When and where did you receive your degree? May 2015 from the George Washington University
What drew you to the field? I have always been an artist. After receiving my bachelors in fine arts and after working several different kinds of art jobs (from welding to preschool photography to mold making for a taxidermy company) I always felt like something was missing. Recognizing my two passions were/art art and wanting to help people in some way led me immediately to researching the field of art therapy. I literally applied to UNC Chapel Hill the following day to complete my pre-requisites to get into a master’s program for art therapy. As I got closer to grad school, everything started to make sense and fall into place. Being in a graduate program continued to confirm and reassure me that this (art therapy) is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. This is how I can be a changing piece in the world.
What kind of work are you doing currently? (location, type of client, etc) I have started my own small business: Creative Spark Art Therapy of NC: a community practice. I am based in Chapel Hill, NC but work in lots of surrounding areas (Durham, Hillsborough, Raleigh, Pittsboro). I provide art therapy groups and workshops through community centers, retirement communities, assisted living facilities, rehab facilities, hospitals, and I also have some individuals I meet with working in places that suit the client, like places of worship or in-home. I work with all ages, mostly adults and seniors on issues from navigating life transitions, coping and living with dementia and Alzheimer’s to tapping into expression, engaging creativity, mental illness, and always empowering individuals. I also offer wellness, enrichment, and/or stress relief groups for staff, caregivers, other professionals, and college students. I also take every opportunity possible to educate people about the field of art therapy, for example the Annual Senate’s Health & Wellness Fair for Senators, staff, and interns. Locally, I’ve recently participated in a Total Brain Health Fair for seniors in a retirement community. I’m always networking, finding other individuals, groups, organizations that are interested in being a part of empowering people in our communities. I stay busy and love every minute of it!
Are you creating your own art? Favorite media? Inspiration? I am working with a lot of fabrics, using them in collages and also I’ve been exploring weaving long strips on a circular loom (hula hoops work great!) to make mandala weavings. I am also part of an art exchange between other art therapists that is making its way around the country! I love installation art, the kind where people can interact with, walk through, touch, an experience that engages the senses we tend to neglect on a daily basis. Perhaps it’s the seasons changing, but I’m drawn back to Andy Goldsworthy’s work. He inspires me to continue to engage in nature in ways that keep me aware and mindful of my environment. And I love getting muddy!
What do you like to do in your free time? Free time is something I don’t get a ton of, but when I do, I use it to recharge. You can find me outdoors whether it’s hanging in a hammock or hiking the trails of Duke Forest with my partner and dog. I love cooking, it’s always been a connecting and bonding experience with family. And I love movies. I happen to live very close to two theaters, so that works out!
What are your hopes for art therapy in North Carolina? I’m a huge proponent of collaboration between art therapists, other mental healthcare and healthcare providers, social workers, you name it! When we network and work together, we are more able to be effective advocates for those we serve. I have great hopes for NC’s art therapy tribe: to grow, connect, and help support the growth of each other and the field, including getting licensure and title protection for art therapists. I’d love to have art therapy programs (or at least some courses) into the colleges and universities scattered all over our amazing state.
Anything else? (favorite quote, etc) I am very grateful to my family for always being supportive, my partner Beth and my parents who taught me to believe in myself and “always treat people how you would want to be treated.”
contact information: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or visit my website: www.creativesparknc.com I love to connect!