One of the best ways to initiate healing through art is through one of my Collaborative Painting Workshops. These customized workshops provide a fun and memorable way to bring a group of people together, whether it is people united by a cause, co-workers, or people who are just looking to get to know each other better. I tailor each event to your specific needs, so each becomes a unique experience. Likewise the art produced is original and personal to the group that creates it. My role is to facilitate the creating experience for the group. I provide all the supplies; you provide the space and the participants. You will also need to decide what you will do with the amazing artwork that will be produced.
The Benefits of Collaborative Creating
The main benefit of Collaborative Creating is profound healing through art-making. I can describe in better detail three ways in which this occurs during one of my workshops:
#1: Collaboration and Camaraderie – When people allow themselves to let down their guard and play as if they were a kid again, nothing short of magic occurs. Faces lighten, hearts lift, and healing happens when you stick your hand in a pile of paint or glop one color on top of another. In many ways it is an experience beyond words. It triggers a deep visceral joy that young children often naturally experience when they discover the wonder of their world through sensory exploration. Because the participants are creating as a collective group, there is no individual responsibility for the outcome. They only have to put their trust in me as their facilitator, “a professional artist.” Guided by my #1 rule: YOU CAN’T DO IT WRONG, they allow themselves to join together as a group and become equals who only encourage one another during the creating process. I have a carefully crafted method and demeanor that I use during these workshops that can nurture and empower the artist inside of anyone. I delight in watching people as they begin to speak to one another the way that I speak to them. No one is left behind. Everyone soon becomes aware that the artwork will only be possible if everyone works together. A camaraderie is established from the very beginning and steadily begins to build. This lasting aspect of the workshop is often unexpected by the participants and one of their favorite parts about the experience.
#2: Healing Through Connection – This brings me to the second way that collaborative creating heals. By connecting with others in a way that transcends physical and cultural differences, participants are able to join together under a common human desire to create. As humans we were designed to be creative. It’s part of our nature. Yet, many of us have left our deeper resources of creative potential untapped. Exploring these natural gifts can bring up feelings of fear, insecurity, and intimidation. Through collaborative creating, participants have the opportunity to encourage and nurture each other. In doing so they will uncover internal courage, curiosity, and joy. As a participant in one of these workshops you will have the honor of witnessing and contributing to a creative process. Something will emerge from your collective human creative expression that no one has ever had the privilege of seeing before. It’s a thrilling opportunity. It’s like being present at a birth, only the “baby” is the art!
#3: Embracing Possibilities – Because the outcome of the final artwork is completely unpredictable, the participants have no choice but to let go of expectations. Depending on the group I may not even tell them what the final objective of the art will be. I may just give them the directive of exploring a general theme. Releasing this pressure is what frees them to embrace all the possibilities that can be experienced during the workshop. They become free to enjoy themselves, to connect with others, and to see themselves in new ways, perhaps even in ways they haven’t been able to for very long time. They can see the unlimited potential in just being who they really are. It’s a shift in perspective that may feel subtle and fleeting, but provides a peek into what is possible. It can be the beginning of an important transformation.
The Artwork We Create Together
There are many ways to leverage the final artwork for your organization. It can be displayed publicly as a symbol of your group’s philosophy or mission. You retain copyrights and you can use the image of the artwork on promotional materials, such as brochures, thank you cards, calendars, T-shirts, etc. As a former graphic and exhibit designer I can give you advice about how to leverage your workshop’s final artwork. This initial beginners’ workshop can lead to additional creative workshops and projects in the future as your organization realizes how powerful your unique team of creators can be when you embrace the principles of collaborative art.
A Detailed Example: “Faith, Hope and Love”
I facilitated a collaborative painting workshop for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. The participants were clients in a year-long addiction recovery program. We created the letters of the words on large canvases. This workshop was conduced over several days. Your workshop could be a single day event or be conducted over several days. I can customize an experience that will work best for your group. In this example, the creative work was part of their recovery therapy program so spreading the sessions out over time gave them more opportunities to explore and grow more comfortable with their creative energies. It gave them an activity they could enjoy and look forward to as they were processing their personal healing processes.
Many of the participants had little or no experience with painting, yet together we were able to create a beautiful piece of artwork that they were all extremely proud of. Even people who didn’t participate in the workshop were inspired and uplifted by the final artwork which is now permanently displayed in the cafeteria where hundreds of people see it every day.
This workshop initiated a weekly art program that I personally facilitated for several years. I can help you create a similar program for your organization by getting you started and by training a staff person of your choice to facilitate it. If you hire me for a Collaborative Paint Workshop you never know where the possibilities may take us.
Please feel free to contact me about creating a customized collaborative painting experience for your group that will create lasting memories and inspiration.