I have continued over the years to get many clicks on a past entry about open studio art therapy. It is amazing to look back at it and how my studio and practice have continued to evolve in the 4 years since writing that article.
As our studio approaches it's 6th birthday in a couple months I reflect on the path Joy and I have walked in our work together. Today I continue to work with individuals, families and groups focusing on the process. The clinical spectrum is client driven and broad from less intensive (strengths based supported learning approach) to social skills groups to deeper clinical insightful groups all participating using the art process as the vehicle to find improved understanding and experience of life.
In my professional identity I have found myself wearing three hats primarily. Art therapist, artist and curator (I see my role also as an educator intertwined throughout the three). I am happy to say over the years I feel that the hats have begun to balance nicely between the three. I sit on a committee for the ATCB, which keeps me connected nationally in addition to my local work with the art therapy community. I feel strongly that creating art is VITAL for art therapists. If you are an art therapist you know why I am saying this, but I am sad to say that I don't see the priority consistently throughout our broad professional art therapy community. While I continue to see clients and lead groups I feel it is unquestionably part of my professional identity as an art therapist to continue to create art. If you are an art therapist and it's been a long time since you personally engaged in the expressive arts I urge you to reconnect with that side of your professional identity. While you may or may not show your art, we must live the processed-based expression we tout so boldly in our art therapist aesthetic.
Curating has also been a delight in my work. We proudly state that we are not and do not ever want to be a traditional gallery. We are an open studio that is an extremely active space with new faces visiting daily to take a class/workshop, see the studio/gallery or one of the clinicians who have office in the building. Through our gallery, Evolve Gallery, I have been proud to create many community connections. Each month our gallery partners with a different non-profit group for our show. The art exhibitions may directly involve individuals connected to the non-profit or the show may have a theme that echos the mission of the non-profit. For instance this month the art in the gallery is themed Home, our non-profit partner is We Are Oregon. On First Friday the group was able to connect with individuals who have been impacted by foreclosure and educate the public about their mission. We also are showing an installation created by individuals that participated in a workshop with We Are Oregon. For more information on this show click here. You can also see pictures from the First Friday opening on facebook. Past partners over the years have included Dove Lewis Emergency Pet Hospital, Oregon Women's Caucus for the Arts, Zimbabwe Artist's Project, Create Plenty, just to name a few.
Art therapy is a broad field with much potential. I can not help but urge trained art therapists to stay true to their foundation and claim art therapy in the work they do with clients and in their professional identity no matter where they practice. To be a true advocate for the use of the expressive arts it is imperative that we continue to live creative lives ourselves.
What is your mission as a professional? As an art therapist?
Everyone can live creative lives!
Our studio's mission:
The 100th Monkey Studio will provide anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation, a safe and affordable place to use art materials. We will support each artist in their unique journey of using art as a means of individual self expression. The 100th Monkey Studio will provide the community with art resources while also being a creative place to visit and view art.
An open studio is a studio or work room that is open to all, where artistic or creative work can be viewed and created collaboratively. Artists and non-artists come together in the open studio to celebrate the social act of collaborating.
An Open Studio is intended to foster creativity and encourage experimentation in an atmosphere of cultural exchange, conversation, encouragement, and freedom of expression. Open studios can be traced back to 17th century Paris where artists and other creative intellectuals gathered. Beat poetry can be traced back to originating in open studio settings. Post-WWII New York saw many open studios, one famous one, The Factory, was created by Andy Warhol.
Here at the 100th Monkey Studio, we use our open studio in many ways. Some of them include:
- Offering classes and providing drop-in art making space to the community as well as art materials, many free of charge!
- Special events and activities such as art openings, birthday parties, and much more.
- As a benefit to our members, not only providing space to work on their own art, but also having storage available for their works-in-progress.
- Confidential office space where families, couples or individuals engage with a Master's Level Art Therapist. Our studio also provides clinical art therapy groups to individuals looking for support and personal growth