|Posted by Marney Schorr on February 29, 2016 at 7:45 AM|
I am so grateful to have an art studio in the Berkshires. I have found my spot here in Pittsfield to be more of a home than I could have imagined. Just showing up and responding to inquiries from the community - this somehow has transformed what I do. I think I may have to add Community Arts Organizer to my resume now. I simply sit and make art with people and share ideas, and it changes lives. How did I get so lucky? It feels like I get to wave a magic wand, and a colorful one at that.
I see people struggling, suffering, just trying to get by all the time. And art fills their souls. Even for just an hour, I see it makes a difference. People go from feeling victimized to having a unique sense of control. Art reinforces meaning and enrichment in their lives. A glimmer of spirit returns. Something to build upon. A good start.
There has been some debate lately about what art therapists do and other kinds of visionaries that offer similar support. I am tired of the bureacracy of the professional art therapy organizations lacking inclusiveness. So much division, so much fear.
I am disappointed when the powers that be miss the mark about the general picture. Art helps people and you can't put limitations on it. You can try to tell people what they cannot do with art. But its like trying to license what people eat. Creativity is that basic of a human need. Reptilian brains drawing on cave walls.
I appreciate the so many talented art therapists that get through rigorous Masters programs and adhere to professional ethics. We need them. But we should call for a wider frame and a collaboration with all types of creatives in our practice. It's a wonderful, growing field but has become overly rigid and some are turned off to it. These voices matter too.
I would say this rigidity has only served to incite a humanistic artist revolution. Artists don't like being told what to do. And so they are out there, doing good work, helping people instead of isolated at home, seeking fame and greed. I am proud of this change. Can we please find a way to honor it rather than being afraid?
We are never alone where this is art. And there is room for everyone.
This post is dedicated to the following non-art therapists who are rocking our community: Nathan Hanford and the great work he is doing at Soldier On; Ghazi Khami and Leo Mazzeo at The Whitney for building bridges to local groups through the arts, Megan Whilden at OLLI for her open-minded creative vision; Ellen Merritt for using art to combat societal ills at the Christian Center, Jamie Badore for the healing energy he puts into our art world, Mary McGuiness for widening boundaries and getting us all on board; and to the people at the Pittsfield Cultural Council for making new ideas possible.
Categories: Out in the Field