Top 8 Loves About Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors

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.

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Ecopsychology, Self Care, and Creative Practice

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.

******

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

Artist Dates, Creative Field Trips, and Artful Adventures: 18 Ideas for 2018

Last week I was scrolling my social media feed and stumbled upon a daily dose of creative goodness from Sharon Burton.  I always look forward to seeing Sharon’s posts pop up- they are full of inspiring ideas, people, quotes, and images to nurture our creative spirit.  Sharon recently founded Spark Your Creative to help others discover and strengthen their creative gifts.  Sharon posted an encouraging invitation to think about scheduling Artist Dates for the new year, something she already practices and shares weekly. I thought to myself, “I want to do this!” and make a 2018 commitment to taking creative field trips and going on artful adventures- on my own and with others on and offline. I started to brainstorm some ideas….. with regular creative activities and practices I want to do more of, as well as new possibilities and experiences that I would like to do/try/enjoy over the next 12 months:

1. Art exhibits: In 2017, I had the amazing opportunity to experience Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room- The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away at The Broad when I was visiting Los Angeles.  This summer, six of Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms are coming to the Cleveland Museum of Art. This is definitely a must do local creative field trip in 2018! Is there an exhibit or artist you want to see this year?

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrored Room @ The Broad, Los Angeles (2017)

2. Visit studio spaces.

3. Saturday Art Nights- with one of nights dedicated to playing with alcohol inks and watercolor on Yupo paper.

4. Take an art class.

5. Have an art movie night.

6. Organize my creative space and art materials, supplies- I realllly need to do this.

7. Blog more- One of my social media goals for this year is to begin regularly blogging more again! I’m trying out this editorial blogging journal to help support content, planning, and scheduling.

8. Replenish my magazine photo collage stash- I always find the process relaxing and inspiring! Made some progress on taking time to do this already! Doing another paper stash swap this year would also be fun!

9. Take a visit to Michael’s with my new giftcard. I would like to venture out for a visit to Blick this year too!

10. Take $5 to spend on items to use for an art project at a dollar store.  See how far you can stretch it. (#81 of Julia Cameron’s 101 Artist Date Ideas)

11. Bob Ross Art of Chill Board Game Playing- We recently played this during a Saturday art night and once we got all the rules and concept figured out, it was a fun time….

 

12. Follow, connect to, and be inspired by more art, artists, creatives, and art communities/organizations on social media.

13. Learn a new art technique or media.

14. Discover new artist blogs and revisit my favorites.

15. Organize a local art therapist meet up to hang out, make some art, and have fun together!

16. Create a new creative offering online.

17. Remain socially engaged in arts and art therapy advocacy through reaching out to, visiting with, and building relationships with legislators, policy makers, and stakeholders.

18. Invite spontaneous opportunities for creative connection and mindful moments of creativity!

What kind of artist dates, creative field trips, and artful adventures do you want to take in 2018?

 

A Happy New Year Gift: Empowering Your Creative Values & Strengths

To celebrate the New Year, I am re-sharing one of my free and favorite e-workshops from a couple of years ago!

CreativeCovenants2017

Creative Covenants

How would you define your creative covenants?  Your creative covenants are values that you believe are core to the way you create, practice, and live as a creative and artful being.  When you know your own creative values, you can activate them to empower your creative life.  In this e-workshop, you are invited to create an inspiring book made from a series of permission tags that honor these promises to our creative self and practice.  Content in this workshop will also be nurtured through a series of prompts exploring what celebrates, challenges, and empowers the creative goodness in each of us!What are your Creative Covenants? | creativity in motion

What are your Creative Covenants? | creativity in motion

This free workshop download includes a PDF & video offering and is available here:

Add to Cart

******

An oldie, but goodie New Year’s creative practice I’ve enjoyed for almost 10 years now:

Ready for Revo’lution Art Journaling

revolutioncollage.jpg

Check out these freebie downloads below from archived Creativity in Motion posts that are still available here:

Creative Goodness with Gluebooks eBook

The Art of Emotional Resilience

Art Journaling’s Visual Voice in Trauma Intervention

Paper House Making with Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence

Best wishes for a great 2018!

 

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.

**********

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

Gratitude Round-Up: Creativity, Resilience, & Well-being

I thought today would be a nice time to re-share some of my favorite archived blog posts about gratitude, creativity, resilience, and well-being. I enjoyed re-visiting these and I hope you will enjoy this round-up too:

These posts continue to guide me about the importance of having a gratitude practice and the role of creativity in helping support and express what we are thankful for– especially in times of uncertainty, stress, or conflict. Not just today or when times are tough, but beneficial for our well-being everyday.  A wonderful opportunity for us to activate daily creative practices with an attention to gratitude.  🙂

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