Archive for the 'resiliency' Category

Perseverance and Arts Advocacy

March 19, 2017

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

February 5, 2017

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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Creative Resilience Link Round Up

January 20, 2017
Creative Resilence | creativity in motion

make&do 365: Resilient Insights

I’ve put together a round up of recent links and posts that highlight the role of creativity in managing challenging times, finding hope, and empowering resilience. I hope you find them as inspiring and helpful as I have.  As I was reading these posts over the last couple of months, they have been comforting messages about the importance of creative expression to make sense of new shifts, uncertain moments, and distressing times. They have also been amazing reminders of the power art and creative expression hold to connect us to our voice and each other.

On this day, I am grateful for all of this.

 

Creative Resilence | creativity in motion

make&do 365: Change Agent: Artful Entry

 

Creative Resilence | creativity in motion

make&do 365: Creative Evolutionists

3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop

June 14, 2016

I had a great time at Lani Gerity‘s workshop this past week-end at the Mid Atlantic Play Therapy Institute: Visual Art Journaling for Teens and Adults in Treatment: Creative, Messy, and Contained.

creativity in motion

The day was an artful exploration of resilience building, flourishing, intention setting, strength reflection, and lots of creative goodness to fill our handmade art journals that we made from hanging file folders, basic manila file folders for the signature pages inside, and a simple pamphlet stitch to bind it all together.

3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop | creativity in motion

I really enjoyed using the various supplies I brought in my mobile art stash– as well as sharing them with my tablemates so they could experiment with them in different ways. It was very inspiring to work in this community. We even did a table exchange of mini art in the form of artist trading cards, index cards, and craft tags to honor the concept of art as a gift, one of Lani’s prompts to explore practicing kindness and sharing joy with others through our art.  I was lucky to be gifted this art from Mary during our table exchange:

creativity in motion

Art as a Gift

 Upon returning home, as I was unpacking my supplies, handouts, and art from the workshop, I reflected on Lani’s teachings from the day prior and the power of art making to help us cope in distressing and challenging times.

This reflection also prompted me to summarize a list of 3 good things (so many to choose from!) from content introduced during the workshop- and ways to help instill hope, gratitude, and self-care into our lives:

  • Three Blessings Exercise– Dr. Martin Seligman suggests this practice as a way to foster well-being and decrease depression.  This exercise encourages us to make note of three things (for one week) what went well throughout our day and to reflect on why they went well (i.e. “why did this happen?”). According to the research of Dr. Seligman, focusing (and dwelling) on our blessings (what is good, going right with life) helps increase our well-being and decreases anxiety, depression that dwelling on bad events can actually make a lot worse. Lani puts an art-based spin to this exercise by suggesting to create art about three good things (collectively in one image or in separate images).  In one of Lani’s Happy Artist’s Life Workshops a few years ago for 6 Degrees of Creativity I even made a Pinterest board to collect images and content inspired by things that made me happy.  Re-visiting this board made me thankful that I created it— and maybe it is a good time to start adding to it again.
  • Daily Creative Practice– Citing the work and practice of art therapy pioneer Edith Kramer, Lani shared that creating art everyday helps guide skillfulness (mastery). This type of practice has a direct connection to nurturing our resilience, regulation, and inspiring us to be and do the best that we can.  I love that this reminder was included as part of the day’s offerings- and very much agree with these findings!
  • Sensory Relief Art- This prompt (originally to create an image representing a mini vacation and to incorporate the senses) inspired a collage that was connected to the importance of self-care, focusing on the here & now, and finding refuge & breathe in this space. I used a photograph of an old collage I created, pieces of torn (blue) magazine pages, distressed ink, and paint pens. Lots of relief in this image!
3 Good Things Takeaway: Creative, Messy, Contained Workshop | creativity in motion

Self-Care © 2016 gretchen miller

Thanks to the Lani, all the participants I met at the workshop, and the small group of fellow art journalers that I worked with throughout the day.  I look forward to incorporating content we learned into my groupwork and adding it to my art journaling ideas and inspiration.

Related Posts:

Happy Artist’s Life Art Journaling (VIDEO)

The Art of Emotional Resilience

Journey to Resilience: Takeaways and Creative Offerings

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Art Therapy: Finding Help, Finding Hope

May 5, 2016

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

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 tgrasso.rjec@yahoo.com.

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

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.

Resources:

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

PaintCutPaste

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland

March 8, 2015

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motionBack in November, my friend Lori and I decided to take on this Hot Chocolates to Try in Cleveland Top 10 List published by Scene Magazine.

Over the last 5 months we’ve paused our days to meet up almost every other week to take on one of the destinations featured (with the exception of Angel Falls Coffee Company in Akron, which we chose another Cleveland stop instead). Not only do I loooove drinking hot chocolate to keep warm in the winter, I’ve really enjoyed this adventure as a catalyst to slowing down, enjoying good company  & conversation, as well as a great reason for me to get out and about more during these cold, exhausting months to visit some familiar places and get to know some new ones.  Every stop was worth the trip!

This week-end Lori and I finally enjoyed our 10th stop, bringing this hot chocolate tasting tour to a close. Below are my reflections, rankings, and take-aways from each stop we made throughout our chocolate journey:

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motion

Root Cafe, Lakewood

The Root Cafe in Lakewood was an early December stop on this adventure.  I’m pretty sure I have had the Root’s hot chocolate before when meeting there for special projects and work stuff, but this time I was taking in the experience through our hot chocolate challenge taste buds.  I would suggest trying the Mexican Cocoa (Lori’s choice!) with cinnamon, cayenne, and vanilla for a kick in your cup!

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motion

Blackbird Baking Company, Lakewood

Mid December was our trip to Blackbird Baking Company, (also in Lakewood)!  Blackbird’s hot chocolate had a dark chocolate taste to it, which I think prepared me up for future stops on our agenda!

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motion

Fear’s Confections, Lakewood

Another Lakewood destination, Fear’s Confections kicked off our tour in November right before Thanksgiving.  I loved  the gourmet homemade cinnamon marshmallow that came in my hot chocolate!  Yum!

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motion

Civilization, Tremont

 In mid January, Lori and I took on a Hot Chocolate Double Header and did two tastings in one day! Sugar high! One of those stops was at Civilization in Tremont, where I enjoyed this mug of chocolate goodness….Definite bonus points on the ranking system for whipped cream!

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motion

Dewey’s, Shaker Heights

The finale of our adventure took place at Dewey’s in Shaker Square, which was a super comfy and inviting place to enjoy our creamy hot chocolate next to their fireplace!  This cocoa was cinnamon good!

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland| creativity in motion

Bonbon, Ohio City

In January, we also visited Bonbon Pastry & Cafe in Ohio City who served up a really good cup of milky hot chocolate with friendly service… I also left a couple of my Creative Deeds there for finding on my way out!  🙂

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motion

Chocolate Bar, Downtown Cleveland

Towards the end of our tour, we visited Downtown Cleveland’s Chocolate Bar, which was a.maz.ing.  With a hot chocolate menu of over 10 flavors, it was hard to choose just one.  We went with our server’s recommendation of the “Extra Dark” for the absolute chocolate experience and it did not disappoint, topped with thick whipped cream, chocolate stick, and shavings.

And here’s my Top 3:

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motion

Sweet Moses, Gordon Square Arts District

Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop in Cleveland’s Gordon Square Arts District was our first stop after the New Year started, and the first and only tasty hot chocolate on the tour that came with whipped cream and a marshmallow square!  Yes!  I reeeaaallly enjoyed their vintage hot chocolate recipe and their overall drink presentation was classic!

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motion

Phoenix Coffee, Ohio City

Our stop to Phoenix Coffee in Ohio City was a super snowy day in early February, which was perfect timing for hot chocolate drinking and worth braving the snowbanked street parking— this heaping cup tasted awesome! Phoenix also receives an honorable mention for the best looking hot chocolate on this list!  And…. this came with a separate cup of real whipped cream for my perfect hot chocolate drinking experience….Win, win!

Hot Chocolate Adventures in Cleveland | creativity in motion

Lilly Handmade Chocolates, Tremont

We added Lilly Handmade Chocolates as a random substitute and part of our Tremont Hot Chocolate Double Header in January and boy, I am glad we did!   Wow— their Signature Drinking Chocolate, an European Style blend of milk, dark, and white chocolate with cream and Aztec spices was sooooo creamy good and rich.  It tasted like old fashioned chocolate pudding, hot off the stove in liquid form.  Even without whipped cream I adored it and savored each drop-! Love!

This challenge was so much fun! Thanks to all the places we visited throughout this winter and to Scene Magazine for the inspiration– a great way to support and get to know more local businesses in Cleveland area neighborhoods in the spirit of hot chocolate drinking!  And support some emotional resilience related to the winter around us….

Image: Keep Calm Studio

Image: Keep Calm Studio

Now that our hot chocolate adventure has ended, Lori and I are seeking a tasting tour for the spring/summertime that we can embark on next.  I’ll keep you posted…. 🙂

********

Related Posts:

Hot Chocolate Savoring & Creative Pausing

Creative Deed 365 January Offerings

Firewalk Inspired Smashbooking

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

March 3, 2015

This week launched the local exhibit opening of Human Trafficking in Art on display in Rocky River, Ohio.  The exhibit is hosted by the West Shore Allies Against Human Trafficking Taskforce and includes a variety of work dedicated to giving a voice and awareness to this important issue and the work of the Renee Jones Empowerment Center (RJEC).

The photographs of Carla Carter Lovejoy and Don Iannone were on display (read this article about their photos when they were at Notre Dame College this past fall), telling a powerful visual narrative behind the truth of human trafficking, as well as a story of help, hope, and healing.  Also on exhibit were awareness posters created from middle and high school students in NE Ohio as part of efforts of the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking, as well as art from the art therapy groups I have been facilitating at RJEC with survivors and at risk youth as part of Ursuline ArtSpace Outreach.

The exhibit was a beautiful, moving display of truth, courage, hope, and recovery.

Human Trafficking in Art | creativity in motion

On display March and April 2015

Human Trafficking in Art | creativity in motion

It’s hard to believe that it has almost been a year since art therapy group work started at RJEC. Over the last 10 months our group gatherings have been a creative journey & artful testimony of raw emotions, coping, growth, and resilience. I am grateful and humbled by the women and teens who have shared their experiences through their art, as well as the incredible support of art therapy received from Renee Jones, Sr. Cecilia Liberatore and the many, many advocates of the RJEC’s work.

Human Trafficking in Art | creativity in motion

Pictured with Sr. Anne Victory (Collaborative to End Human Trafficking), Carla Carter Lovejoy, and Don Iannone

If you are in the NE Ohio area in March or April, I recommend taking the time to visit this exhibit and learn more about human trafficking through the photos and images on display.  The exhibit runs through April 25 and is open to the public.

For resources, help, and how to get involved with national advocacy efforts, visit the National Human Trafficking Resource Center here.  You can also support important local NE Ohio initiatives through the Renee Jones Empowerment Center.

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Related Posts:

Creating Hope: NE Ohio Human Trafficking Symposium

Art as a Voice: Art Therapy with Survivors of Domestic Violence

Through a Grateful Winter Lens: A Sense of Sacredness Among the Ordinary

 

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