Top 8 Loves About Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors

September 24, 2018

Here in Cleveland, it is the final week of Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrorexhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The city has been so fortunate to have this amazing experience over the last three months:

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors celebrates the legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s 65-year career. The exhibition spans the range of Kusama’s work, from her groundbreaking paintings and performances of the 1960s, when she staged polka-dot “Happenings” in the streets of New York, to her widely admired immersive installations and the U.S. debut of her recent series of paintings, My Eternal Soul. Visitors have the unprecedented opportunity to experience seven of Kusama’s captivating Infinity Mirror Rooms, including Where the Lights in My Heart Go (2016), exclusive to Cleveland. Additionally, a stunning array of large and vibrant paintings, sculptures, installations, works on paper and rare archival materials can also be seen. Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is on view in the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Hall and Gallery, and in the Ames Family Atrium, July 7 through September 30, 2018. The Cleveland Museum of Art is the only Midwest venue for Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors and one of only five U.S. venues to present this exhibition. ~Cleveland Museum of Art

I first experienced one of Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors Room when I was in Los Angeles a couple of years ago and waited for hours at The Broad Museum (who had a special Twitter feed just to update visitors about wait times!).  The wait was well worth the 30 second experience of their singler room!  I was so excited to learn last year that Cleveland would become a temporary home to 7 of Kusama’s installations this summer and knew it needed to go on my 2018 artist date list. 🙂  I am grateful that I was able to see the exhibition twice: first, during it’s debut week before the show opened to the public and then I returned earlier this month for a second viewing.  Each experience was amazing!

It has also been fun to see friends, students, colleagues, and the greater Cleveland community engage with this exhibit on social media through sharing video, photos, blog posts, news, and more.  Such excitement and enthusiasm surrounding getting tickets, attending and sharing the experience with others.  With the exhibit closing this week, I wanted to share some of my reflections and memories of the exhibit here in Cleveland:

Top 8 Loves About Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors

  • Polka Dots: From the trees outside of the museum, to inside the lobby, and throughout the exhibit in not only Kusama’s immersive room environments, but also the collection of paintings, sculptures, collages, photographs, and other creative works created over Kusama’s career. Learn more about Kusama’s interest in polka dots here.  My favorite polka dot experience was in and around the installation for “.

  • Light: What my attention was most immersed in when stepping to many of the Infinity Mirrors Rooms was being surround by light everywhere and this endless presence…. above, below, and all around.

  • Social Media– The phenomena of social media has been an incredible element of Kusama’s work reaching more and more people and more and more people wanting to see it. Myself included! This article speaks to Art in the Instagram Age and how social media is shaping our experience with art.
  • Stickers– Kusama’s Obliteration Room was by far my very favorite.  We took photos of the room’s entrance when we first visited the space during the exhibit’s first week in July and then another photo in early in September. Think of all the people who came through this space over the last three months and left their mark with the sticker sheets we were each given! I think it visually shows us how overwhelmingly powerful our collective presence can be, including obliterating what was once easily visible around us.  Take a look Inside The Obliteration Room at the Cleveland Museum of Art here.

  • Color– There was certainly no lack of color in Kusama’s work- which was vividly expressed through so many patterns, textures, design, and forms.
  • Love Forever Infinity Mirror Room– This installation was not one of the rooms we were able to walk in and out of, but instead invited us to take our time peering through a square cut out box that revealed our reflection among a field of mirrors and lights. Definitely one of my top experiences!

  • Joy– There was such a strong feeling and community of excitement among the visitors attending the exhibit- in person and online.  Most of the Infinity Mirror Rooms offered a private, intimate, and immersed moment in time, but for me it could also be felt beyond those reflected walls of mirrors and light.
  • Kusama’s Creative SpiritThe life and story behind Yayoi Kusama‘s career as an artist and how her art has been a life affirming force and refuge to express her experiences, fears, hopes, and curiosities. As an art therapist, I appreciate how Kusama has found safety, acceptance, and life in her art  — not just for others to experience or post on social media, but as a daily creative practice for herself.

 

 

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Social Media and the Creative Process

August 14, 2018

The Art Therapist's Guide to Social Media

This week over on the Creativity in Therapy blog, art therapist Carolyn Mehlomakulu posted Exploring the Stages of the Creative Process – a great read about how the creative process can unfold in art therapy. The post also explores how the creative process and its different stages can continue to be practiced or implemented in everyday life- even when not engaged in art-making.

Social media also has a connection to the creative process and its different stages! Below is an infographic for Chapter 7, Social Media and the Art Therapist’s Creative Practice which explores how social media impacts modern day creative work and suggestions for art therapists to consider for strengthening or adding to their creative practice.

As described in Chapter 7 (p. 137):

Social psychologist Graham Wallas (1926/2014) identified one of the early models of creative thinking, including essential stages of the creative process: preparation, incubation, illumination, and…

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Fall Offerings

August 4, 2018

Coming this fall…..

As part of the 2018 Expressive Therapies Summit in New York City, Social Media, The Arts, and Community Engaged Projects (October 12, 7-9 pm) explores the power of the arts and how creative, interactive community based projects using social media can motivate positive change, hope, and well being. Public projects inspired by abandonment art, random acts of kindness, and other creative deeds not only motivate art making, enhance emotional development, and support compassionate acts, but also offer meaningful opportunities to connect and positively influence others that their art comes into contact with, both on and offline. As a result, this inspiration has the possibility to keep spreading its creative message from person to person. Participants will be introduced to art-based projects and experience how-to ideas for implementing this kind of creative chain reaction for use in treatment with clients and ways to facilitate this approach within a therapeutic context for individuals, groups, or communities.  Registration is now open here.

Social Media and Art Therapists: Exploring Our Digital Footprint and Presence Online (November 3, 10:15-11:45 am) will be offered at the 2018 American Art Therapy Association Conference in Miami, Florida.  This workshop invites art therapists to consider and reflect upon the impact of our digital footprint and its influence. Through didactic presentation, experiential art-making, and group discussion attendees will be encouraged to explore topics that foster an awareness about creating a digital presence online that aligns with ones goals, passions, values, and career interests.  Pre-registration required and space availability is limited. Advanced registration is open online until 9/28 via http://www.arttherapyconference.com

Also being included this fall as part of Southwestern College’s Masters in Art Therapy/Counseling Professional Ethics Course and the college’s Masters in Art Therapy for Clinical Professionals, will be an online webinar/guest lecture for students about Social Media and E-Professionalism Considerations for Art TherapistsThis 30 minute webinar presents how art therapists can create a strong professional digital presence through the use of social media. Topics explored include:

  • Digital ecosystems
  • E-professionalism
  • Online disinhibition effect
  • The art of creating a professional digital presence
  • Digital footprint considerations

If you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate this webinar or guest lecture into any of your art therapy coursework, please submit an information request here.

 

 

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Look Back… Media & Technology 1968

July 12, 2018

The Art Therapist's Guide to Social Media

It was a pleasure and honor to celebrate the Toronto Art Therapy Institute (TATI)’s 50th Anniversary with an invitation to speak at the Institute’s special gala event held this week. The TATI, founded in 1968, was the first art therapy training program in Canada established by Dr. Martin Fischer, one of the early pioneers in the field.
The evening offered a look back at the TATI’s great history and legacy of art therapy in Canada, as well as an opportunity to give attention to its active presence of faculty, alumni, site supervisors, and students, as well as what the future of the art therapy field holds ahead. This also included looking at the impact of technology on the art therapist, especially in the last 20 years for connection, community, and creativity.
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So what was the media and technology like/starting to emerge in 1968 when TATI was founded?  Here is a fun look back:
  • Color television was just…

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Social Media Day 2018

June 30, 2018

Happy Social Media Day!

The Art Therapist's Guide to Social Media

Today officially marks Social Media Day- a day of recognition founded by Mashable in 2010 as an opportunity to celebrate the worldwide power and influence social media has had on our lives.

Throughout this year art therapists and art therapy students have engaged in social media workshops inspired by The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media. One of the fun areas explored through discussion and art making includes exploring digital ecosystems with social networking, including thinking back on the first social media sites used, in what ways, and where we were in life at this time.  Also explored are the challenges, anxieties, enthusiasm, and possibilities experienced- personally, professionally, and creatively. What do you remember about your social media engagement back in the “early days” or when you created your first social media account?

The impact of social media over the last decade on the field of art therapy has…

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The Art of Relationships in Trauma Informed Work

May 18, 2018

This week Dr. Bruce Perry was here in Cleveland again (!) and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend his all day training focusing on the Six Core Strengths for Healthy Childhood Development. Inspiring, as always! Much of what he spoke about reinforced the immense power relationships have in trauma informed care. I compiled the notes I took from Dr. Perry’s lecture into some art with a few of (the many!) takeaways I wanted to remember about this topic:

Notes inspired by Dr. Bruce Perry, Cleveland 5/15/2018

  1. Relationships are more important than any adversity. Multiple adverse circumstances or experiences can be buffered by the healthy, positive relational connection in our lives.
  2. We live a relational driven life- our relationships with others impact us the most.
  3. The nature and number of healthy, positive relationships we have is key to our resilience, healing and recovery.
  4. Human beings are relational creatures and our behaviors, actions, feelings, and experiences are contagious to others.
  5. A trauma informed community and relational milieu is a healing community.
  6. Relational health = the degree of our internetwork of connectedness (Relational Poverty vs. Relational Wealth)
  7. Communication is all about rupture + repair, disconnection + connection — it is essential to explicitly acknowledge our differences, assumptions, implicit biases to build relationships.
  8. Therapeutic dosing and therapeutic spacing is important to provide tiny, repetitive doses of engagement, distancing, then re-engagement to support change.

Check out this Child Trauma Academy Resource of many of the slides and content presented during this training.

As an art therapist, I also reflected on how art-making, the creative process, and trauma intervention through art therapy supports relational considerations presented by Dr. Perry.  Art therapy “effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals” (The American Art Therapy Association) through:

  • Creating and/or re-establishing a safe space to explore feelings, responses, and experiences through active engagement in “bottom up” sensory-based intervention that supports lower parts of the brain where trauma resides;
  • Making art together in groups, families, and communities can foster healthy interactions, connectedness, and a sense of belonging that transcends language;
  • Art therapy creates opportunities to explore themes of deconstruction and reconstruction through the art making process and offer insight into internal and external communication, conflict, biases, and relational restoration;
  • The nature of art making with an art therapist offers repetitive, patterned, and parallel action while safely regulating and managing traumatic stress and triggers that could activate ones response system
  • An opportunity to build and strengthen resilience through meaningful art-based interactions and interventions that explore safety, change, vulnerability, and regulation.

Thank you Dr. Perry for returning to Cleveland and another great day of trauma informed learning!

 

Related Posts

Reflections on Art Therapy, Trauma, & Group Work

Top Ten Takeaways : PEP Symposium Dr. Bruce Perry in Cleveland (2013)

Top 10: Impact of Trauma and Neglect on the Developing Child with Dr. Bruce Perry (2012)


Childhood Trauma and Art Therapy: Supporting Well-being and Healing

May 10, 2018

Today is SAMHSA’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and this year’s focus is on “Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma” and ways that programs and services helping youth can become more trauma informed.  In honor of CMHAD, this post is dedicated to providing resources and re-publishing content that can bring awareness to the value of trauma informed care, as well as the benefits of art therapy in trauma intervention with children and adolescents.

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Lately the topic of trauma informed care has attracted mainstream attention. In March, 60 Minutes aired a segment with Oprah Winfrey interviewing Dr. Bruce Perry which helped raise important public awareness about childhood trauma and the value of trauma informed care.

Some key considerations to remember:

About Trauma Informed Care | creativity in motion

(C) 2017 Gretchen Miller

For many survivors of childhood trauma, the use of art therapy supports many of the key messages shared during the 60 minutes broadcast.  Here are some of art therapy’s unique benefits to support survivors of developmental trauma and adverse childhood experiences:

  • Art therapy provides a visual voice for a survivor’s experiences, emotions, and thoughts to be seen and heard through the creative process and therapeutic relationship with the art therapist. It is not uncommon for survivors of trauma to experience limitations or apprehension with expressing themselves through words alone.
  • Art making, as a sensory-based intervention can help safely express and manage or access content from lower parts of the brain where traumatic experiences and implicit memory live without words. This is why verbal expression can be insufficient, anxiety provoking, and inadequate for many survivors.
  • When a survivor engages in art therapy they are offered with the opportunity make choices and decisions through the creative process that helps create new ways of seeing the self, empower resiliency, and help envision their recovery path ahead.

Today’s CMHAD events include “a national event in Washington, DC. Kicking off the evening will be a pre-event that begins at 6:30 pm EST that will debut a video about art therapy and trauma. At 7 pm EST an interactive town hall discussion on strategies for making child-serving systems more trauma-informed will take place with those in attendance and online. You can watch the webcast live here and join the discussion on social media by using the hashtag #HeroesofHope.

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Resources

Art Therapy in Action: Trauma (American Art Therapy Association Video)- How art therapy can help individuals or families who have experienced trauma express what they’ve been through safely, and tell their stories without needing to talk.

The Value of Art Expression in Trauma-Informed Work – The following American Art Therapy Association and National Institute for Trauma and Loss Institute resource summarizes a few of the important themes and considerations connected to trauma-informed work and how the process of art-making can help to achieve grounding, reflection and growth.

Bruce Perry’s Impact: Considerations for Art Therapy & Children from Violent Homes – Brief presentation about how Dr. Bruce Perry’s work has influenced an art therapist’s art therapy & trauma work with children from violent homes. Presented as part of a panel at the 2008 American Art Therapy Association conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

How Art Therapy Can Help Children Facing Mental Health Challenges (Huffington Post)

SAMHSA’s Resources for Child Trauma Informed Care

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services- Trauma & Children


The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media Sticker Sheets!

May 6, 2018

Back in stock!

The Art Therapist's Guide to Social Media

STICKER SHEETS!

8 x 11 inch UV coated white vinyl multi-sticker sheet of 6 different designs inspired by The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media. A fun way to show your love of art therapy, use of social media, connection, community, and creativity!

Designed by the book’s Illustrator Nate Fehlauer of Wiscy Jones Creative:

BookStickerSheet(Front)

8-x-11-White-Vinyl-Sticker-Sheets Liner (Back Liner)

$5.00 USD  (includes US shipping)

Please note: If interested in international shipping, please email info@arttherapistsguidetosocialmedia.com for more information.

Buy Now

A collection of sticker sightings as seen on Instagram!

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Spring 2018 Events

March 3, 2018

A couple of events I am looking forward to next month– It would be great to see you if you are interested and can make it!

The Art Therapist's Guide to Social Media

There are a couple of events taking place this spring inspired by The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media:

On the campus of Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania on Monday, April 16 I will be presenting a free community lecture sponsored by the school’s undergraduate art therapy program. The evening event (6-7:30 pm) also includes 1.5 free continuing education credits (CEU sign in and registration 5:15-6 pm) available for ATR-BCs, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors.

Social Media: Connection, Community, and Creativity will explore how social media can enhance and strengthen professional engagement, collegial relationships, and creative practice. Discover how, as mental health professionals we can take a meaningful look at some of the challenges and benefits that social media can have on the clients we serve, the therapeutic relationship, and how to best navigate social media with purpose and responsibility in our own use. The significance…

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Ecopsychology, Self Care, and Creative Practice

February 25, 2018

Last week was the opening of Tending the Flames: Burnout and Resilience in Helping Professions exhibit, sponsored by Tri-C Gallery East, Tri-C’s Creative Arts and Art Therapy Program, Ursuline College’s Counseling and Art Therapy Department, and the Buckeye Art Therapy Association. The theme of this year’s exhibit is dedicated to how caregivers and helpers use art and the creative process to manage the stress and experiences related to this role, as well as nurture and strengthen resilience.

Part of the exhibit’s opening included a community lecture by local environmental philosopher and Lake Erie Institute Director Dr. Elizabeth Meacham, who spoke to attendees about the role of nature and ecopsychology in helping restore wellbeing, health, and recover from challenging circumstances or pressures associated with taking care of others. Dr. Meacham provided simple strategies to invite a daily nature practice in our lives and work, such as but not limited to:

  • Remembering to take outdoor breaks – go for a walk, visit your favorite nature spot;
  • Find a favorite tree in your environment that you can visit daily and feel, interact with;
  • If you are unable to get outside, have nature objects such as rocks and leaves indoors- pause and take in their sensory based qualities through touch and smell;
  • Tune into and engage your senses through imagery, breath, sound, and smell

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Meacham’s teachings, check out these resources:

If you are interested in learn more about the role of ecopsychology in art therapy and burnout, check out this True Calling podcast, Art Therapy, Ecopsychology, & Curing Chronic Burnout with Registered Art Therapist Lanie Smith or her post, Nature as a Portal to Self: How Eco Art Therapy Can Help You Reconnect and Heal.

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For this exhibit, my supervision group created a mandala inspired by this year’s theme, working on what we titled a “Self Care Compass”.  Our image included a contribution from each of us about what helps guide our work and self care as art therapists.  Themes of interacting with nature, practicing mindfulness, flexibility, and grounding ourselves in hope and growth were explored in our collective dialogue and expressed in the art we created together.  Self care is an important, ongoing discussion in supervision, whether it is activating ways to take better care of ourselves, balance our daily lives and relationships with our work responsibilities and commitments, stay present and connected, or cultivate compassion satisfaction instead of compassion fatigue.

Self care compass- oil pastels, paint sticks, markers on craft paper | Leah, Skyla, Jessi, Lacey, Gretchen, 2018

My 2013 art journal about self care as an art therapist and trauma practitioner was also on display at the exhibit, focusing on themes related to gratitude, affirmation, strengths, and mindfulness in connection to facilitating trauma informed care. It was so inspiring to see all the works of art and creative expressions that filled the gallery in the spirit of the exhibit’s focus.

Self care through creative practice project | gretchen miller, 2013

If you are in the area and interested in checking out the exhibit, it is on display until March 22 and located on the Eastern Campus of Tri-C in Highland Hills, Ohio. Gallery East is in room 135 of the Education Center and open daily. Call 1-216-987-2475 for more information.

Related Links

Self-Care through Creative Practice & Intention: Affirmation

Creative Action Link Round Up: Self-Care, Responsibility, Community

Exploring Covenant Based Caregiving with a Creative Twist

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways & Creative Offerings


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