Creative Action Link Round-Up: Racial Justice, Anti-Racism, & Social Change

This creative action link round up shares some art therapy and art-based resources to learn more about racial trauma, ways that art therapists can practice anti-racism, as well as how the arts are providing a voice to pain, loss, suffering, and bring communities together in protest, meaningful change, hope, solidarity, & advocacy.  This post also honors the contributions of African American pioneers in the field of art therapy.

  • Creative Healing Spaces: Healing From Racial Wounds: Three lessons art therapist Lindsey D. Vance has learned about changing the framework of therapy in her practice with clients of color to respond to racial trauma, engage in community based practice, and bring communities together through art.  Lindsey also participated last week in a Creative Justice FB Live with Sharon @ Spark Your Creative to discuss the intensity of what we are seeing and hearing, how it can deeply affect our ability to create , what we do create, and how we can heal ourselves and others affected by violence in our communities.
  • Cultural Humility in Art Therapy– In this book published early in 2020, art therapist Dr. Louvenia Jackson writes about cultural humility in art therapy, as a lens to address power differentials and encourage art therapists to examine privilege within social constructs, become mindful of our own bias, assumptions and beliefs.
  • Anti-racist Approach to Art Therapy: Re-examining Core Concepts– Three strategies from art therapist Dr. Jordan Potash for art therapists to confront race-based injustices & power differentials in our practice and with systems. Learn more about how art therapists can develop an anti-racist perspective, re-examine art therapy concepts through anti-racist paradigms, and advocate for system change.
  • Framing Race in the Context of Art Therapy: Art therapist Dr. Cheryl Doby-Copeland frames race in the context of art therapy through defining racism, racial trauma, & bringing awareness to the impact of societal discrimination & oppression with clients & families of color.

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  • Honoring African-American Art Therapy Pioneers : Learn about the contributions of Georgette Seabrooke Powell, Charles Anderson, Dr. Sarah McGee, Dr. Lucille Venture, and Cliff Joseph to the profession of art therapy as leaders, clinicians, educators, researchers, authors, artists, and advocates.

 

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My Own Call to Action: 

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Related Posts:

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

20 Creative Quotes on Courage, Hope, & Possibility

Creative Resilience Link Round Up

Finding Calm Through Creativity In Uncertain Times

We have all been experiencing and navigating an uncertain terrain of intense change & loss during this worldwide pandemic.   The impact of this public health crisis has been overwhelming.  For me, it has been comforting to find some refuge and calmness in connecting to my own creativity and the creativity of others during this time of isolation.   This has taken the form of mindful doodling, working on artist trading cards that I will be sending out as mail art, gathering for virtual art making on Zoom, and enjoying the art & creative expressions filling my social media feeds.

Every year, April 15-21 is designated as World Creativity & Innovation Week which is celebrated to recognize the important value of creativity on our lives and around the world.  This year I believe WCIW shines a bigger, brighter spotlight on the role of creativity on these dark times, as our lives, workplaces, relationships, and well-being have collectively experienced great stress and disruption.

When fellow creative, artist, poet, friend, and Spark Your Creative creativity coach Sharon Burton reached out to me to spend some time talking with her on World Creativity & Innovation Day about creating calm through creativity, I was honored to help inform this discussion. It is always a pleasure to chat with Sharon and I appreciate when her creative acts and inspiration pop up in my social media feeds.

Finding Calm through Creativity in Uncertain Times | Creativity in Motion

Some of the topics we touched on were creativity as self-care, ways to activate creativity as a family in these times of staying at home, tips for jumpstarting your creativity if you think “I’m not creative” or if you are experiencing a creative block or feeling stuck.  You can catch the replay here.

In addition to our discussion, I also wanted to share some resources and content that also addresses some of the topics we covered:

How have you used creativity during this time of COVID-19?

Trauma Informed Perspectives on Human Trafficking Awareness

Last month I attended the annual NEO National Human Trafficking Day Conference hosted by The Renee Jones Empowerment Center. This yearly offering always is a valuable offering for mental health professionals, educators, advocates, law enforcement, and healthcare workers to gain important information and community resources about the realities of human trafficking in NE Ohio, prevention, programs, and services.

This year’s conference focused on many trauma informed topics and here are a few of the resources I took away from parts of the day:

  • Law Clinic– Case Western Reserve University law student Mercedes Gurney presented about the topic of her research, re-victimization of survivors and how criminalization of prostitution fails victims. Victims are coerced by perpetrators into prostitution and other illegal acts that they are often arrested for and charged with.  You can learn more about the criminalization of human trafficking and issues victims face from this article and the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project. When recovering survivors attempt to re-enter back into the community and start a new life, this legal trail of offensives and history of convictions can significantly and negatively impact employment, housing, and other aspects of recovery. This article, What Happens When a Human Trafficking Victim is “Rescued” also speaks to how re-traumatization can take place after someone leaves their trafficker and the lack of trauma informed care available to meet their needs. Ohio’s Safe Harbor Law allows victims of human trafficking to receive help for their criminal past and obtain legal services that would expunge and remove any previous convictions. This process creates a clean slate for survivors without their past impacting their ability to get a job, schooling, housing, or have a negative influence on future goals and opportunities. A portion of Mercedes’ presentation however, introduced the realities of expungement in the digital age and how physical criminal records can be erased and sealed, but there is no affirmative legal duty to update electronic information that becomes available through the Internet on websites, databases, digital newspapers, social media, media forums, or search engines. This means that someone’s expunged past criminal history (or even arrests where charges were dropped or unsubstantiated reports) can continue to live online for anyone who does a Google search for the individual’s name, such as an employer, landlord, etc.  As we know, removing or regulating content published on the Internet is very difficult.

To learn more about digital expungement and rehabilitation, watch this video below:

Resources available in Ohio to help survivors with expungement and legal services:

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  • Trauma Informed Care– A presentation by SANE Nurse and Coordinator Kathleen Hackett from University Hospital’s Rainbow Babies & Children offered attendees an overview of trauma informed care and what this means in regards to treatment. She highlighted the importance of viewing trauma as an experience (what happened to you? vs what is wrong with you?) that has an impact on the survivor’s entire well-being and how we can be trauma informed in our work through realizing, responding, recognizing, and resisting:

Realize: Awareness to trauma reactions as normal reactions to abnormal situations and the effects of these responses emotionally, physically, cognitively, and behaviorally.

Respond: Implementing a survivor approach that respects not only trauma as an experience, but that this experience is unique to each person, including any cultural, historical, or gender related ways of coping.  Trauma informed responding also is aware the immense importance of safety, safety planning, and establishing safety as a core foundation to treatment. Trauma informed care also includes validating and empowering survivors towards recovery and healing.

Recognize: Trauma informed work understands and sees the signs and symptoms of trauma. In relationship to human trafficking, this also includes the external and internal factors that put individuals at risk and vulnerable to trafficking.

Resist: Trauma informed care resists systems, approaches, services, and practices that put survivors at risk for re-traumatization.

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Released with permission

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The entire conference was a full day of knowledge…I continue to learn more about the complexities of human trafficking, services and programs available, and effective, trauma informed ways victims and survivors can receive help, hope, and healing.  The next program offering I am looking forward to attending is the 2nd Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Youth Prevention Summit on March 23 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. State Representative Teresa Fedor (District 45-Toledo) is again bringing students together from around Ohio to be a part of discussions about self-esteem and health, social media, legislation and highlight the role of students and young people in the fight to end all forms of trafficking. I will be helping offer an art experience for youth attendees to use creative expression as a form of advocacy and awareness against trafficking.  Looking forward to another day of learning and awareness….

Related Posts:

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

Reflections on Art Therapy, Trauma, & Group Work

2017 Ohio Youth Summit: A Day of Awareness, Prevention, and Advocacy

2017 Creative Inspiration in Art Therapy, Advocacy, and the Arts

In this post I want to offer some of the silver linings I’ve tweeted or retweeted this year, with attention to the arts, creativity, advocacy, and art therapy.  There have been several positive moments, messages, and accomplishments that I have found hopeful and encouraging… some light among the events and challenges 2017 has seen.

  • The American Art Therapy Association recently published this 2017 review of art therapy achievements in public awareness, advocacy, organizational statements, campaigns, and professional development seen this year on state and federal levels and within the Association;
  • This early 2017 article Creative Collaboration is What Humans Do Best speaks to the power of creativity and imagination to help us proactively and collectively work together on the challenges we experience. This piece encourages us to use our interconnectedness for constructively solving problems and activate successful solutions.  These empowering words were a great read and reminder to help counteract experiences of division and sense of powerlessness or helplessness we may face;
  • This summer I blogged about the US Department of Arts and Culture’s Guide to Artistic Response to Natural Disasters and Social Emergencies as a creative action resource. Also worth bringing attention to are other opportunities on the USDAC site available for art citizens who want to make a social impact with their creative expression.  The next event happening is the People’s State of the Union, an annual civic ritual and participatory art project if you are interested in getting involved!
  • Throughout this year, the Americans for the Arts has blogged on many current topics impacting the arts, artists, and communities, as well as ways for arts advocates to get involved in, support, and how to reach out policy makers and legislators about matters involving social change, leadership, community engagement, arts business, and more. A really valuable presentation I attended at the 2017 American Art Therapy Association conference in November was a legislative advocacy and lobbying information session led by Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Americans for the Arts Jay Dick. This session presented positive ways art therapists can leverage legislator relationships to meet licensure and advocacy goals;

  • Also in November the Americans for the Arts reported that $150 million has been proposed for National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Humanities funding in 2018.  This news was a huge win for arts advocacy efforts, as it was recommended by the current administration that funding for these vital government programs be completely eliminated. These monies will also continue to fund NEA’s Creative Forces, a military healing arts network, which includes art therapy services for veterans and service members;
  • Art Therapist Lani Gerity’s 2017 blog posts (#157-#171) Out of A Thousand Ways to Have a Happy Artist’s Life series has also highlighted much needed reminders about how the arts, creativity, and imagination can be used to help us be more resilient, kinder, and peaceful when facing dark and unsettling times.

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I wish you a 2018 full of artful abundance and creative spirit…. Happy New Year to you and yours!

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

 Social media is a powerful tool for self expression and engagement of all kinds…giving a voice for many and often a way to cast attention, influence, and respond to causes, values, and efforts we hold dear or reject.

Below are some links I have been reading, saving, and sharing from and on social media recently. Most are rooted in self-care, individual influence and responsibility, and creative community action through the arts. Many offer ways we can effectively activate resources, ideas, and our gifts both on and offline with others (and ourselves) as artists, creatives, mental health professionals, helpers, and human beings.

Self-Care:

Influence:

The Arts, Social Action, and Community Response:

Related Links:

Creative Resilience Link Round Up

20 Creative Quotes on Courage, Hope, & Possibility

Perseverance and Arts Advocacy

This week the White House unveiled its budget proposal, which included completely defunding and eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts.  This distressing news about the NEA and other programs that champion culture & humanities in the United States have increased art advocacy efforts into high gear to save the arts.

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) issued this statement about how defunding the NEA will effect clients who receive art therapy services from NEA sponsored programs and includes ways art therapists and art therapy supporters can take action.  Contact legislators and let the US Congress (who approves the budget) to reject this proposed elimination of the NEA.  This action alert from the Americans for the Arts includes an easy way to contact officials and you can also sign their petition to support the arts in America. The Atlantic, in its news piece The Real Cost of Abolishing the National Endowments for the Arts, states that “this kind of work can and should be bipartisanand cites Second Lady Karen Pence’s interest in raising awareness for art therapy as her official cause as an example.

Art Advocacy Day in DC (tomorrow and Tuesday, March 20 & 21) will be an important opportunity for art communities, organizations, and advocates to come together to share and showcase the critical role the arts has in everyone’s lives. The AATA is again one of the partnering organizations supporting these efforts.

 Learn more about the arts wide reaching impact in this NEA video:

Here in my home state, the Ohio Arts Council released this statement from Executive Director Donna S. Collins which offered hopeful considerations to keep in mind during these challenging times, including these words:

“We are nowhere near the end of the road for the NEA or public support of the arts… Stay calm, remain strong, and be confident. The NEA has weathered these types of debates before, and together, the arts community will persevere.”

Additional Reading:

NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu | NEA on Facebook

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2017 Ohio Youth Summit: A Day of Awareness, Prevention, and Advocacy

Youth Summit: Awareness, Prevention, and Advocacy | creativity in motion

On Friday, February 3rd I was able to participate in the 1st Annual Ohio Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Summit held in Columbus at the Ohio Statehouse. The event was hosted by Representative Theresa Fedor as an additional event to the 8th Annual Ohio Human Trafficking Awareness Day held in the Capitol the day before.  Over 200 high school and college students from all over Ohio (Toledo, Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Dayton, Cincinnati, and surrounding areas) came together to become more aware of and advocate for human trafficking prevention.

The agenda for the day was full of inspiring speakers and creative activities aimed at providing education and a message of action to youth about how to get involved in this important issue and learn how to protect themselves and their peers from being at-risk. At the Summit Representative Fedor also introduced a new bill that would help protect 16 and 17 year old youth from human trafficking with this announcement.

Survivors and advocates gave voice to and shared their experiences with students through poetry, music, performance, and panel discussions. This included Poet Quynterra Eskridge, Rapper Archie Green, and national speaker, author, and educator Dr. Elaine Richardson, who performed her one woman show PHD to PhD: How Education Saved My Life.  The day’s events also included a panel moderated by Renee Jones of statewide professionals representing the fields of public health, law enforcement, policy, and juvenile justice.  It was an honor to be included with this very knowledgeable line up to share my role at the Renee Jones Empowerment Center offering art therapy for survivors and at risk teens as part of Ursuline ArtSpace Outreach.

The day concluded with a break out session for students with the University of Dayton and for educators with Abolition Ohio. A valuable resource that was shared for educators and other professionals working with youth to implement prevention programming was this guide published by the Ohio Attorney General.

Youth Summit: Awareness, Prevention, and Adocacy | creativity in motion
A full day of important information, performances, and learning

Also available throughout the Summit was art making that invited students to creatively contribute a pledge hand in response to standing up to human trafficking and bringing awareness- many positive and encouraging messages were created by youth in attendance as part of this project in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium.

Youth Summit: Awareness, Prevention, and Advocacy
Students were invited to contribute to group art pieces.

Thank you to Representative Fedor for hosting this event for the wellbeing of Ohio’s youth and the Renee Jones Empowerment Center in helping with organizing the event’s offerings.  It was an inspiring day full of information, strategies, help, and hope.

For additional resources, please visit these regional and national sites:

Related Posts

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

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

Creating Hope: NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium

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Art Therapy: Finding Help, Finding Hope

Art Therapy: Finding Help, Finding Hope | creativity in motion

May launches Mental Health Awareness Month, and today, May 5 recognizes National Children’s Mental Health Awareness (CMHAD) sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) is one of the organizations supporting tonight’s national event in Washington, DC.

In honor of spreading awareness about this day, this week I put up a display of artwork from some of the teens I’ve had in my art therapy groups this year.  Preparing this display and reflecting on this year’s CMHAD theme of “Finding Help, Finding Hope” inspired me to think about it’s meaning and connection to the work that happens in art therapy. So much about the act of making art is about hope. Despite the challenges and experiences the clients I work with are facing, the creative expression that takes place when they are in art therapy provides a life affirming moment in the here and now to share ones self, emotions, and experiences. Their art helps to make sense of, create meaning, or to re-frame what is often so very hard to do with just words alone. For many of the youth I work with, the art they create often helps them discover or imagine a new beginning, a fresh start, a sense of comfort or safety that they long for.  Art making in art therapy offers a place of acceptance, refuge, and support. And as art therapist Bruce Moon reminds us in his book Art-Based Group Therapy: “making art in the presence of others is an expression of hope”. It is a privilege to be able to witness the youth I work with find help and hope through the power of art therapy.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of art therapy in children’s mental health, check out this post  The Important Role of Art Therapy in Supporting Children’s Mental Health that I did for the American Art Therapy Association last year.

SAMHSA also has free publications you can order and electronic downloads on a variety of mental health, recovery, and trauma related topics for all ages available here.

 

Creative Shifting

“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! 🙂

 

 

Trauma, Transformation & Growth

This past week here in NE Ohio at Cuyahoga Community College Eastern Campus’ Gallery was the Exhibit Opening for The Transformative Image: Post Traumatic Growth & Art Therapy.

This exhibit featured a strong range of creative expressions (paintings, installations, drawing, textiles, ceramics, mixed media, photography & more) inspired by personal experiences and the concept of Post Traumatic Growth (PTG).  PTG filled the gallery everywhere with images & artistic representations that transformed extreme struggle, adversity, or trauma into positive, internal growth deep with re-connection to purpose, attachment, and empowerment:

Trauma, Transformation, & Growth | creativity in motion
Exhibit Opening: The Transformative Image- Post Traumatic Growth & Art Therapy

 

Trauma, Transformation, & Growth | creativity in motion
Butterfly Art Installation for adding hopes, dreams, & wishes

 

Trauma, Transformation, & Growth | creativity in motion
My Own Beautiful, Altered Brain

Here are a few interesting reads to check out & learn more about PTG:

  • Resilience and Post Traumatic Growth: Learn some creative tips via Lani Gerity’s blog on how to cultivate and practice resilience in when faced with stressful life circumstances.

If you’re going to be/in the NE Ohio area, The Transformative Image: Post Traumatic Growth & Art Therapy Exhibit is on display until March 6 at the Tri-C East Campus Gallery:

Trauma, Transformation, & Growth | creativity in motion

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Related Posts:

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways & Creative Offerings

The Art of Emotional Resilience

Everyday Courage: Artist Challenge Coins