by the NewGround Company. Resulting work was an art show to accompany performance of Quantum Leap” Portals of awakening through art and dance.

BHRS contract to provide art therapy to incarcerated teens. The Magic of Ghost Ranch Art show held at AUM Center

AUM is awarded the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) contract to provide art therapy for incarcerated teens


NewGround invited and commissioned to perform in touring production “Shanti - A Journey of Peace” NewGround Theatre Dance Company produced and performed Expressions of ONE along with presenting an art show created by participants in Empathetic Art Exchange. NewGround Invited and commissioned to perform in Mosaic America production

AUM wins Audience Choice Award for Best Choreography at ChoreoProject Festival


NewGround wins Audience Choice Award for outstanding choreography. Title of piece: “The Only Constant Is Change” sjDANCEco – ChoreoProject. EAXs presented about “Our Earth and its resources- Letters From Earth. NewGround selected to perform in sjDANCEco festival as professional company performance. 

AUM wins state grant to provides art-based workshops for mental health professionals

AUM is a finalist at the Edinburg Fringe Festival; Environmental Recognition award “given to a production of high artistic integrity with a strong focus on sustainability and taking responsibility for our environmental impact."


NewGround invited & commissioned to perform at San Jose Museum of Art Presented by Mosaic Silicon Valley. NewGround performed Shekinah at AUM Center, Magic Theater in San Francisco and DeAnza Visual and Performing Arts Center Cupertino


NewGround selected to perform at Movement Arts Festival San Francisco Grace Cathedral, SF CA. NewGround performed Star Seed at Canada College with art show in lobby. Star Seed performed at Montalvo Arts Center presented by Mosaic Silicon Valley. NewGround Invited to present at sjDANCEco Annual Dance Festival


NewGround collaborated with Fuse Theater in a theatrical production.  Art show at philanthropic center and theater festival planned, cancelled due to COVID. Shift to virtual programming, Virtual COVID art show opened on our website

2021Virtual art therapy classes continued.  Hybrid EAX with livestream performance and zoom audience.  More planned.

White Brick Wall

149 South Blvd.

San Mateo, CA 94402 USA


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Board of Directors