"In all Spiritual activity, including artistic creation we are strengthening and developing the core of our being, our spiritual individuality."

- From "Art as Spiritual Activity" by Rudolf Steiner and Michael Howard

Group Dynamics

"Open Door Studio"

For individuals living with the challenge of mental illness
and who are more dissociated and alienated from engagement in life

The "Open Door Studio" therapeutic art program offers an opportunity to people who would like to explore their creative abilities but who are unable to commit to a more structured process as described in "Meeting Life's Challenges". It has been specifically created for those challenged with mental illness, dissociation and alienation.

The intention of this program is to gradually reconnect each person with a sense of self, of others and, hopefully, with life itself by engaging them in an artistic activity that nourishes the creative spirit and gives a feeling of personal accomplishment.

Using the medium of wet on wet watercolour, the participators are free to choose their own colours each week creating however many paintings they want in the three-hour time frame. With the paintings as a 'safe' focal point, the individuals are then encouraged to open up and express themselves, which begins the process of overcoming alienation. We view each other's paintings from different perspectives - without judgment, criticism or psychoanalysis - identifying and sharing the forms (thoughts) and the qualities (feelings) we see emerging in each one. Directing attention in this way strengthens the ability to re-associate with something created from within and yet now visually expressed outwardly in an art piece.

In order to change the old patterns of dissociation, this program would best be done on an ongoing basis with a break of 4 weeks in between. Continuity is essential while the 'breaks' would encourage independence from the process. From prior experience with the "Open Door Studio", the people who participate each week vary - coming and going as their moods change. Knowing that the classes are on-going and can be re-engaged in at any time would be most beneficial in furthering the intentions of this process.

A coordinator would also be necessary to follow the progress of each individual during the course of the classes as well as during the break and observations would be shared throughout the process.

Sessions:

You provide a space* for a maximum of 6 people. The sessions are two to three hours long once a week - with an hour set up time and approximately an hour cleanup time. Individuals come as they are able to explore creative expression.

Fee: Flexible depending on the circumstances of the people involved and whether the classes will be ongoing or for an 8-week period of time only.
*(Details of space and material requirements to be discussed)