Healing through the Arts
Having spent 40+ years as a career educator, I thought I would continue in my retirement as an Intercultural Communications Consultant developing K-8 Spanish language programs and Community Activist coordinating outreach in communal gardening. I loved teaching and especially enjoyed that portion of my career in which I worked to prepare future elementary school educators.
I remember vividly the words of my own grade school visual arts teacher:“Don’t bother to sign up for art in high school because you have no talent whatsoever.” While I frequently incorporated the arts in my teaching repertoire – asking students to draw, build models, write & produce skits, plays, and videos, etc. – I avoided any serious explorations of my own talents. I now look back with gratitude for the important lesson the critical words of that teacher/artist taught me: No students entrusted to my care ever doubted that I believed them capable of whatever they committed themselves to achieve.
In 2004, under the tutelage of a talented community college teacher, I successfully completed a course in drawing in time to take a sketchbook with me on the last trip in which I accompanied my high school students to Spain. In 2009, with the support of my fellow communal gardeners, I taught craft workshops for our neighborhood children to brighten our site with mosaic game table tops. In 2011, encouraged by Community Activist Poet and Artist Melissa Dey Hasbrook from my Quaker Meeting, I discovered the power of collage in healing those wounded by physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. Serving victims of domestic violence has long been part of my volunteer work and I long to add the arts to my repertoire.
Now I have a studio in my basement where I encounter a timeless space in which I feel the Light working in me, with me, and through me. Rather than working exclusively with my mind and intellect as I had for so many years, I feel Spirit calling me to discover grace in the strength of hands and fingers as they shape, draw, paint, and create art. Exploring mixed media, I contemplate how to blend my experiences as an educator with my new-found Gifts.