Coverage of Possible Cuts to Arts Programs

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Photo:  CC0, Lum3n.com Snufkin, 2017

In fairly recent news, President Trump has stated that he wants to cut federally funded arts and humanities programs. These programs would include: The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which have long been in the cross hairs of conservative critics. If Trump follows through, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would become private and the other national organizations would disappear entirely.

Publications such as the New York Times and Washington Post have found creative ways to display how much money these organizations really are receiving a year. They demonstrate a point about how cuts would really not make much of a difference to the national budget, but it would make a difference to those involved in the arts.

“We can look at that visually, using a pie chart. The programs above are represented with blue slices. Well, sort of a pie chart. If you were at Thanksgiving and demanded a slice of pecan pie proportionate to 2016 NEA spending relative to the federal budget, you’d end up with a piece of pie that would need to be sliced off with a finely-tuned laser.” Washington Post

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Also represented in the New York Times article:

“Would cuts save much money? If these dots represent federal spending, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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At this point, why not make statements this dramatic to draw attention to something this important? Other publications have been jumping on the bandwagon as well, making statements about how much of an impact these cuts would have and how the arts are often disregarded as important. Here’s a breakdown of the programs’ costs and what they do.

Although there have been arguments made that these programs are elitist and leftist, however, regardless of where they stand politically, we all need art in our lives!

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Drawing Together: Creative Expression for America

Last week I attended an event hosted by Mass Art called “Drawing Together: Creative Expression for America. This group drawing and art therapy event is part of a series called DRAW/BOSTON that is open to the public every Wednesday night from 6-8:00pm in the Bakalar & Paine Galleries at Mass Art. The event is free, facilitated by professionals, and the best part is you don’t need to have any drawing experience! 

“I wanted to use my creativity to imagine something hopeful and creative.” Trina Jackson, Participant

 

Playing with Storify: The Growing Spread of Mindfulness Practice in the Classroom

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Photo: CC0, Jordan Sanchez for Unsplash, 2015

Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhist meditation practice and has been part of a popular trend in the United States in recent years. This practice can be used to help strengthen focus and reduce anxiety, which can be very beneficial when we need a clear mind to produce art!

 

 

Last year I took a course on mindfulness and its theories at Northeastern, where we practiced everyday outside and inside the classroom. This week I saw an article written about mindfulness practice being implemented into other courses at Northeastern, so I decided to check out how the trend was moving along.

I tried to play a little bit with this topic on a site I hadn’t tried before, Storify, to gather some information through last week’s challenge: Twitter. My post can be seen here on Storify.

My Experiment with Live Tweeting

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As I wrote in my last post, Twitter has never been a social media go-to for me, so this experiment with live Tweeting was definitely a challenge. This weekend, I attended “Sensory Carnival Saturdays” hosted at the artlery160 gallery on Federal Street in Boston. Artist Sloat Shaw designed the gallery in a way that not only exhibited her paintings, but allowed the viewers to experience them in a whole new way. Stations were set up for participants to test out with items such as aromatherapy oils and massage balls to stimulate their senses. Before and after the experiment, visitors could take a sensory baseline test to discover how their brain was reacting to the stimuli. This event was so interesting and engaging, with a great message about connecting to our inner artist. I’ll also be attending the Pop Up Talk on creativity and the brain later on this week.

Going to this event, I basically wanted to accomplish my goal of understanding Twitter. I also wanted to see if it were possible to participate in an event of this nature while covering it. While I was there I found that it was quite difficult to be fully present, especially because this event required concentration to participate. I felt distracted and that I was being rude while on my phone, so I explained to the artist what I was doing.

Although it was difficult, I do see the positives in Tweeting live.I think that covering an event as it happens can be more interesting and perhaps more accurate. It’s not necessary to write in full detail, and pictures/videos definitely help to explain a situation more than the 140 character limit. Overall, I don’t think I would try live Tweeting again, perhaps in a different kind of event that’s less intimate.

Twitter as a Handy Resource

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Photo: CC0, freestocks.org, 2016

Twitter has never been something that I’ve checked on or tuned in to frequently, however it can be a great source to get a few quick facts about something specific. Most of the accounts that I follow are linked to my favorite news sites, organizations and blogs on expressive therapy.

Starting with the American Art Therapy Association who I would recommend to anyone interested in keeping up with the latest in art therapy in the United States. They post relevant news in the field and link to articles from their own publication Art Therapy Today, as well as popular resources. Similarly, there is the Art Therapy Alliance, which focuses on these topics of discussion as well.

Cathy Malchiodi, PhD is a well known author in this field and is very active in posting updates to Twitter about the latest art therapy news and fun tweets such as creativity posts. This brings me to my next source which is all about creative ways to get started with art and therapy: Art Therapy Hub. This account “provides local and international art therapy projects for diverse populations using the creative process,” and are especially interesting if you’re looking to get involved in the community!

Also involving the community, Journal of Art for Life focuses on issues that can be resolved using art to create social change. This is a great site to find out how communities are implementing art into unexpected programs.

There are a few great accounts from universities around the world that have programs in art therapy, one being Goldsmiths University of London’s account Art Psychotherapy. They don’t post information advertising their college directly; most of the tweets are either student work, community projects, or relevant lectures.

Finally, the following accounts are those which I follow their sites, so their twitter accounts are great supplements to the information they already provide:

Good Therapy is nice as a platform directory for finding therapists online and gathering information about general mental health.  They also have a lot of photos posted with uplifting quotes if you like to read those!

The British Association of Art Therapists is great as it is a group of professionals posting and organizing about community events, articles, projects and helps me stay up to date on what well-known therapists are doing.

New York Times: Well guided by Tara Parker Pope for updates and tidbits of medical research to help readers engage in healthy lives. Within “Well” there is a great section on mind that links to interesting studies in psychology and the arts. Psychology Today is another great account (and I actually prefer their Twitter to their site.) They have stories featured that are of course about psychology, but like “Well” they include art in some.

These Twitter accounts can be useful in finding projects to get involved in or try out at home, where to find therapists and especially keeping up on the latest art therapy news. My favorite way to use them is to find therapists and connect to their sites to learn more about their perspectives.

 

 

 

 

 

A Deeper Look into Art Therapy

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Photo: CC0, Pixabay User SailDancer, 2011

What is Art Therapy and Who is it for?

A common myth is that Art Therapy is set aside for kids or artists. Although these certainly are two categories of clients, it is open to everyone! Art therapy is a form of expressive therapy, which means it’s part of a larger field of creative and alternative therapies. In these sorts of therapies, the  creative process is utilized to help clients connect with themselves in order to solve issues they may be having such as high stress or low self-esteem. Art therapy can serve people in different ways and for various reasons, but most commonly to improve mental, emotional, and even physical well-being.

Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. American Art Therapy Association

What does an art therapy session look like? 

Due to our tendency to want everything we make or do to be perfect, we often dismiss our talents and write ourselves off as not being creative. However, in art therapy, the creative process and inner experience is more important than the final result, making it a welcoming practice to everyone. In a session, a client will spend more time on how he or she feels during the process of lets say painting something, rather than critiquing the final product.

Therapy sessions can be private or in groups, usually with one therapist leading the activities. By using art as a medium, it may be easier for clients to express themselves rather than  privately talking one-on-one with a therapist. There are many techniques and variations on how a session is conducted, such as active imagination by Carl Jung, gestalt methods and the “third-hand approach.” There isn’t one way to conduct art therapy as it is adaptable to clients needs and what the therapist sees as a best fit.

Alternative Theories on the Evolution of Media

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Photo:CC0, Unsplash, 2015

The following videos from 1981, 1994, and 2015 each described an evolution of digital media: Report from KRON in San Francisco“The Tablet Newspaper: A Vision for the Future”“EPIC 2015”, respectively.

In the KRON report, we can see the beginnings of internet journalism as an experiment that the creators were solely testing and not looking for a profit. Their idea of an electronic newspaper was accurate, however quite costly and a bit inconvenient. The paper would need to be ordered over the phone and take about two hours to download onto a home computer. We can see from this video that they were on track to discovering that online news would eventually take print away and that journalists have been thinking of digital resources for quite some time. All in all, the ideas were there, but the technological progress was not up to their speed.

Roger Fidler, often referred to as the man who created the tablet before Steve Jobs. In this video, Fidler introduced interactivity of newspapers, including touch screens with maps and videos, and advertisements and articles catered to personal interests. Basically, a smart tablet of today. He was right in that the resolution was a lot better than today’s devices and he predicted that papers would be eager to get rid of the cost of printing. However, without wireless internet, the kiosk idea was a bit strange and didn’t catch on. A great take-away from this video is that physical papers need to evolve.

Finally, the EPIC clip voiced predictions for the future of Google (and Amazon.) The video was accurate in that it showed how interconnected everything would eventually be as it is today. To have Google with other platforms that eventually connect to a device (modern day smartphone) and for things such as podcasts and location indicators becoming popular. It was a little off in describing the way that everything evolved but the general ideas remain true.

Overall, these videos contained some accuracies that became untrue mostly due to technological advancements.

Intro to Expressive Therapies

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Photo: CC0, Khara Woods, 2016

The field of Expressive Therapy has recently become quite a phenomenon throughout the United States with the rise of health and wellness awareness. Although it is seen as a more alternative process, Expressive Therapy, also known as Arts Therapy, has roots that date back to the 1940’s. Before then, it was not defined as a practice, but art has been considered a medium for self-expression since cave drawings were discovered from 40,000 years ago in Cantabria, Spain. The practices tap into other fields, such as positive psychology, communication, self-awareness and most importantly self-confidence and creativity.

Nowadays, we are discovering new ways to use art in forms not limited to the classic pencil and paper. Expressive Therapy can be practiced through traditional art (painting, drawing, sculpting), dancing/singing and music, photography, journaling, and other activities. This blog will aim at helping readers to narrow the field to know what’s the best process to start with.

It should also be noted that Expressive Therapy is rooted in England, UK and has recently been brought over the ocean to the United States. We will learn more about this historical process and specifically, how it has spread throughout Boston.

Expressive Therapy can be more affordable and accessible than traditional psychiatric therapy. Activities can be conducted privately or in groups and even self-taught at home, which gives the option to make it more comfortable and financially acceptable. This will be explained in more details such as why more patients, even patients with serious medical conditions, are moving towards these alternative therapies. Additionally we will touch upon art therapy as a movement and how this field is seen as a creative approach to psychiatric care and health in general.