Archive for the 'art therapy' Category

Creative Shifting

September 13, 2015

“When the seasons shift, even the subtle beginning, the scent of a promised change, I feel something stir inside me. Hopefulness? Gratitude? Openness? Whatever it is, it’s welcome.” ~K. Armstrong

Creative Shifting | creative in motion

Creative Deed 256/365

For me, shifting is about moving and changing and the shift in seasons that is upon us particularly reminds me of this.  Fall tends to be an active time of year for my work, which also reminds me about the importance of my own self-care and finding creative solace amongst my busy surroundings.  Just like the leaves that will be changing and falling soon, some things I have begin to let go of. Other things I hold onto with fierce dedication and determination.  I think shifting includes the delicate art of balancing this concept of letting go vs. holding on and the possibilities this ultimately brings. Our art can serve as a safe place to explore these new directions, adjustments, and changing of the tide.

I’ve mostly spent the last few weeks in training & getting orientated with joining Akron Children’s Hospital Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient team within the hospital’s Division of Pediatric Psychiatry/Psychology to facilitate art therapy with adolescents, starting the fall semester with students at Ursuline College’s Counseling & Art Therapy Program, and prepping for these upcoming events I am super excited about:

Creative Shifting | creative in motionSeptember 191st Annual Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Teen Summit hosted by the Renee Jones Empowerment Center in the Gordon Square Arts District in Cleveland. Learn more here!  As part of this Summit, there will be an art center dedicated to creative expression to help teens attending share their hopes and empower their dreams.

September 21– As part of the ADAMHS Board Annual Roads to Recovery Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, I’ll be offering the workshop, Art Journaling’s Visual Voice in Trauma Intervention.  This hands-on workshop will explore the use of art journaling as a safe, contained space for processing emotional expression, promoting self care, and sharing ones personal narrative and intentions. Content will include themes and the benefits of art journaling as a visual voice and means of trauma intervention with survivors. Participants will engage in creating their own mini art journal with mixed media to identify and support their own professional self-care practices and intentions related to working with trauma & loss issues.

Creative Shifting | creativity in motion

September 26– During the 2015 Buckeye Art Therapy Association Symposium in Columbus, Ohio I’ll be presenting the afternoon workshop, Strengthening Emotional Resilience through Art Journaling. This workshop of art-making and creative expression will focus on creating a simple, small, mobile art journal that can serve as a tangible reminder of emotional resilience, support and the importance of self-care for the work we do in service & care of others.  Registration online is still open!

Creative Shifting | creativity in motion

October 3– As part of the New Jersey Art Therapy Association‘s Annual Meeting I’ll be offering the Keynote Address and an art making workshop focused on the conference’s theme: “The Art of Self Care for Professional and  Therapeutic Resilience“.  Registration is open here.

October 23– I am honored to be included as a Speaker for the 2nd year of TEDx Ursuline College, being held at The Maltz Museum in Beachwood, Ohio. My talk will focus on the intersection of social media to foster creativity, connection, and community within the art therapy community and beyond! Learn how to purchase tickets here.

Spectrum 2015 - Online Holistic Art OfferingOpen through November (!)- Holistic Creative Circle- Spectrum 2015: There’s still time left to join in on this year’s Spectrum, hosted by Hali Karla Arts!  This online offering is a multi-media experience guided by 25 artists, healers and visionaries. Spectrum is for anyone interested in enhancing intuition, strengthening courage, celebrating wholeness & diversity, widening perspective, developing deeper relationships, and who wants to offer her own gifts to the world, guided by personal awareness and creative living.  I am so excited and grateful to be part of this year’s Spectrum Teaching Collective to offer a new workshop, Creative Covenants. Learn more about Spectrum and all its offerings here.

Group Strategies & Interventions with Traumatized Children and Adolescents eCourse: Looking for CEUs? My continuing education course offered through The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children focuses on the benefit, strategies, interventions, and considerations important to facilitating group work with traumatized children and adolescents. Course content introduces participants to themes, sensory based activities,therapeutic books, games, and creative interventions to implement in the group setting with traumatized youth.  6 CEUs available. Registration is on-going and the course is self-guided, so you can complete it at your own pace over several months.  For more information and to register, visit this link.

Happy creative shifting to you and yours as summer begins to wind down and fall gradually starts to show all its beautiful colors & glory! :)



Awareness, Prevention, & Recovery Made Visible: 2015 NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium, Project Red Cord, & Teen Summit

August 8, 2015

This week I was grateful that I was able to attend the 6th Annual North East Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium organized by the Renee Jones Empowerment Center (RJEC).  This day full of learning and information spotlights the serious realities of human trafficking in the NE Ohio area, including programs, services, and resources available to victims and survivors, as well as the role of awareness & prevention.  Below is a brief summary of the day, which included a lot of content about youth & human trafficking:

Awareness, Prevention, & Recovery Made Visible: 2015 NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium, Project Red Cord, & Teen Summit | creativity in motion

Renee Jones Empowerment Center Services

Awareness, Prevention, & Recovery Made Visible: 2015 NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium, Project Red Cord, & Teen Summit | creativity in motion

Know Human Trafficking

 The day kicked off with the Symposium’s Judicial Track, which included information presented by Bianca Smith who serves as an Assistant Bailiff for Juvenile Court in Cuyahoga County.  Her presentation focused on the County’s Safe Harbor Pilot Project.  This project supports Ohio’s Safe Harbor Law that was passed in 2012 and includes, but not limited to offering treatment-based diversion programs for youth trafficking victims, stiffer charges & sentences for convicted traffickers, and training among law enforcement about human trafficking.  In the County’s Juvenile Court, the project is helping to identify youth that can be helped from the pilot project, collaborating with area agencies, such as the RJEC and others to meet programming needs and provide a continuum of care that is trauma informed.

The Symposium’s next track focused on a new program that has been launched by RJEC this year called Men of Purpose. This pilot project includes a partnership with the Ohio Department of Youth Services at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility. This weekly program offers training sessions on human trafficking awareness and prevention to young men, as an effort to address and reduce the demand of human trafficking.  The young men involved in this project presented an overview of what they have learned, its outreach impact with their peers, and what boys and men can do to prevent human trafficking.  Last month I was able to meet these remarkable young men to see the programming & facilitators Sheldon Lovejoy & Matt Goins in action, when I visited to speak about art therapy and group work facilitated at RJEC.  It’s great to see the success of this programming and dealing with a component important to breaking the cycle of human trafficking.

Awareness, Prevention, & Recovery Made Visible: 2015 NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium, Project Red Cord, & Teen Summit | creativity in motion

The Symposium’s Law Update included information about Ohio’s human trafficking laws presented by Maureen Kenny, Professor of Law with the Case Western Reserve School of Law.  As a result of new human trafficking laws in the state of Ohio, more services, training, and data collection is taking place- especially in the areas of Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Lucas counties.

Maya Simek, Director of Programs at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland provided content for the Symposium’s Treatment & Programs track, introducing awareness and advocacy for LGBTQ youth and young adults and in relationship to human trafficking risks and vulnerability.

Another very valuable track to the Symposium includes allowing Survivors to share their story and journey of recovery.  Rachel Kasik, a Survivor Speaker for RJEC, shared her experience with the audience through a powerful visual timeline that used photography.

The Law Enforcement track featured Detective John Morgan from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and  highlighted the role of police involvement. This summer, MSNBC did filming in Cleveland for their series Sex Slaves: Fighting Human Trafficking, which chronicles the front lines of law enforcement’s fight to stop human trafficking, create a better understand of this crime to stop it, and how victims can escape from it and seek help & recovery.

The Symposium concluded the day with an overview behind the economics behind human trafficking presented by Matt Goins and an Agent from Ohio’s Investigative Unit for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, Kim Bartholomew.  They offered attendees an awareness about the twisted commodity influence behind human trafficking within the US and internationally, including the trafficking of youth victims. This video the presenters showed provided a perspective into this dark reality:

A mission of RJEC’s Project Red Cord includes offering services (including art therapy!) and resources to prevent teens from becoming victims of human trafficking. An upcoming event to support this effort includes the Center’s 1st annual Prevention and Awareness Teen Summit scheduled for next month.  This free event will be a day of information & empowerment presented in a creative way to arm and equip teens with knowledge and prevention strategies that will help protect them from becoming a victim.

Awareness, Prevention, & Recovery Made Visible: 2015 NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium, Project Red Cord, & Teen Summit | creativity in motion

If you are in the NE Ohio area and work with an agency or organization that serves youth ages 13-19, you are invited to check out and spread the word about this September event that will be held at the Near West Center in Cleveland’s Gordon Square Arts District. There are also opportunities for individuals or organizations to get involved with donating items needed for the Summit:  Check out RJEC’s Facebook page for more information about help that is needed.

I am excited that part of the Summit will include community art-making with art therapists to help strengthen the teens’ sense of self & give a voice to their hopes & dreams for the future.  There will also be lots of other opportunities for creative expression such as music, dance, poetry, performance, and more! An artful and meaningful day of advocacy & empowerment is planned. Pre- registration is required and can be done by contacting Traci Grasso at

Thank you to RJEC and all of this year’s Symposium speakers for this valuable day of learning!


Related Posts:

Human Trafficking in Art: Expressions of Truth, Courage, Resilience, & Recovery

Creating Hope: NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium

Reflections on Art Therapy, Trauma, & Group Work

Top 10 Memorable Minneapolis Art Therapy Moments

July 23, 2015

It’s taken me a couple of weeks to decompress and get into gear again after attending the 2015 American Art Therapy Association Conference in Minneapolis, but I wanted to share some of the memorable moments from the week– it was a schedule full of learning, presenting, re-connecting, meeting new faces, & inspiration that was well spent.

Top 10 Memorable Minneapolis Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

Here’s my Top 10 Memorable Moments (in no particular order):

1.  The Art Therapy Parade of awesome pioneer and inspiring art therapists that was creatively handcrafted by the Local Arrangements Committee for the Opening Session. Wow– this was great!

Top 10 Memorable Minneapolis Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

Top 10 Memorable Minneapolis Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

2. Temple Grandin’s Keynote on neurobiological functioning & information processing.  Dr. Grandin offered an inspiring lecture highlighting the sensory based value of art-making & creative expression with visual and “bottom up” thinking- and its unique role in helping make sense of information and experiences. Learn more here from her book “Thinking in Pictures”.  Really enjoyed the opportunity to meet Dr. Grandin as well!

Top 10 Memorable Minneapolis Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

3. So many great educational sessions to take in, not enough time to see everything!  Honorable mentions include the Edith Kramer Legacy and Decolonizing Art Therapy: Social Justice & New Paradigms of Care Plenaries.

4. Tribute to Don Jones with Art is Life is Art  by Bruce Moon- Earlier in 2015, the art therapy community mourned the passing of Buckeye Art Therapy Association Founder and all around amazing art therapy pioneer Don Jones.  During the AATA conference there were special moments to celebrate Don’s life and important contributions to the field, which also included being one of AATA’s co-founders and early President.  Highlights from Art is Life is Art reviewing Don’s life was a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to Don’s spirit, life, and work among a community of friends & colleagues who miss and cherish him so much!

Top 10 Memorable Minneapolis Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

5. Mary Tyler Moore Statue- An offsite break to Minneapolis’ Mary Tyler Moore Statue was a must go to site after a day of conference attending- only a few blocks away.

Top 10 Memorable Minneapolis Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

6. #AATA2015 photos with friends & colleagues and following conference live tweeting and activity on social media.

Top 10 Memorable Minneapolis Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

7. Standing room only @ our paper making panel about trauma & transformation and work with Peace Paper- Many thanks to everyone who was able to attend and to my panel colleagues! It was great to share our experiences and the therapeutic uses of paper making as part of the conference program– and see all the interest in this process! Thank you to Drew & Margaret who gifted us with hundreds of sheets of limited edition handmade paper especially made for conference attendees to take home with them.

Top 10 Memorable Minneapolis Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

Top 10 Memorable Minnesota Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

Top 10 Memorable Minnesota Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

8. Creative Deed 365 Minneapolis– I’ll be sharing more soon about this artful event as part of my monthly posting about this 365 project, but this was definitely a fun part of my conference experience this year— leaving creative deeds, receiving creative deeds, and seeing the discovery of creative deeds by other attendees. :)

9. Arts & Crafts Marketplace– The Marketplace was packed full of wonderful handmade goods and art by art therapists available for purchase!  I scored much creative goodness with buying a series of Lani Gerity’s morning pages (yay!):

Top 10 Memorable Minnesota Art Therapy Moments | creativity in motion

10. Time to Refresh & Renew-  Spending time in presentations, making art, meeting up with friends & colleagues, as well as making new connections and taking in all things art therapy was great to be around on many levels.  All the collective work and service that continues to be done on behalf of art therapy is inspiring to take in and be a part of.

In wrapping up this post, I’ll leave with this Edith Kramer quote and featured in her legacy plenary session:

“Making art is my destiny- art therapy is my beloved profession.”


Labyrinth Love

July 17, 2015

The labyrinth is a mandala that meets our longing for a change of heart, for a change of ways in how we live together on this fragile island home, and for the energy, the vision, and the courage to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

~The Labyrinth Project at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco

Labyrinth Love | creativiy in motion

One of my favorite places on the campus of Ursuline College is its beautiful outdoor Labyrinth.  For me, this is a peaceful and calming refuge that I often use as a walking meditation and a way to slow down and pause- spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Labyrinth Love | creativiy in motion

Labyrinth Love | creativiy in motion

I recently was able to introduce one of my art therapy groups with Ursuline’s ArtSpace Outreach Program to the power of the labyrinth through a visit to the site, as well as engage group members in creating their own finger labyrinths to use as a portable and accessible meditative tool to manage stress, anxiety, and promote awareness.

I discovered this fabulous finger labyrinth how-to from Heather Plett that was perfect timing for this labyrinth fieldtrip.

Here are some photos from the making of my labyrinth, as I tried out the materials and process as prep for my group:

Labyrinth Love | creativiy in motion

Labyrinth Love | creativiy in motion

Labyrinth Love | creativiy in motion

Labyrinth Love | creativiy in motion

I chose to use bleeding tissue paper with mod podge to cover the craft cord I glued down over the labyrinth pattern.

Labyrinth Love | creativiy in motion

When all the craft cord was covered and dried, I took a silver ink stamp pad to brush/press over top to accent the pathway against the background.  Lots of fun to create!

Labyrinth Love | creativiy in motion

It was wonderful to tie in an art-making experience with this special trip and thank Heather for the inspiration! :)


Purposeful Parenting & Creativity

July 5, 2015

Purposeful Parenting & Creativity | creativity in motion

July recognizes Purposeful Parenting Month, which highlights the significant relational value of parents and children having resilient and meaningful connections with one another. Purposeful Parenting embraces understanding, unconditional love, and empathy with the consistency of structure, safety, and healthy boundaries. To parent with purpose is to be an active contributor in sustaining rapport, connection, and intention with your child or teen.

One of the group offerings I facilitate is an art therapy group for moms living in a shelter with their children as they work on transitioning out of homelessness. This art therapy group is part of the shelter’s trauma informed parenting support program as an opportunity to receive nurturing assistance during this challenging time to strengthen coping, self-care, and explore empowering ways to sustain an affirming relationship in their child’s lives. The power of art and the creative process offers a safe place to address these topics.  Over the years that I’ve been involved with this program, I’ve met moms of amazing strength and resilience, not only committed to creating healthier relationships and attachments with their children, but often working on their own trauma recovery.

For children who have experienced trauma and loss in their young lives, having adult attachments that engage with purpose and compassion can be a key component to their healing. Perry & Szalavitz (2006) speak to how a child’s relationship with the adults in their lives has an essential component to how they react to trauma. They also note that if a child is surrounded and nurtured by caregivers who are safe, comforting, dependable, and present; this can help protect youth from the adverse effects of trauma, as well as strengthen their ability to recover.

“Recognizing the power of relationships and relational cues is essential to effective therapeutic work, and indeed, to effective parenting, caregiving, teaching, and just about any other human endeavor.” (p. 67, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog).

Ohio’s American Academy of Pediatrics identities six components to purposeful parenting for parents and caregivers to keep in mind. Being Protective, Personal, Progressive, Positive, Playful, and Purposeful in our relationships decreases the impact of chronic stress exposure and ultimately supports a child’s fullest potential and well-being.

The foundation of purposeful parenting and fostering relational enrichment inspired me to reflect on some fun and creative activities for families (and adult helpers involved in children’s lives) to engage in together that encourage affirming experiences and supportive interaction. Creative experiences can be an enjoyable way to foster connection, develop interpersonal ties, and positive memories:
  • Painting with Bubbles or Shaving Cream: These sensory-based twists on painting can encourage play and experimentation between child and parent using simple, inexpensive materials. Levine & Kline (2008) cite that activities involving art expression such as painting and drawing are great bonding opportunities for parents to engage in alongside their children.
  • Sidewalk Chalk: Grab a bucket or box of sidewalk chalk, head outside and take a break to chalk it up together—at home, a local park, or playground! Suggested ideas to support collective participation in this activity include drawing where the child and parent can add to one another’s images, marks, or doodles. If you are up for making your own sidewalk chalk, here’s how. Families can also play these classic sidewalk chalk games.
  • Nature Walk & Scavenger Hunt: Parents, young children, and teens can benefit from unplugging and taking time to enjoy the outdoors, fresh air and reconnect! Take a walk in nature, go biking or hiking together. Create a scavenger hunt of different nature items that the family can look for and find as a group or in pairs.
  • Homemade Play Dough and Goop: Spend a morning or afternoon making a batch of play dough together, or for older kids goop recipes can be equally as inviting and fun. You can even make scented play dough, which can add an additional sensory component to this experience.
  • Visit an Art Museum, Art Festival, or Creative Community Event: Check out your local art museum or art event as a family outing. Many museums have family related programming or guides that can help enhance your experience!  Here in Cleveland, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gallery One offers a hands on, interactive family-friendly art space called Studio Play.  And it’s free!

No matter what the month or season, there is true power in the relationships we nurture for the children and teens we care for, either as parents, caregivers, or helpers. It’s important to keep enriching these healthy attachments by cultivating safe experiences and moments of meaning all year round.

Recommended Reading:

Levine, P.A., & Kline, M. (2008). Trauma-proofing your kids: A parent’s guide to instilling confidence, joy, and resilience. Berkeley : North Atlantic Books.

Perry, B.D., & Szalavitz, M. (2006). The boy who was raised as a dog. New York: Basic Books.


Introduction to Purposeful Parenting (PDF) | Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

The Benefits of Purposeful Parenting | Office of Adolescent Health

The Artful Parent


Summertime Creative Happenings & Goings On

May 26, 2015

Summer is starting to kick off and so is some creative fun and art therapy happenings coming soon:

Creativity In Motion | twenty15 on the go

July 1: 6 Degrees of Creativity’s 2015 virtual workshops open!  Yay!

Imagination Unearthed: Hidden Creativity Scavenger Hunt | creativity in motion

6 Degrees of Creativity

As part of this year’s offerings, I am excited to launch a new workshop dedicated to discovering the hidden creativity around us.  My curiosity around this topic was first sparked by this recent post and something I thought would be a fun endeavor to embark on together as we search for uncommon or unknown ways, forms, and different examples of how creativity can present itself.  I am also looking forward to the offerings that art therapy colleagues Sheila Lorenzo, Rachel Mims, and Heather Randazzo will be inviting participants to engage in as well, which include workshop topics on self-care through art & nature, recycled art & mail art fun, and yoga & art.

Summertime Happenings and Goings On | creativity in motion

Social Media & Art Therapy

July 9-11- American Art Therapy Association Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota: I will be involved with three offerings during this year’s AATA Conference:

  • The Digital Landscape of Social Media: Thursday, July 9, 1:30-2:30 pm: I will be leading this focus group to stimulate dialogue and discussion about social networking’s important role in building community
    and creating connection for art therapists worldwide.
  • Art, Transformation, and Trauma: Papermaking as Art Therapy: Friday, July 10, 10:15-11:45 am: I will be moderating this panel featuring the work of  art therapists who use papermaking inspired by the social action and art-based mission of the Peace Paper Project. Panelists include Meredith McMakin, Rachel Mims, Amy Bucciarelli, Genevieve Camp, and Janice Havlena. Content will include papermaking as a form of trauma intervention, including vignettes addressing eating disorder recovery, managing illness and disability, grief and loss, and working with veterans.
  • Ethics of Identity in Digital Culture & Art Therapy: Saturday, July 11, 10:15-11:45 am: I will be contributing to this panel with art therapists Megan Campbell, Moriah Lancaster-Laird, and Natalie Carlton about topics connected to digital technologies and ethical considerations for the art therapy profession.

I am also looking forward to bringing Creative Deed 365 to Minneapolis and invite you to consider joining us if you will be attending the conference!

July 24- ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County Trauma Collaborative: I’ve been invited to present on Art Therapy & Trauma Intervention to members and agencies who attend this quarterly meeting.

Stay tuned for other updates and art from Creative Deed 365 and the Random Acts of Art Adventure, in upcoming summer posts as these creative pursuits carry on!  And I hope to be able to share some of the wonderful work in the spirit of my Creative Covenants workshop happening over at Hali Karla Arts’ Spectrum too. And, right around the corner….Daisy Yellow’s ICAD 2015 begins June 1 – Wondering if I should combine my creative deed making with daily index card creating for this fun annual event? Hmmm…. more on this in my next post!

Summertime creativity is definitely in the air!


Related Posts:

Creative Deed 365 Minneapolis

When it’s hot…Make some paper!

Social Media’s Role in Cultivating Art Therapy Connection, Community, & Creativity

Creative Deed 365 Minneapolis

May 9, 2015

Coming this summer…. Creative Deed 365 Minneapolis!

Creative Deed 365 Minneapolis | creativity in motion

This summer, the national art therapy conference will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota July 8-12.  I’ll be attending and also presenting, as well as keeping up with my creative daily practice of leaving creative deeds for others to find while away.  I thought it would be fun to see if other art therapists and art therapy students also planning to attend this year’s conference would be interested in leaving their own creative deeds and creative goodness throughout the event during these five days.  Wanna join in?

If you’re going to the conference this year, it’s easy to participate either as a Creative Deeder or Creative Deed Finder:

  • Creative Deeder: If you are interested in making and leaving Creative Deed Art, just make one for everyday of the conference and leave one each day in a random place onsite at the conference for another attendee or hotel visitor to discover. Creative Deed Art includes inspiring and encouraging handmade pieces of creative expression, infused with messages of kindness, hope, and positivity left behind for unsuspecting others.  Throughout this year in the Creative Deed Facebook Group, members often create artist trading card or index card size art, but there’s really no particular form or size.  I’ve been making my daily pieces of art with half size index cards, playing cards, and handmade paper cut to 3 x 2.5 inches to keep my practice manageable, both in the making and releasing. I also include a simple label on the back of each card that explains the intention of the project and what was just found.
  • Creative Deed Finder:  If you find a creative deed while in attendance at the conference, use social media to let everyone participating in the project about your creative find using the hashtags #found #creativedeed365 #minneapolis.  Let’s keep the energy going virtually!

I hope you’ll make plans to join in on this creative fun this summer- as a Creative Deeder, Finder, or maybe both!  Imagine the creative goodness and energy that could be made, shared, and received during this week! :)

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at

What’s Your Art Story?

April 26, 2015

What's Your Art Story?  | creativity in motion

This semester’s Art Therapy Studio class I’m teaching again for Ursuline College’s Art Therapy and Counseling Program is quickly winding down. Our time together over the last few months has been another series of artful Saturday morning gatherings!  It’s a pleasure seeing students take time to create their own art and strengthen the important role of personal creative practice as artists and soon to be art therapists.

One of the requirements of the class, even before I started teaching the course has included students telling their “Art Story” through the media of digital storytelling (DST). This assignment provides students an opportunity to use (and learn!) digital video making and create a creative piece of work reflective of their identity as an artist.

According to Lasica, (2006) “Digital storytelling is a craft that uses the tools of digital technology to tell stories about our lives…. and can be a powerful, evocative, and emotional way of communicating themes and stories, often touching us in deeper ways than one-dimensional videos…”

 The final videos and stories that students reveal in class are always delightful, inspiring, and grateful to view. Here are a couple of videos (shared with permission!- thank you!) created by students in this semester’s course about their journey as an artist:



Want to tell your Art Story?  Using tips from this TechSoup tutorial, I recommend these steps and considerations to help guide students in the process of putting their stories together:

  • Step 1: What is your Art Story?  I encourage students to brainstorm ideas about the story they want to tell about their journey as an artist, which will include showcasing their art work through the years.
  • Step 2: Collect materials to help tell your story– This can include images relevant to the art story you want to tell that is inspired by memories, creative milestones, keepsakes, and meaningful items, objects, and photographs. Art expressions and work can span from childhood, undergraduate, graduate, and also include historical pieces and periods of art or travels that have influenced this journey.
  • Step 3: Draft your narrative/script for voice over– Start working on what the voice narrative of the story will be in association with the images and visual content chosen.  The story should have a beginning, middle, and an end.  It is normal to be anxious about adding and hearing ones voice as part of the story, but it is important to have confidence in the words you speak.  The inclusion of ones voice I believe is an important element to telling and claiming the story as your own in an authentic and natural tone.  Reading your script to a friend or classmate for feedback can also be helpful.
  • Step 4: Prepare equipment– You’ll need access to a computer, laptop, or tablet that you can use movie making applications, such as iMovie (for Macs) or a program such as Windows Movie Maker Live (for PCs).  Basic movie making programs are often already installed on many computers or can be easily downloaded for free.  Newer computers often have a built in mic that you’ll need for the voiceover.  Other equipment that will  come in handy includes a scanner and a camera to capture your art in digital form.
  • Step 5: Try storyboard planning – The TechSoup tutorial recommends creating a storyboard with index cards to plan out what happens in your story and in what order.  Using index cards makes it easy to move the sequencing of content around as you work on matching the visual material you’ll be using with your voice over script.
  • Step 6: Digitize material & media– This often involves scanning or digitally photographing art and images you will be using in your story, as well as cropping and sizing them appropriately.  If you have art photographed on slides, some scanners have special attachments for converting them into digital form or your local photo developing store often can help.
  • Step 7: Record your voice over– Find a quiet and interruption free space to record the voice narrative of your story in natural, conversational voice that is clear and easy to hear.
  • Step 8: Add music– The addition of music will often inspire the emotional feel and rhythm of your story. Music that is without vocals and instrumental in nature works well.  I recommend that students explore the site Free Play Music to find a genre or type of music that fits for their story.
  • Step 9: Edit, Add transitions & effects – For this assignment, students have the challenge of making sure their digistory is between 1 1/2 – 3 minutes, which I think is a good size.  During this step, all the content (visuals, voiceover, music) start to come together in the movie making program. It’s also a good time to start adding transitions and effects between frames, as well as titles or text overlays.
  • Step 10: Share – It’s time to produce!  Saving or exporting your movie project into a video form (often a m4v, mp4, or wlmv, wmv) will make it easy to share with others on video sites such as YouTube or Vimeo.  Often raw movie files are very large and difficult to send through e-mail, but can be saved on USBs or dropboxes for easy archiving.

Some other resources:

What’s your Art Story? Where would it begin and what would you include to tell your story?


Related Posts:

Creative Mentors & Inspiration Re-Visited

Career Spotlight on Art Therapy

Bringing It to Life with Animoto

Social Media & Creative Motivation

April 9, 2015

Social Media & Creative Motivation | creativity in motion

This week I stumbled upon this 2012 Brainzooming post, 61 Online and Social Media Resources for Motivating People to Create.  Mike Brown’s content inspired me to take stock on my own relationship with social media, creative motivation, and to reflect more about leveraging online and social media resources for inspiration, connection, community, and more.

How does social media inspire/motivate my creativity and interests to create/make things/do creative stuff in my daily life, relationships, work, and play? 

Here are my Top Takeaways from Brown’s amazing list that I really resonate with and how each one has encouraged my own creative practice:

  • #1, #2, #19, #22, #38- Finding Connection, Community, & Support– This probably is my top reason I enjoy social media… Social media has the power to bring artists (and art therapy of course!) together, create connection, decrease isolation, etc…..on so many levels.
  • #35- Learning Artistic Skills– Whether it’s a how-to video tutorial on YouTube, a new art technique to try out from Pinterest, or engaging in an online art workshop, there are soooo many social media tools & resources to build your creative skills as a beginner or seasoned artist!
  • #41, #43Exploring Creative Environments and Adapting your Environment to Better Foster Creativity– Online projects such as The Altered Page’s Living with Art, Spaces & Places: Where We Create, and even this blog post I recently contributed for the National Institute for Loss in Children, all explore and provide new ideas and a peek into the creative intersection of our life/studio/work surroundings for inspiration, daily practice, or self-care.
  • #6, #7- Engaging in Online Exchanges & Creative Adventures– One of the many things I enjoy about the online world is being able to engage in art exchanges and creative experiences that originate through social media.  It’s amazing fun whether it is a mail art endeavor or working virtually together on a common project.
  • #9, #20 #21- Following Creative People– I find Twitter a dynamic place to easily follow people, trending topics, organizations, and news about all things creative that I enjoy, whether this be the visual arts, film, writing, crafting, technology, art therapy, and more. Twitter has connected and introduced me to some amazingly creative individuals and projects!
  • #26, #60, #61- Learning New Tools to Express Creativity– Social media and technology online is constantly evolving with new apps and creative tools to use. Over the years (and now!) I’ve enjoyed experimenting with and using free programs such as Wordle, Tagxedo, Kooleido, Animoto, Polyvore, and so many more to create, share, and play with. Recently I enjoyed trying out the online program ArtPad, a virtual canvas painting program with a small group of art therapists I virtually meet up with to try out different computer based ideas. I enjoyed thinking about the creative possibilities inspired by the application’s features to not only make art, but invite others to participate too!
  • #17- Sharing Creative Work Online– While Facebook is definitely an active social media site to share art and artsy happenings online with friends, family, & colleagues, I really enjoy how Instagram has become a wonderful online source to follow artist work, activity, and captures.  Whether it is a work in progress, final piece, snapshot of someone’s work space, studio, or tools of the trade- it is a visual delight to simply see (without all the Facebook distractions) when I tap into my newsfeed there.
  • #7, #15- Enjoying Global Creative Experiences with Others– It’s awesome to bring people together from all over the world to work on or be a part of a common creative project or initiative through social media.  I love this and the creative friends I’ve made around the globe through our love of art, making stuff, and encouraging our artsy selves!
  • #5- Allowing Yourself to be Pointed to Creative Places Online Based on Others’ Social Media Links– Yes! Take in and enjoy Artful Link Love!

There are also some ideas from Brown’s list that I would like to try or do more of:

  • #45- Organize a “Creativity Orientated” Music List to Listen To— I often listen to a variety of Pandora stations or Spotify when creating, but it would be neat to organize a playlist dedicated to “creating time”.
  • #46, #52- Share Examples of Overlooked Creativity in Your World (and being more open to wonder, play)–  There’s always room to play and wonder more– on and off line!   I also think taking a mindful look at how creativity surfaces around you in different ways would be an interesting adventure and discovery to embark on!

What about you….How do you use or would like to use social media to motivate your creativity?


Related Posts:

Social Media’s Role in Cultivating Art Therapy Connection, Community, & Creativity

Social Media: Art Therapists and the Internet

Art Therapy and Social Media’s Top 3

Springtime Creative Happenings & Goings On

March 13, 2015
Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring. ~Terri Guillemets

Creative Deed 72/365:: “Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring.” ~Terri Guillemets

Hooray!  Springtime is just around the corner— After this cold, cold winter I can’t wait for warmer weather, fresh spring air, more sunshine, and longer & longer days full of light…. Bring it on!

I wanted to share some of the springtime creative happenings & goings on I’m excited to be a part of over the next few months…as well as offer a First Day of Spring Giveaway to readers of this blog!

Human Trafficking in Art | creativity in motionUntil April 25-  Human Trafficking in Art, an art exhibit at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, Ohio features art created at the Renee Jones Empowerment Center with survivor’s of human trafficking and at-risk teens I’ve been working with involved in the Center’s Project Red Cord.  You can also read more about the exhibit here.  On April 19, I’ll be speaking at WSUU’s Morning Forum to talk about the benefits of trauma intervention through art therapy to help trafficking survivors.

April 2-  Strengthening Emotional Resilience through Art Journaling Workshop with The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County Staff as part of their Employee Wellness Program. This offering of art-making and creative expression will focus on creating a small, mobile art journal that can serve as a tangible reminder of emotional resilience, support and the importance of self-care for the work providers do in service & care of others.

April 18- As part of the Cleveland Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC) Spring ConfereSpringtime Creative Happenings & Goings On | creativity in motionnce, “Creating a Peaceful Environment in a High Stressed World”, I will be facilitating the afternoon breakout session, Peace Begins with Me: Creating Peacemakers through Creativity.  This session will introduce strategies important to facilitating group work that focus on peacemaking themes with children who have been exposed to domestic violence, bullying, and relational aggression. Content presented will help participants gain a trauma informed understanding about how these strategies and interventions promote safety, emotional expression, and coping.  Registration is now open here.

OpeniSpectrum2015ng May 1: As I announced earlier in the year, I’ve been invited to participate as part of this year’s Spectrum Teaching Collective with 25 other artists and creative offerings dedicated to celebrating your Mind~Body~Spirit~Nature through art…. and I can’t wait! I am looking forward to introducing my new workshop, Creative Covenants to explore the values that are core to the way you create, practice, and live as a creative and artful being and meeting everyone coming together in this community!  Learn more about Spectrum here.

Random Acts of Art Adventure- Spring 2015:  This 6 Degrees of Creativity Project and canvas pouch filled with art making stuff & traveling all over the world just wrapped up its tour in Australia!  Next stop on its creative travel itinerary is New Zealand and then the adventure will be returning back to the states later this spring for its final 12 destinations!  Yay!

Creative Deed 365:  The beginnings of this year’s 365 Project definitely has helped bring some fun & more creative goodness to my (and hopefully others!) winter landscape, but I am realllly looking forward to leaving my creative deeds out & about without having to wear gloves and in more outside locations!  :)  You’re invited to spring it forward with creating it forward by joining us in the Creative Deed 365 Group on Facebook to contribute your own art in the spirit of this project.

And…A Special Springtime Giveaway: To celebrate spring approaching, I am doing a give-away for a complimentary registration to this year’s Spectrum with free access to all the workshop offerings:  25 contributors, 26+ workshop invitations, 6 months multi-media online community starting May 1 and running to the end of the year. To enter this special giveaway, please leave a comment below with what you love about spring!  From these responses, I’ll put everyone’s names into one big collection & randomly pull one winner to announce on the first day of spring.  Be sure to enter by Thursday, March 19 at 12noon (EST) to participate!  I will directly contact the winner with the e-mail associated with your comment posting profile. Good luck!

Enjoy the beginnings of this new season…..!


Related Posts:

Through a Grateful Lens: Love & Light from the Spring Sky Above

Through a Grateful Lens: Spring Light Simplicity

Spring Forward Art Making



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