The 2013 “Canvasas for Cambodia” Finished Mandala Paintings: A Huge Thank you to the Community for your Support!

After 48 hours of brush strokes completed by Naropa faculty, students, friends, donors, and the greater community, the final incarnations of the Mandalas are here to stay.  Through generous support from our community, we have reached $21,988, which will send the 2014 art therapy team to Cambodia.  Through this service-learning project, we will be working with our partner organizations primarily serving women and children who have been sex-trafficked.  This is an opportunity for us to share trauma-informed art therapy practices to an under-served population in Cambodia while learning about this beautiful culture.  A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us in turning this dream in to a reality!   We appreciate each and every one of you so much.

Please take a moment to see the final Mandalas created by each team and come to the Paramita Campus at Naropa to see these gorgeous 7’X7′ paintings that are infused with layers of creative expression from all of our painters!

The Helping Hands:

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The Sunbeams:

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The Creative Crusaders:

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Also, any donation is accepted!    Thank you all so very much for your continued support for NCAS-I and those who help make this trip happen each year.  We are grateful.

Paintings via the 2014 Team’s and all involved!

Compiled by Aiya Staller

Photos courtesy of Sue Wallingford.

 

Student Blog Entry: Healing trauma through art-based interventions

“Healing trauma through art-based interventions”

By Emily Seagrave

One of the most exciting opportunities for me as an emerging counselor and art therapist is the practice of designing treatment plans and art-based interventions to be utilized and shared with our partner organizations in Cambodia this spring. Because the Naropa Community Art Studio-International will be partnering with organizations that work on a daily basis with individuals who have experienced trauma, our interventions require us to skillfully integrate trauma-informed practices. Eager to brainstorm ideas, I have spent some time researching Trauma-Informed Art Therapy® and potential art-based interventions. A few preliminary questions guided my research and directed me toward the intervention featured. Note: While the intervention featured may not be appropriate for all populations who have experienced trauma, my hope is that this post will offer some insight into how art can help to heal trauma.

What is trauma and what effects does trauma have on an individual? In general, traumatic events involve threats made to the integrity of an individual’s life or body, or an encounter with death or violence that is both close and personal. Herman (1997) explains that traumatic events have the power to evoke helplessness and terror and result in changes to physiological arousal, emotion, cognition, and memory that are profound and lasting. Further, traumatic events compromise an individual’s sense of control, connection, and meaning.

How might such an experience manifest in an individual? According to Herman (1997), “The traumatized person may experience intense emotion but without clear memory of the event, or may remember everything in detail but without emotion. She may find herself in a constant state of vigilance and irritability without knowing why” (p. 34). In other words, the symptoms of trauma tend to become disconnected from the source and assume a “life of their own” (Herman, 1997, p. 34).

What role does art therapy play? Words or verbal narrative cannot describe the traumatic memories because they are experienced and remembered through vivid sensations and images (Steele & Malchiodi, 2012). Art therapy, on the other hand, allows for the trauma narrative to be processed through nonverbal expression (Malchiodi, 2005, 2008, as cited in Steele & Malchiodi, 2012). Even more, Malchiodi (2011a) explains that the sensory qualities – kinesthetic, auditory, and visual – of expressive approaches like art therapy are especially beneficial when working with trauma symptoms because of their relationship to neurological functioning and neurodevelopment (as cited in Steele & Malchiodi, 2012). Ultimately, as Steele (2003) elucidates, the goal of therapy for traumatized individuals is to encode the traumatic memory, express it through language, and successfully integrate it. However, the traumatic memory must first be retrieved and indirectly symbolized through the external means of art (as cited in Steele & Malchiodi, 2012). This essential step of externalization through art can be achieved through a creative therapeutic process called “body scan,” a somatically based art intervention briefly introduced below.

Body Scan: A Somatically Based Art Intervention

How does a body scan work? Body scan is based on Peter Levine’s “Somatic Experiencing.” It essentially combines bodily experience with visual artistic expression. An individual is asked to relax and imagine scanning one’s body from feet to torso to arms to head, noticing any sensations of discomfort, anxiety, or other distressing emotions. The individual is presented with an outline of a body (or has his or her own body outlined) and is asked to use drawing materials to indicate on the body outline any sensations noted during the body scan through lines, shapes, colors, or images (Malchiodi, 2008; Steele & Raider, 2002, as cited in Malchiodi & Rozum, 2012).

What is the goal of body scan? One goal is to help the individual visually express implicit sensations and to identify where any feelings of discomfort are felt in the body. To follow-up, the individual may be asked to add additional lines, shapes, colors, or images to the outline that might help reduce the discomfort in the body. Ideally, the individual can see both where he or she is holding trauma in the body and where resources are in the body. The ultimate goal of body scan is to assist the individual in understanding how trauma affects the body and to teach that trauma reactions are actually a physical response to stressful situations (Malchiodi, 2008; Steele & Raider, 2002, as cited in Malchiodi & Rozum, 2012).

If you are interested in learning more, watch the video above by Art2BeArt for Positive Living and Social Change – a group of Kenyan and International visual artists and therapists that uses what has been termed “body mapping,” a creative therapeutic process similar to “body scan,” in their work with marginalized groups. Through “body scan” or “body mapping,” you can see how individuals are able to externalize somatic and emotional experience, make meaning with symbolic representation through creative expression, and develop a tangible image that reconnects the different aspects of their being, all of which are key goals of trauma-informed art therapy and goals I hope our partners can work toward with help from the art-based interventions we share.

Herman, J. L. (1997). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence – from domestic abuse to political terror. New York, NY: BasicBooks.

Malchiodi, C & Rozum, A. L. (2012). Cognitive behavioral and mind-body approaches. In Malchiodi, C. (Ed.), Handbook of art therapy (89-102). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Steele, W. & Malchiodi, C. (2012). Trauma-informed practices with children and adolescents. New York, NY: Routledge.

[PHOTOS] from the 2nd Annual Matchbox Art Auction Gala

Please enjoy these photos from the 2013 Small Resources = Big Possibilities Event! We made nearly $8,000 with your support!

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Photos by Jessica Sabo…stay tuned for more!

 

Student Blog Entry: Raising Funds and Raising Awareness – The Work Before the Work

“Raising Funds and Raising Awareness – The Work Before the Work”

by Emily Wilson

I am so incredibly excited, and perhaps just now realizing, that we are going to Cambodia to learn, to serve, to share our skills, and to build relationship.  That may seem strange, as this blog and project have been going on for over a year, a group of students already went and I had been accepted for this project months ago.  But for me, it is just becoming real.  So much preparation has been going on; learning about Cambodia and Trauma-Informed Art Therapy®, exploring cultural humility, discussing ethics, getting vaccines, figuring out the schedule logistics and NGOs that we will be partnering with, participating in community awareness events, and raising funds.  It is hard to believe that in less than two months, we will be on the plane to Cambodia getting ready to embark on a life changing experience.

So, how do we pay for the plane tickets, the art supplies to bring, the accommodation for students and supervisors while we are there?  The answer – A lot of hard work and all of you!   I began getting involved with NCAS-I at the beginning of 2012.  I helped serve in the role as Project Manger to organize the 2012 Art Auction Gala, then the 2012 Painting Marathon and now this year’s Art Auction Gala.  It took a dedicated and tireless body of student volunteers, community members, and faculty and staff to coordinate, and take responsibility for all of the moving parts to create these successful fundraisers.  Since the start of this project less than two years ago, we have held over 30 formal 2-4 hours meeting and countless one-off meetings, over 500 individually tracked tasks our control log, enough funds raised to ‘pay it forward’ to sponsor the next year’s trip each year, over 300 volunteers, 250 artists donating matchboxes, and numerous in-kind donations including entertainment, food and drink.

So, why do we do this?  Perhaps if each person took the countless hours invested to work a part time job, we could raise the same amount, or even more funds towards the trip. I have three answers for this:  

1. It builds community – This year’s trip will be undertaken by a group of ten students and two supervisors.  Through our time together and especially our time working hard to create these events, we are building cohesiveness in our group.  A sense of community, togetherness, with each member having an active and contributing role helps to describe group cohesiveness (Corey, Corey & Corey, 2010, Yalom & Leszc, 2005).  I am learning through our process of hard work that I can count on each person, I am seeing others’ many strengths, and I feel we are creating a bond that will hopefully serve us well as we embark on this adventure.

2. It brings awareness – These events also bring awareness to the community and create an environment for dialogue; about sex trafficking, about international work and cultural humility, about the ethics involved, about working with fair trade organizations and orphanages, about sending collective prayers and wishes for peace.  And in addition to the fund-raising events, we participate in many other community awareness events, such as the Longmont Street Festival, at which we talked about this project, and created prayer flags as a symbol for hopes and wishes.  NCAS-I members also spoke about their 2012 trip at a community event and spoke at a Naropa Board meeting to bring awareness within the Naropa Community.  We participated in CU’s Eye Contact event, which was specifically geared towards the issues of human trafficking.  We participated in Art Therapy workshops at BMOCA, a sex trafficking symposium with Transitions, spoke on KGNU, had a feature in Naropa Magazine and the Daily Camera, the Boulder Weekly and more!  We are sparking a dialogue and trying to bring a moment for discussion wherever we go.

3. It is FUN! Each event I participated in and even the work up to the event was FUN!  We laugh, we have exciting events, we create together, we eat great food, we express gratitude and it is super fun.  Rather than write anymore, I have included these pictures to express my sentiment.

References

Corey C., Corey J., & Corey M. (2010). Groups: Process and practice (8th ed.). Brooks/Cole: Belmont, CA.

Yalom, I & Leszcz, M. (2005). The Theory and practice of group psychotherapy. Basic Books: Cambridge, MA.

Student Blog Entry: The Transformational Power of Art

“The Transformational Power of Art”

By Lisa Lamoreaux

The 2nd Annual Matchbox Art Auction Gala is just around the corner, and our team is busy preparing for the event. I get more and more excited with each matchbox coming in. I am amazed and inspired by the creativity of the artists. Inspecting them closely, I see the tiny masterpieces as a snapshot into the artist’s personal universe. Each box becomes its own world, with its own story that is unique to the artist’s hand that created it. All the pieces are so different, and yet, all connected through their humble beginnings as a matchbox. A matchbox turned into something more – a beautiful piece of art that will be auctioned off at this year’s gala.

When thinking of the incredible matchbox transformations, I am reminded of something I read in preparation for our upcoming trip to Cambodia. Herbert (2012) talks about finding in the galleries and shops of Cambodia, works of art and jewelry crafted from the metal of old, deactivated landmines. Herbert (2012) describes these pieces of jewelry and art as being proof of the possibilities to transform traumatic experiences through art. When reading this, I was struck by the Cambodian people’s resiliency. They are literally taking pieces of their traumatic, war torn history and turning it into something beautiful. They are using art to rewrite the stories and reclaim their culture. By doing this, the people of Cambodia are integrating their experiences and healing from societal trauma.

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“Hanging Love Charm” by Merryl Rothaus

Many of the people we will be working with in Cambodia have experienced trauma on both a historical and a personal level. We are going there to offer art therapy as a tool to heal these traumas. It is also important to remember that the Cambodian people are the experts of their experiences, and that we are going there to learn from them.

In 2011 a group of people were inspired to expand Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS) to include international work (NCAS-I). The dream started with $50 dollars that bought 500 matchboxes. Those matchboxes were transformed into masterpieces, and auctioned off to raise funds at our first Matchbox Art Auction Gala. The gala was such a success that we decided to do it again. The 2013 service-learning trip to Cambodia is made possible through the support of our community coming together and donating time and money. Please join us for the 2nd Annual Matchbox Art Auction Gala, April 12, 2013, from 7 to 10pm for a fun-filled night of art and entertainment.

MatcboxGala_INVITE-Final (3)

Herbert, C. (2012). Integration of arts therapy and traditional Cambodian arts and rituals in recovering from political-societal trauma In D. Kalmanowitz, J. Potash & S. Chan (Eds.), Art therapy in Asia: To bone or wrapped in silk (pp. 209-220). Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Student Blog Entry: The Ethics of Matchbox Art

“The Ethics of Matchbox Art”

By James Huffman

As part of our preparation for our work in Cambodia we have been exploring ethical issues related to the field of art therapy. Our beacon through this, sometimes cloudy area, has been Bruce Moon’s (2006) work, Ethical Issues in Art Therapy, which does an excellent job highlighting various perspectives and providing scenarios for consideration. As prepared as we may feel, however, for whatever ethical dilemmas we may encounter, there will always be situations which fall outside our textbooks and where we will have to exercise our best judgment.

One such situation occurred several weeks ago at a youth matchbox art making party at Sterling Drive Studios. It was the end of the night and we had just begun the tedious work of deciding which scraps of paper and fabric were large enough to keep and which to throw away, whether it is worth it to fish those 7 beads out of the dustpan or should we toss the whole mess… We had given the artists the option of either donating their matchboxes at the end of the night or keeping them and had received several donations. In the chaos of cleanup, some of the donated matchboxes were placed on the same table as scraps and other materials to be sorted. One piece of matchbox art was particularly confusing – several crumpled pieces of paper drizzled in hot glue with matchsticks stuck seemingly at random throughout it. Initially thinking this to be trash, I threw it in the garbage with the other used and discarded materials. When later I saw it back on the table, I was told it was a donated matchbox with a $1,000 price tag (artists are allowed to suggest a minimum bid for their work).

After cleanup we began packing the donated matchboxes for travel and faced the decision of what to do with the cup. In all likelihood, the extravagant pricetag was a joke and the $1,000 minimum bid would not be met. We would then have to make arrangements after the Gala to return the matchbox to the artist, creating more work for ourselves. So do we keep it?

I believe the answer is yes. As art therapists it is important to define the playing field and stick to the boundaries we set, especially in work with youth and adolescents where conflicts over boundaries are more likely to occur (Santrock, 2010). Boundaries can be reassessed as we go, but they should not be applied retroactively. In this instance we had not provided any boundaries around what the matchbox art should look like or what the minimum bids should be. There is also the possibility that the artist is an aspiring trash sculptor – the likes of HA Schult – and honestly believes their work is worth $1,000. We can’t really know. All we know for certain is that the artist created a unique piece of art, then took the time to fill out a donation form and it is up to us to honor that donation.

Santrock, J. (2010). Lifespan Development. New York: McGraw-Hill

*details have been changed to protect the identity of the artist

NCAS-I Forms Partnership with Lotus Outreach!

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We are thrilled to announce our new Partnership with Lotus Outreach, and the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, which we will be joining forces with for our service learning trip in May. We will be working specifically with their Counseling and Reintegration Program that provides a safe haven for victims of violence and the sex trafficking industry,to bring art therapy training and interventions to their organization. It is an exiting new possibility and one we hope grows as we work together to heal the effects of physical and sexual trauma that such heinous crimes bring.

To learn more about this organization and their Counseling and Reintegration program you can visit their webpage at Lotus Outreach.

Lotus Outreach is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to ensuring the education, health and safety of at-risk and exploited women and children in the developing world. Lotus Outreach achieves its mission by supporting the development of grassroots projects in vulnerable communities. By working with local people and organizations, Lotus Outreach ensures the local ownership, cultural relevance and cost effectiveness of each project.

Originally established to support refugee education, Lotus Outreach now also helps rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking and keep at-risk students in school.

Student Blog Entry: On Preparing

“On Preparing”

By Erin Shannon, 2nd year Art Therapy student and NCAS-I member

There are twelve of us preparing to embark on the next trip to Cambodia. Though many individuals have been fundraising and organizing together for over two years, this semester marks the first time we officially come together as a group to begin preparation for the journey.

I think we are fortunate to be dedicating an entire semester to learning about trauma-informed art therapy, Cambodian culture, and the meaning of responsible service learning abroad. I am inspired by Daniela Papi who encourages Learning Service, which puts an emphasis on learning before being able to serve. I am indeed steeping myself in knowledge and humility, aware we will learn tremendously from the women and children we intend to serve. What we will bring in exchange is our knowledge of art therapy as a powerful means of self-care and healing.

As a way to nurture our future selves, we wrote letters that we will open once we are working in Cambodia.

letters

Is there something you would say to the you of the future? Is there anything you think the future you needs to hear? Pondering these questions, I am reminded of Pema Chödrön’s words,

There are no promises. When we are training in the art of peace, we are not given any promises that because of our noble intentions everything will be okay. In fact, there are no promises of fruition at all.

Instead, we are encouraged to simply look deeply at joy and sorrow, at laughing and crying, at hoping and fearing, at all that lives and dies. We learn that what truly heals is gratitude and tenderness.

With a tender heart and huge amount of gratitude, I am gathering resources in excited anticipation of all that is to come.

A video of Daniela Papi speaking about learning service:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oYWl6Wz2NB8

Beautiful SIGHTS and SOUNDS coming from the Painting Marathon! 9 1/2 hours to go…

 

 

The NCAS-I teams and community support here at the Nalanda Art Studio are still going strong on this BEAUTIFUL Sunday morning…

Stay tuned for the Closing Ceremony tonight and the unveiling of the final paintings.  If you’re in the area, please join us from 7-9 p.m. tonight for a fun time and the grand finale!  

As always, THANK YOU for your support!  We’ve raised close to $11,000!  http://www.crowdrise.com/paintingmarathon2012

Boulder’s Daily Camera Highlights the Naropa Community Art Studio

Boulder’s local newspaper highlights the role the Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS) plays in both the local and international community.

“In this community art studio, students from Naropa, Boulder’s Buddhist-inspired university, act as mentors in what educators hope gives them the foundation to develop as socially engaged artists.”

The Naropa Community Art Studio-International (NCAS-I) grew out of this original model and both continue to flourish through community support.  Thank you, Boulder!

Read the FULL ARTICLE by Brittany Anas at the link below:

http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_21866835?source=rss