The Essential Art Therapy Directives workshop was a success! It consisted of 14 participants who were all at different stages of their career and who were all art therapists. Valerie and I co-facilitated this workshop and I felt we complimented each other nicely. Participants were asked to explore who they were on a deep level and call upon parts of themselves to work with and reflect upon. I want to express great gratitude for everyone who attended for showing up authentically and allowing themselves to be vulnerable.
Many things came up for in the process of planning for this workshop, co facilitating and reflecting on it afterwards…
When I first started out on the path of becoming an art therapist, the concepts of art as therapy and art and therapy were always discussed and questioned as far as which one is better and what direction I should walk towards in this work. It was often presented as a split as if I had to choose one or the other. I tend to be more depth oriented and found that in depth work, directives were often not offered and went against the very nature of spontaneity, trusting the process and allowing unconscious material to surface. Perhaps it felt like directives also had an attached agenda and did not feel client centered… Directives felt more aligned with ‘art and therapy’ whereas no directives felt more aligned with ‘art as therapy.’
In my work as a practicing art therapist, I have had to challenge this perspective and come to recognize that this was not a perspective that I hold. I use directives all the time in my work and still consider myself depth oriented with some strong transpersonal flavor. As Val and I prepared for this workshop, we found that it was hard to limit the essential directives to ten (as we had originally planned) and then it was hard to limit them to 20. We ended up settling at 21. Judging by the turn out and the intentions of participants it is evident that this workshop was needed and that there needs to be more sharing amongst therapists of approaches, techniques and directives.
As I reflect on the workshop, I recognize the strengths of supporting this kind of professional development and what could have been done differently. One piece that I would have spent more time on is spontaneity and variations of the essentials. I often have to think on my feet in session and come up with directives on the spot. It takes practice to do this and thoughtful intention. This is essential in being flexible, not being attached to an agenda or outcome and aligning with the client and meeting them where they are. Another piece I would have liked to spend some time with is client resistance. I believe this workshop could benefit from being longer and perhaps the list could be narrowed to allow for more space and time to really examine all of them.
My inner critic must be awakened right now as we spent time working with our inner critics in the workshop. As I awaken my inner advocate, I see that art therapy is deep and meaningful work and I was happy to provide space for my colleagues to learn and grow together. I am pleased by the interesting discussions that were ignited during the process and I am content with the outcome and the workshop as a whole.
I send deep gratitude to Valerie Valentine for being my co-facilitator and mentor through my career and I also want to send gratitude to all the participants that joined us at the workshop.
With Great Thanks,
Workshop Co-Facilitator, NMATA President Elect
By: Alanna Sindlinger, MA, LMHC
As an art therapist, it is important to continue to create your own art and have your own practice of self care through art making and creativity. I am continuously contemplating how to strengthen and honor this practice in my personal life. As many art therapists choose to do, I started my journey with art therapy by going to art school first with a minor in psychology. Being an artist has been a central part of my identity. I will often say, I am an artist first and an art therapist second even though it doesn’t always feel that way.
Many of us struggle with our identities as artists and how we can continue to incorporate that very important part of ourselves into our very busy lives. Here is a list of ideas I have had in continuing this practice and the struggles that I have had with maintaining this practice.
- Process paintings over a period of time. Paint on a canvas once a week without developing a plan for the painting or concept except in the weekly sessions. These processes can have a focus on career/work or personal life.
- Write poetry
- Develop a series that continues to be an investigation throughout time.
- Do directives that I want to ask clients to do or that I do ask clients to do.
- Reflect on the day while creating a mandala.
- Conceptual work centered around my relationship to the environment and commentary on environmental issues.
- Write and illustrate Children’s books
- Cook beautiful food that is based off of recipes but made into my own style.
- Be inspired and follow through with a piece of art reflecting that inspiration.
- Design a garden or a space
- Pay attention to artist opportunities that I can be a part of.
Some of these IDEAS have never come into fruition but they are alive inside of me and the intention of following through is there. As artists, we have a different way of looking at the world, of perceiving the world, and of walking through the world.We tend to go against the grain and we often process our world a little uniquely as well. Instead of talking about it we may need to spend time in the studio with some paint and found objects to really describe and depict our inner thoughts and assessments about life, politics, culture, insights and our clients. As we ask our clients to explore themselves in a deep intimate process through the mediums of their choosing as should we be doing the same exploration of ourselves on a regular basis.
Below is an opportunity for artists residing in New Mexico to help keep the artist itch alive.
Project Intent TIME – Temporary Installations Made for the Environment – Edgewood
The Art in Public Places Program of New Mexico Arts, Route 66 Arts Alliance, and City of Edgewood seek to commission five temporary environmentally based artworks to be exhibited in various locations in Edgewood, New Mexico. The proposed artworks should relate to this year’s theme: “Persistence”
The strongest proposals will be for works which engage the temporary nature of this series of installations and relate strongly to the cultural and environmental histories of the area. Site-specific and ephemeral works are encouraged. Artwork should appeal to both local residents and visitors to the area. No artwork requiring concrete pads or other environmentally damaging approaches will be considered. At the agreed upon time of removal, the artist will return the installation site to its original condition, subject to the approval of the site representative. Media must be low maintenance, safe for both children and adults, ADA compliant, and not leave a permanent mark on the environment when removed.
Accepting Applications through April 13th 2017
For more information visit
Promoting Postive Self-Identity and Resilience through Art Making
OFFCenter invites everyone, free of charge, to experience creativity in the community in a welcoming, safe space with an abundance of materials of all kinds. OFFCenter strengthens the fabric of our community and improves quality of life for all participants, especially for those who would otherwise remain isolated and excluded. In addition to 25 free open studio hours every week, OFFCenter provides after school art, serves as a free community resource for numerous agencies assisting mentally and physically disabled people and also brings free art making experiences to community events as diverse as the International District Health Fair, Civic Plaza Kids Fest, CiQlovia, and the Downtown Grower’s Market.
Visit OFFCenter Gallery Shop. OFFCenter offers local artists more selling opportunities throughout the year in their low- commission Gallery Shop and “open to all” exhibitions. Come shop for beautifully handcrafted art, gifts and cards in the Gallery store this Holiday season and support local artists.
FREE WEEKLY WORKGROUPS – JUST WALK IN!
Writing Group – with Mandy Gardner –
Painting and Drawing – with Lynnette Haozous – Thursdays: 1-3pm
Card Making – with Karen Turner –
iCreate Guitar* – with Leslie Bailey –
iCreate Ukulele* – with Leslie Bailey –
Knitting & Crochet Circle – with Sybil Wertheim –
Saturdays: 11:30 – 1:30pm
OFFCenter is located in downtown Albuquerque at:
808 Park Avenue, SW
Albuquerque, NM, 87102
Check out their website for hours and other upcoming events!
This month we invite you to unfold those petals covering up your creativity and open up to new forms of beauty. How do we stay fresh and inspired with so many demands on our daily lives? How can we remove those obstacles in the way of our true expressions? How do you make space for yourself and give room to renew? This is where the process of art-making becomes essential to our self-care. Creating beauty is not a luxury, rather a vital part of who we are. We are creators. We create our futures, our dreams, our relationships and our careers. How are you making the world a more beautiful place? Let’s color in our lives together and create community everyday. Thank you for participating in the mosaic that is New Mexico!
The beginning of spring is unfurling rapidly and NMATA is bursting with evermore colorful projects and excitement around our upcoming events. We have an Imagine Art workshop and a Creativity in Motion workshop coming soon at Southwestern College. See our Events And Workshops page for more info.
As an Art Therapist, I know that the art process is an important container. As a supervisor, I like to weave in art making and sand tray work in supervision, to articulate client and agency issues and express the multi-dimensional experience that a new therapist has.
Katelyn did her practicum and internship at a jail, working with adult inmates who were locked up anywhere from a few days to a few years. She learned about many different cultures and power dynamics through immersion. As a way to end our supervisory relationship, and to contain the ending of her internship, Katelyn created a collage out of art that she made with clients and a few pieces that she was given.
We reflected on the change of her trees over the course of internship, signifying her personal states as well as those of her clients.
Throughout the art-making process, Katelyn quietly reflected on her experience with certain clients, and what was happening while she was creating art with them. It is beautiful how our art can hold so many memories, both of the moments in which the art was made, as well as the personal associations that our mind and body connects.
Katelyn has successfully graduated from Southwestern College, and is currently working as a therapist at an agency in Santa Fe.
By Magdalena Karlick
Last week was the kick off to breast feeding month, celebrated worldwide. In Santa Fe, the Breastfeeding Taskforce and WIC organized a fantastic event for families at the Children’s Museum. Famjam was there making music with kiddos, as was Clan Tinkers, performing acrobatics and magic tricks. Many organizations had booths promoting what they offer to the community, including Many Mothers, Carseat Safety, St. Vincent’s Hospital, NMATA and many others. Food was donated by Revolution Bakery and Sam’s Club.
When I think of supporting women, children, and families in breastfeeding it’s obvious that it is a bit complicated. From an inability to produce milk, to cultural and familial beliefs, to adoption, breasfeeding may not always be an easy choice for moms and families. However the ability to offer Nurturing is accessible to most parents.
What does nurturing mean to you?
Who has held you?
These are some of the questions we artfully asked at this event. We offered materials to make nests holding eggs. Girls, boys, and women worked on these nests and seemed to enjoy the process of making a protective home to hold possibilities; to hold life.
NMATA is a participant in our local communities…..
Art Saved My Life
An interview with Damon Lee Patterson
By Kat Dison
Kansas City filmmaker Damon Lee Patterson celebrates the therapeutic power of art in his feature documentary, Art Saved My Life. The film aims to prove art has the capacity to transform, heal, progress, enrich, and even save lives. Art Saved My Life premieres at The Kansas City Fringe Festival on July 19th and will continue to be shown at The Screenland Theater throughout the month before it hits the road.
[Kat Dison] What drove you to make a documentary on the transformative qualities of art?
[Damon Lee Patterson] Honestly, the state of the world drove me to do this; the human condition. I believe we are at a crucial point at this time in history. It’s as if the whole world is asking to revisit the drawing board–not saying start from scratch, but pretty darn close. There’s so much unrest and dissatisfaction with the way things are going and this is everywhere. People are waking up and they are demanding change, so I feel that the more people who know and understand their creative abilities the better off we all are. The more people that know they have power within them the better.
That, and just witnessing the creative power in my own life and others. (DLP)
Your work features diverse populations of creative individuals. Has this experience altered your original understanding of art and life?
What it’s done is reaffirm my original understanding. The experience has given me more hope and confidence to pursue the visions in my heart. Knowing that there’s other people who see and feel the same as I do is very inspiring.
Artist’s roles are evolving and becoming more expansive in today’s world. What do you hope that artist will bring to our future?
I hope that artists take on helping the human race remember our connection to nature. (DLP)
I believe that creativity can be defined as the act of channeling energy into something that another person can experience. So, even the act of raising a child is an art-form. Everyone is an artist in some way, shape, and form. (DLP)
by Magdalena Karlick, LPAT, LPCC, ATR
July 4th is next week, and there will be many USA flags waving.
I created my own flag today.
An art directive that was co-created in a session today, was to make a “me flag.” If you were a country, what would your flag look like? What would it represent? And afterwards, what would your pledge of allegiance be?
This is mine! All that was used was paper, popsicle sticks, and a glue stick.
I pledge allegiance to myself,
with all of my beauty and flaws.
And to my family and friends, for whom I stand,
The grand Universe, Mother Earth,
with patience and clarity for all.