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Restorative, Resilient and Therapeutic Artistic Actions

Date: 25 April 2022

A hazy photograph of a figure walking on a beach with a mountain in the backgroundWhat comes to mind when you think of restorative, resilient and therapeutic artistic actions? What restorative, resilient and therapeutic artistic actions and activities are you doing—with intention—to enhance your life? The responses to these two questions are uniquely personal to each person reading this blog post, and they are essential as each of us moves forward—personally, professionally and artistically—following the pandemic and its effects on our lives.

I asked myself the same questions when pondering and preparing to write this blog post. It became necessary for me to deliberately capture what I was doing to move forward in restorative and resilient ways of being and with personal experiences in therapeutic artistic actions by creating a long list as a reflection. In addition to the list of what I was doing and experiencing, documentation and reflection included capturing life events in photos, as well as gaining insight and inspiration from books, podcasts, Zoom events, time with family and friends, day-to-day living with my husband and personal and professional work, travel, and play. Photos worth 1000s of words allowed me to capture—with authenticity—how my life is an artwork in progress on my path forward following the pandemic. My unique personal traditions, routines, habits, strengths and talents all factored into my daily artwork in progress. Simplifying my life in all aspects became a necessity and a mantra for daily being and thriving.

A photo of a blue and purple sky with a figure silhouetted against the sky. The figure is walking along a beach.I’ve included three photos in this blog post to help illustrate my experiences. The first two photos are of Cannon Beach, Oregon—a favorite destination for my husband and me, as well as our immediate and extended family. Being on the beach was and is restorative, resilient, therapeutic and artistic. The contrasting colors emanating in these two images are equally therapeutic in showcasing the serene scenes captured at two different times of the day. All five of my senses—sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch—were enamored while at Cannon Beach. Dancing, singing, acting, creating, making music, playing, laughing, resting, sleeping and the freedom from wearing masks and social distancing were all restorative, resilient and therapeutic artistic actions. Other restorative, resilient and therapeutic artistic actions included writing postcards to family and friends, journaling my experiences, taking lots of photographs and walking barefooted on the beach for five sunny and warm days.

A colorful brainstorm word cloud with the largest words including Music, Living, Decorating, Teaching, Arts, Husband, Simplicity, and SingThe third image is a generated word cloud of my extensive list of restorative, resilient, therapeutic and artistic actions. The more times a word is written, the larger the font appears in the word cloud image. It is evident that after spirituality and my husband, artistic actions such as singing, playing the piano, music, visual arts activities and dancing are huge priorities.

Finally, “more arts” is my response to most anything and everything, only after prayer, for health and well-being, self-care and genuine joy in life and living. My prescription for health and well-being is to daily dance, sing, act, create in the visual arts, make music and play via the artistic processes of creating, performing, presenting and responding in my living, being and doing.

What are your unique restorative, resilient and therapeutic artistic actions? Hopefully, this blog post has sparked some ideas and provided some inspiration to answering that question. Another hope from this effort is to continue this conversation with future blog posts revealing our current realities and how restorative, resilient and therapeutic artistic actions are essential in helping us on our unique journeys to being our best selves.

All photos courtesy of Dr. AnnRené Joseph

Title: 2280 Pasos Bajo un Cielo Nublado | Artist: Hernán Jourdan | Medium: Film

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits