Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

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

December 26, 2017

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 Rolled Up in Canvas

November 29, 2010

This week marks an important transition related to finishing my second term as President of Ohio’s Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA). Back in December 2009 when I was starting to create my 2010 revo’lution, I knew this moment to-be was going to be an important piece to this year’s events in my professional life.  And now the moment is here.

As my tenure as BATA’s President comes to a close, I am most proud of the hard work that has been done related to increasing BATA’s membership, Symposium attendance, creating more financial stability, enhancing BATA’s web presence and resources/tools on-line, as well as cultivating service, leadership, and advocacy in the Ohio art therapy community.

I am not only grateful to members of BATA for their support and entrusting me to lead this Association throughout these last few years, but I also have tremendous appreciation for the BATA Board of Directors I have served with for their help to make the above successes happen.  I am thankful for their commitment to BATA and assisting this organization to continue on as one of the largest and most active state art therapy associations in the country.

This coming Saturday will be our final board meeting together and a time to pass the leadership torch onto the 2011-2012 BATA Board of Directors.  To express my appreciation of their service, support, and help, I created gratitude scrolls for each board member to receive at our last meeting. This idea was inspired by Leilani Pierson’s pocket scrolls featured in the July/August issue of Cloth Paper Scissors and a gratitude project that Cathy Malchiodi introduced in her Courageous Creativity course taught at this year’s Prescott College Expressive Art Therapy Summer Institute.

These scrolls were created from pieces of canvas that were sewn, gessoed, painted, stamped, embellished with trinket pins and wire, as well as included layered messages of thankfulness and gratitude that will be rolled up inside.

During my six years involved with the BATA Board of Directors, I definitely have a new appreciation for leadership’s bigger picture and the teamwork success requires,  I have also learned important lessons about service that have contributed to strengthening my future purpose and intention about how I can continue to serve the art therapy community.

Looking forward, I am excited to focus more of my time to Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc. and the communities of The Art Therapy Alliance and International Art Therapy Organization to help promote, develop, and support art therapy initiatives and the work of art therapists worldwide.

Best wishes to BATA’s new leadership and continuing the important mission of advancing art therapy in Ohio. Re-designing & Re-visioning

November 15, 2010

My official website was recently updated with some re-designing and re-visioning.  The site highlights my work, services, and interests:

Content featured on includes:

  • Autobiographical Information: Learn more about my work as a Registered Board Certified Art Therapist and Certified Trauma Consultant, my educational training, clinical experience and specializations, interests, as well as professional affiliations with organizations such as The Combat Paper Project, The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children, and community organizing with The Art Therapy Alliance and Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc.
  • Information and Resources About Art Therapy– Learn more about what art therapy is and what art therapists do, including definitions, resources, and links from organizations such as The Art Therapy Alliance, International Art Therapy Organization, Art Therapy Without Borders, The Buckeye Art Therapy Association, and The Art Therapy Credentials Board, Inc.
  • Services– Learn more about art therapy services that I provide in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio area, which includes working with agencies and organizations serving traumatized and grieving children, adolescents, and families who have experienced illness, loss, and family violence. Other services highlighted include art therapist supervision, providing art therapy workshops and professional continuing education for agencies, schools, and community groups.
  • On the Grid– Information about my love and passion related to art therapy and technology, including blogging, on-line art therapy communities, podcasts featuring my work and interests, and the art therapy e-zine FUSION.
  • Presentations– View some of my SlideShare presentations about art therapy with children from homes of domestic violence, working with youth coping with grief and loss, as well as the impact of Bruce Perry’s work on my practice as an art therapist and trauma specialist working with traumatized youth.
  • Film/Art Gallery– Watch some of my favorite short videos and films featuring my collage art, altered books, community art events, and initiatives of The Art Therapy Alliance and Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc.

Visioning Collages Re-Visited

April 22, 2010

I created this visioning collage series not even a year and a half ago in late 2008 when I was struggling with understanding change, responsibility, leadership, and action within a really dysfunctional structure and system.

Today I’m re-visiting and reflecting on these same images and concepts with this new video.  Images inspired during a challenging and disheartening time, are now seen with new meaning,  purpose, and energy to celebrate an exciting journey and adventure now beginning.  

Growth: Moving Forward

All the things I was trying to make sense of related to change, responsibility, leadership, and action back then and the choices I have made in response since, have transformed into the path I am now on.  And it is all good.   I believe this is what these images were meant for all along.  I like when that happens…

creating a new revo’lution: re-discovered meaning + intention for 2010

December 28, 2009

No Evolution Without Revolution

I’ve been posting recently on my 2009 rev o’ lution and recent reflections on this from the past year… I was excited to see the rev o’ lution action also take form on Lani Puppetmaker’s Blogspot, where Lani Gerity started her own rev o’ Lution inspired by the concepts of Friendship, Stillness, and Simplicity. Check it out!

So the time has come for me to create my new rev o’ lution for 2010- which I honestly have been looking forward to all month.  My process includes first creating a list of words/concepts/intentions I want develop and cultivate more in the new year, that I then narrow the list down to eight words.  From there, I create a special altered book where each page is dedicated to the intentions chosen. 

This year, an image that I usually keep on the nightstand by the bed kept grabbing my attention as I started to form 2010’s rev o’ lution. It’s a small mixed media image on canvas board that I created sometime in 2006 when I was thinking about running for President of Ohio’s Buckeye Art Therapy Association, after my name was thrown in for nomination consideration.  At the time, I remembered having a lot of anxiety and self-doubt about this. I wondered if this was something that I could really do?  It’s one thing to be a board member and focused on your specific committee tasks and commitments. I’m good with details, following through on projects and tasks at hand, but was uncertain about my abilities to be responsible for the “big picture” and setting the overall tone, energy, organization, and leadership of an entire board and its members.

The idea frankly freaked me out a lot.  And when I’m freaked out, one of the things I do is make art.  In response, I created this image of my intentions and anticipations connected to what I wanted to bring to being a leader at this level.  It helped stabilize my anxiety, doubt, and create meaning behind my decision to move ahead on this path if given the opportunity.


Encourage. Care. Hope. Create. Learn. Dare. Wonder. Listen. 

These were all important concepts that I wanted to develop, contribute, and inspire.  I also remember at this time wanting to bring an energy and enthusiasm to move efforts forward through action, dedication, and hard work.

That was three years and two terms as President ago.  To date, that’s 14 board meetings, 17 board members, over 200 members, 2 Symposiums, 1 national art therapy conference, introducing 2 art therapy legsilation bills, 2 strategic plans, a new mission statement, a new website, and too many e-blasts, e-mails, follow up phone calls, newsletter and meeting reports, and website updates to count.  Most  importantly, I believe this collective work and everyone’s participation has contributed to energizing our community, connection, and hopefully truly serving the needs of art therapy in Ohio and our members.

I reflect on all of this because 2010 will be my last year finishing this term.  In creating this year’s rev o’ lution, I thought a lot about this journey and its impact on my life over the last few years, including how other experiences and expectations of good vs. bad leadership have ultimately influenced and shaped future desires, intentions, priorities, and decisions that I face in the here and now.

I have learned *a lot*.  And there are many good friends and supports who have helped, encouraged, and taught me so much along the way.  This journey and those who have walked with me over the last few years have been invaluable to keeping me on course and reminding me of the “big picture” during times that were uncertain, difficult, and challenging.  Where I stand today is with gratitude, strength, and a renewed passion connected to what and who matters most.  I believe there’s lots more great work still to come in this upcoming year- not just here in my own backyard, but also on a bigger scale.  I’ve gotten a little better with seeing the “big picture”.

I am looking forward to what this new year will bring as I remember some of my old intentions with re-discovered meaning to create new ones for this year’s rev o’ lution.

So here’s my rev o’ lution for 2010: Create Dare Balance Encourage Wonder Learn Sustain Transition

To celebrate the launching of this new rev o’ lution, watch a short film I created featuring the altered book I made about each of these concepts.  During these last few days of 2009, it’s time to kick off next year’s rev o’ lution and believe me, I am ready to go!!!  Look for more rev o’ lution reflections throughout this week.

What does your 2010 rev o’ lution look like?


BATA Book of Leadership Artfully Returns

July 27, 2009

Yesterday I received the altered book back that the Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA) Board of Directors have been working on in a round robin mail art exchange since January 2009.  I first made note of this project focusing on the theme of leadership in my post The Art of Leadership when I started off the book.  Since then, ten other board members have contributed to the book’s pages with their reflections, thoughts, images, photos, and quotes around this topic. 

As I eagerly looked at each page carefully, several themes surfaced about being a leader, what it means and feels to lead, what cultivates this, and helps it grow.  Art about what it means to be a leader, the leadership experience, role models, qualities of good leadership, and the impact one has in this type of role were just some of the few themes that surfaced throughout the pages.  Themes about integrity, trust, openness, creativity, and vision were everywhere from my fellow board members.  It is good to see us all on the “same page”. To view a slideshow of the book’s pages to see for yourself, click on the image below.

BATA BOD Altered Book- Art of Leadership

BATA BOD Altered Book- Art of Leadership Slideshow

I sincerely thank each BATA Board Member for taking the time to be part of this project, thoughtfully considering the theme, and sharing what leadership means to them through their images and writings.  

This book will be available to bid on at BATA’s Symposium Silent Art Auction September 11 and 12, 2009 to help raise money for our Legislative Fund and efforts to help license art therapists in the State of Ohio.

Creative Intentions on Leadership

May 17, 2009
This past week-end The Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA) sponsored a Leadership Workshop for Art Therapists in Cincinnati, Ohio facilitated by Cathy Malchiodito discuss the importance of transformational leadership and service in the art therapy community, as well as an opportunity to learn and explore skills important for art therapists to practice and become agents of change. I believe this workshop was very valuable  to those who attended and inspired a lot of my own art-making before, during, and after around the topic of leadership.

Before coming to the workshop, registered attendees received Where Leadership Comes From: A Leadership e-Zine for Art Therapists written by Cathy. The e-zine included information about leadership styles, destructive vs. creative systems, common needs for leadership, leadership characteristics, and intentions motivating service.  Cathy’s zine inspired me to do a mini altered book on some of these topics and content before coming to the workshop. Below are a few pics from this book.

Leadership Mini Altered Book

Leadership Mini Altered Book

Leadership is Knocking

Lead Well

Leadership Needs

Leadership Needs

During the workshop participants were invited to do art around the idea of intention. Our first image was to focus on an intention connected  to your own leadership: a phrase, quote, or saying that really captured this motivation.  Some intentions that were included in the e-zine that really spoke to me were: “No matter what the weather looks like, we have to go ahead now. Waiting any longer could be even more dangerous“… and “Real, authentic change emerges only from a place of deep focus and intention“.

However, the intention that spoke to me the strongest was the one I chose to do my first image about: “We don’t grow unless we are tested.”

We Don't Grow Unless We Are Tested Intention
We Don’t Grow Unless We Are Tested Intention

This intention speaks to my own experiences related to becoming more aware with what it means and takes to be a leader, my own growth in understanding this better, and the positive impact that these “tests” (opportunities, changes, or people) have had in my life. There are many things that I never thought I could do (or would do), but through these challenges I have grown in ways I would have never dreamed of.  Again…the theme of growth continues

The second image we were invited to create was a leadership intention related to the success of the group, organization, or system we work in.   My intention for this includes visioning hope, openness, and the freedom that exists in something new. I believe in the potential, energy, and ideas that will become inspired by this intention and through being a part of a collaborative effort in the world of art therapy. Again…imagining new beginnings…

Something New Intention

Something New Intention

Notes on Finding & Doing Great Work

March 1, 2009

The idea of finding, doing, and commiting to great work has been crossing my path a lot lately.  I have been challenging myself to think thoughtfully more about my own decisions, relationships, expectations, intentions and trying to learn more about what goes into great work. 

The short ad spot below from the creativity and image gurus at Corbis I think speaks to important qualities that distinguishes good work into the level of great work.  Don’t settle for less, cut corners, or give up.  Have high expectations for quality, seek help from others & work together to achieve what needs to be done,  and most importantly, remember that great work is hard work. Don’t make excuses for why a mediocre job is OK.

Finding Your Great Work Movie by Michael Bungay Stanier and his 5 Great Work Truths is another inspiration that I have taken notice to recently:

1. Take full responsibility for the choices you make.  Own them.   Have conviction, commitment, and the accountability that comes with the decision making of doing great work.  Are you in for more great work or out?

2. Changing your focus changes what’s possible.  Look at who you are,  what is important to you, what you are passionate about, and what is around you.  Seek opportunities and others that enrich, support, and inspire possibility. Will you look for great work or just hope it shows up?

3. You must make the full choice. Hold strong to the no so you can commit to the yes.  I think this could become my new mantra!

4. To do great work you must be willing to take a stand. Get focused on what you want and go for it. Don’t let resistance or fear stop you from finding and doing great work.

5. Great work involves not only working with others, but finding the right people to partner with and opening the door to invite them in.  A recent posting on Bungay Stanier’s The Possibility Virus Blog  reminds us that with sites such as LinkedIn and other on-line global networking tools, there is no reason we all shouldn’t be discovering, connecting, and collaborating with people all over the world who are amazing at what they do and can help us find and do great work.  In addition, take a closer look at who and what existing relationships you need to let go of and are exhausting you of your energy, effort, spirit, and time.

Are you ready to go and find your great work?  I know I am! Do you want to join me? Click on the image below and watch the film for more.  Also look for Bungay Stanier’s  new book coming out soon: Find Your Great Work: Napkin-size Solutions to Stop the Busywork & Start the Work that Matters.

Thanks to Nicole for sending this to me- it was perfect timing!

Find Your Great Work Film

Find Your Great Work Movie

Art of Leadership

February 6, 2009
Leadership Altered Book Page / February 2009

Leadership Altered Book Page / February 2009

As President of the Buckeye Art Therapy Association(BATA), I recently invited our Board of Directors to participate in a mail art round robin altered art book around the theme of leadership.  I’ve started the book off with the pages that you see here in this posting.  I’ll be bringing the book to our next board meeting in a couple of weeks for the next board member to work on and then it will be mailed to the next individual on the list and so on until July.  Everyone will have two weeks to work on at least two or more pages. I hope this project will be a fun and creative opportunity to explore what being a leader means with a group of my colleagues.  

What I’ve done focuses on leadership themes related to action, hard work, integrity, and the courage to take risks:

Action:  There’s a quote on this page that says, “Vision isn’t enough unless combined with venture. It’s not enough to stare up the steps unless we also step up the stairs.” It’s exciting to brainstorm ideas, talk about our good intentions, make to-do lists, and set goals we would like to achieve.  But action is what makes things happen. Action turns our thoughts, wishes, and goals from intentons into doing, making our ideas real, and bringing them to life. Action comes from energy, commitment, hard work,and individuals dedicated to making this happen. I value this a lot in leadership and try to remember this in my own responsibilities as a leader.

Hard Work:  Paying attention, listening, remembering, advocating, learning from others, working together, seeking feedback, recruiting, cultivating, teaching, and following up are all actions I try hard to do with sincerity and passion.

Leadership Page 2 / February 2009

Leadership Altered Book Page 2 / February 2009

Integrity-Those people in my life that have been good role models in leadership have all shown strong and inspiring integrity. They lead by example with honesty, openness, trust, and purpose. These are actions that left an impact on me, earned my respect, and what I have tried to learn from and apply in my own life and work. The power of integrity goes a long way and I believe is one of the qualities for the foundation of strong leadership. Questions that I was drawn to from the text on the above page were: “Could you lead by your example? Can you inspire others with your integrity?”

Courage– Leadership often requires taking risks and making decisions that can be difficult. There are obstacles, issues, conflict, change, and opportunities that surface along the way. It can be easy to make decisions rooted in fear, what is already known, or what will just get things by. Responsibility and accountability help guide me in speaking the truth, staying the course, and doing what is in the best interest of the bigger picture.   

This completed altered book will be available for members of BATA to view in September at our Annual Symposium, as well as will be included in our Silent Auction to help raise money for BATA’s Legislative Fund.  I also hope that I can create a short film of the book that hopefully you will be able to see here later in the year.

The Creative Leader & Creating an Environment for Innovation

January 17, 2009


rev o' lution for leadership
rev o’ lution for leadership

Here are my first of many thoughts surrounding the topic of leadership and creativity. As I wrote in my rev o’ lution posting a few weeks ago, good leadership is something I want to see, be, and understand more this year.  

The article Leadership As Creativity: Finding the Opportunity Hidden Within Decision Making and Dialogue, published by The National Endowment for the Arts was a good read to get me thinking about the qualities of creative leadership and its impact on success, achievement, and motivating others. Author John M. McCann references the work of Malcolm Knowles and his book The Adult Learner, A Neglected Species where eight beliefs about The Creative Leader are identified:

1. The Creative Leader has a positive belief system and outlook about the ability of others to get the job done and step up to the challenge.  

2. The Creative Leader understands the relationship between acknowledging that people are stakeholders and how this effectively influences their level of commitment and dedication to the work that needs to be done.

3. The Creative Leader creates a vision and expectation for success that others will contribute and rise up to.

4. The Creative Leader understands and values the unique contributions of the individual and recognizes that when people are able to work in an environment that empowers their strengths, ideas, skills, and knowledge, they will thrive and create great things.

5. The Creative Leader embraces creativity in others through cultivating, celebrating, and validating its use.  Also important is leading by example and showing others that the power of creativity is essential to surviving change.  

6. The Creative Leader is aware of the power of change and skillful in its management to create new opportunities and possibilities rooted in innovation.

7. The Creative Leader highlights and rewards gratification that encourages success, achievement, responsiblity, and integrity from within.

8. The Creative Leader promotes others to be self-directing and driven.

As I was reflecting on the list, each of the eight qualities towards creative leadership has important value to me.  Many of the examples I can recall when I was empowered by a Creative Leader in my own life applying these principles. Creative leadership has encouraged and taught me to do new and growth producing experiences, have belief and trust in my ideas, direction, and decisions- even in times when I did not even see this yet myself or know what exactly to do.    

I’ve also witnessed and experienced the opposite by working in systems or with individuals in positions of leadership that attempted to exercise control, isolation, micromanagement, and  ultimately kill the collaboration and fullfillment that comes with the process of developing new ideas.  These experiences have been valuable lessons in helping to identify what I truly need and want in good leadership, and to understand more about what is destructive and damaging towards fostering dedication, participation, and postitive morale in others.

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and their podcast, Creating an Environment for Innovation, sites three steps that can impact the successful creative growth within organizations:

The Elements of Destruction are Present at Creation– Creative leadership knows how to take appropriate action and is aware of possible inherit destructiveness that can threaten the innovation of the organization.

Soft Values Drive the Organization– CCL describes this as “how the game is played”. Valuing and cultivating qualities such as passion, dedication, and spirit is what fuels the organization’s energy and direction.

Trust is the Means and Love is the Unspoken Word A foundation of trust and compassion are essential to helping the organization face and deal with conflict and problem- if left unchecked this can weaken and slow down the organization’s ability to move forward with new ideas and goals.  What is CCL’s idea of love in the workplace? “Love means caring for others, being concerned about their personal and professional well-being and placing a high value on their interests. It means listening and trying to understand their concerns. It means respecting their intelligence and giving credit to their ideas. Loving the people within the organization gives innovation its best shot. ”

Enough said. At least for now…

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