My time in the U.S.A. during the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program grant period from December 2013 till June 2014 have been intense and fulfilled. Now when I am looking back to these 6 months I have realized how many people I have met and get acquainted with professionally and personally, how many activities I have done during this in my opinion very short period of time. Here I would like to mention just some points, what happened with me by this point:
Firstly, I had a chance to meet people, interviewed professionals in the field of expressive arts, creative arts therapies and art education. While finding information about expressive arts and the programs about expressive arts, creative arts therapy and arts education in different levels (from kindergarten to the higher education) I have met, visited, interviewed and established professional contacts with expressive arts therapists, art therapists, arts teachers, directors of the schools, such as: Lisa Herman (Creative Expression Specialization), Natalia Rogers (Professional Certificate in Person-Centered Expressive Arts for Healing & Social Change) and Bonnie Bernstein (Dance an movement therapy) from Sofia University; Shoshana Simons and Phil Weglarz from California Institute of Integral Studies (Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy); Jakob L.Kaminker from John F.Kennedy University (Expressive Arts program Jungian approach); Kathy Davis and Jim Conlon from Holy Names University (Master of Arts in Culture and Spirituality); Richard Carolan and Jo Wallace from Notre Dame de Namur University(Doctor of Philosophy in Art Therapy and Master of Art in Art Therapy), Juliet L.King from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Herron School of Art and Design(M.A. in Art Therapy); Anin Uttigard (Person-centered Expressive Arts Practice for children), Kate Donohue (Jungian approach in Expressive Arts Therapy practice); Vija Bergs Lusebrink (Expressive Therapies Continuum), Meagan Pugh (Counseling and Somatic Art Therapy program); Betty Staley, Irene Francois, Ted Mahle, Cyntia Hoven and Pamela T.Whiteman (Rudolf Steiner College, Waldorf Teacher Education), Jennifer Bundey and East Bay Waldorf School; Carolyn Siegel and Yasuko Inoue from Waldorf School of Penninsula, Cindy Bennet from Lake Street Treehouse for 3-5 years old children in San Francisco. Adding to this I had a chance to explore arts and creativity in the different institutions (educational, health, social etc.) by listening week long Telesummit “Power of Creativity: art practices that are changing the world,” hosted by expressive arts therapists Suraya Keating and Nicki Koethner. Later I had a chance to meet Nicki in a workshop.
Secondly, while exploring expressive arts programs on the website I have found several programs, which inspired me: Catharsis Application Program in Los Angeles, Focusing-Oriented Arts Therapies in Santa Rosa, Intermodal Expressive Arts Certificate Program in Expressive Arts Institute in Florida, Expressive and Creative Arts program in Salve Regina University in Rhode Island, Expressive Arts Institute program in San Diego, as well as several arts programs, which help to develop expressivity and creativity: SoulCollage (developed by Seena Frost), Intuitive painting (Chris Zydel), PointZero (Michelle Cassou), Painting experience (Stewart Cubley), Dancing Colors (Emily Day).
Thirdly, with the help of the Sofia University faculty associate Lisa Herman I have established contact with the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and have participated in the board meeting.
Fourthly, I have explored arts in the hospital environment while visiting Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford and meeting art therapist Jo Wallace. Adding to this I have found out about Child Life Specialists program in the hospitals and I am inspired by meeting with child life specialist Korie Roe.
Fifthly, I have explored theexpressive arts by using experiential research methodology. My research work was encouraged by the Sofia University faculty associate Lisa Herman’s “Researching Research: looking again through the Arts,” which inspired me to look from the experiential point of view on the research about expressive arts. Therefore I have explored and learn expressive arts while participating in Creative Expression program lead by Lisa Herman, in several workshops of expressive arts or creative arts therapies lead by expressive art therapists, creative art therapists or art teachers, such as, “Embodying the Muse: Improvisation Trough Movement, Voice and Theatre” (Phil Weglarz), “Dance Your Bliss: a healing system for mind, body and soul” (Rachel Fleischman), “Dance and Movement Therapy” (Bonnie Bernstein), Eurythmy (Cyntia Hoven, Astrid Thiersch), “Facing our Voice” (Anin Utigaard), “Voice – a discovery” (Lay Kleinerman), “Psycho-Opera: expending the expressive power of voice” (Herb Propper, Lorelei Goldman) “The Artmonk Experience: what music emerges from silence?” (Betsy McCall), “Intuitive painting” (Kathy Davis), “The Four Image Colors” (Ted Mahle), “The Masks We Wear: using images to stimulate imagination” (Mario Cossa), “Magic Shop as an art therapy using guided fantasy” (Andrea Gollub), “Beyond the Rorschach: projective techniques and psychodrama” (Heidi Landis), “Souls Journey” (Dena Baumgartner), “Guided by Intuition: heart & soul of psychotherapy” (Shoshana Simons, Saphira Linden), “Chinese Medicine and the Expressive Arts Therapy” (Gong Shu), Authentic Movement (Lisa Castro), Theatre and social change: play back theatre and improvisation (Arman Volkas).
Sixth, I had a chance to read so many books or at least look in them, which I wouldn’t be able to find in Latvia. I wish we would have such opportunities in the libraries in Latvia as they are here. Now I am preparing two articles for publication.
Seventh, I had the opportunity to participate in social gatherings of Fulbright program organized by Marilyn Herand, coordinator of the Fulbright Visiting Scholars Enrichment program. That gave me opportunity to meet people all around the world.
Eighth, I had a chance to give lectures about colors and the Latvian signs and folk costumes, present my experience in art therapy and art education, as well as facilitate my first workshops about colors in English.
Ninth, I had a time to develop study course about expressive arts for wholeness, which I will be glad to facilitate to students, professionals and others.
Metaphorically the symbol of this period is bicycle. It was my main daily vehicle but not only. One day when I was biking as usual I realize that can compare my time here with the process of pedaling. We have to handle with difficulties, crosswind and rains on our way in order to experience inspirations, downwind and sun. We have to know what we want. We have to start to do things. We have to find what exactly we need. And only then people will help us, new possibilities will arise and new ways will open in front of us.
Here I would like to express my thankfulness to all people who helped me to make things happen. They are so many … … … Thank you!
We need to start pedaling for the things happening …