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

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Photos taken by Monica Kovach…thank you, Monica!

[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.


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.

2012 PAINTING MARATHON: Exciting News on the Way!

We are carefully calculating the donation numbers from the 2012 PAINTING MARATHON to determine the TOP THREE DONORS and the recipients of the FINAL THREE PAINTINGS.  PLEASE STAY TUNED!  We cannot wait to share the exciting news!



With sincere gratitude,

The Naropa Community Art Studio-International (NCAS-I)

The Beauty Found in Trusting the Process

Team Dinosaurus Rex on their process oriented approach to the 48 Hour Painting Marathon:

“For our painting, Team Dinosaurus Rex took a heavily process oriented approach. This focus on process led to a theme emerging and evolving, but staying relatively the same throughout most of the painting marathon.  Some of the first marks included a sketchy image of a dinosaur.  That dinosaur changed and evolved throughout the marathon, but never disappeared.  Within the first six hours a tree emerged.  The tree went through many transformations throughout the 48 hours, finally serving as a space for our team of painters to represent their personal symbols in.  The final product is a collaborative piece that has captured snapshots of all the hands that have lovingly contributed to it.  With little to no direction our community of painters created a beautiful and intriguing image, an image that the viewers can look at for hours finding little secrets hidden within.  Our piece is evidence that beauty can be found in trusting the process.” 

AND…Last week to donate!

We’re approaching the last week of fundraising, so if you would still like to donate to the Painting Marathon and support the mission of the Naropa Community Art Studio-International, follow this link!  An anonymous donor will be matching all donations made through November 25, up to $1,000, so NOW IS THE TIME!

THANK YOU from the NCAS-I!

The Evolution of a Painting: TIME LAPSE and Snapshots from the 48-Hour Marathon!

Check out this cool time lapse video of the evolution of Team Soaring Hearts’ Painting for the 48 Hour Painting Marathon!


The talented Dave Meas generously volunteered his time to take photographs throughout the Painting Marathon.  Check out his photographs on Flickr here!

Team Dinosaurus Rex:  Final Painting

Team Tutulicious Animalz:  Final Painting

Time lapse video courtesy of Erin Shannon…thank you, Erin!  

STAY TUNED for a Recap of the Marathon!

For now, we want you all to know that WE DID IT!  We had an AMAZING show of support leading up to and during the 48 Painting Marathon and have raised over $12,000 AND COUNTING!  The event resulted in three stunning, community created paintings and a studio filled with passion for an incredible mission.  We could not have done it without you…


With love and gratitude,

The Naropa Community Art Studio-International

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

The 48-Hour Painting Marathon: It’s here! ARE YOU READY?

These little guys are!  They spent the afternoon at Nalanda Studio yesterday getting into the spirit…and YOU SHOULD, TOO!

Come join us tonight for the Opening Ceremony at 9:00 p.m.!  Our AMAZING MC for the opening and closing ceremony, Jenna Noah, will be helping us to get the weekend started.  We’re also looking forward to a fun line-up of entertainment to complement the 48 hours of painting…

Lonnie Lee Comer with Acoustic Bluegrass, The Drumantics with Drumming, Neptune’s Only Daughter with Groove Rock, Maryalma with Singing and Guitar, Sam Rae with Improvisational Cello Looping, Greg Hansen with Drumming, Paul Kimbiris, Ghost Dreams, and a special talk by local artist Sally Eckert

If you can’t make it to the event, please consider showing your support by making a donation.  We’ve raised $10,000 so far and could not have done it without your support:  http://www.crowdrise.com/paintingmarathon2012
THANK YOU from the NCAS-I!

The Painting Marathon PAINTINGS: What It Takes To Get There!

The upcoming Naropa Community Art Studio-International (NCAS-I) 48 PAINTING MARATHON culminates with the completion of three UNIQUE and collaboratively created works of art.  This requires a thoughtful proposal by each of the team’s captains to ensure intentions and outcomes that parallel the mission of the NCAS-I.  Below is a beautiful example of the energy our teams are putting into this project…

The Soaring Hearts Painting Proposal

We want to continue working with the image of a winged heart.  This is a potent image symbolizing our sincere offering of love, strength, and support both locally and globally. The painting will begin with a skeleton of our intended image, an anatomically correct heart with wings.

It is our responsibility to inform, not control, the artwork. We will clearly state and restate our intention behind the painting as a way to inform the work of our team.  THE INTENTION: Through this art we offer a chorus of support and healing for women and girls involved in sex trafficking and all those who serve them. 

We will paste words, images and poetry on the wall around our canvas as a way to provide inspiration and intention setting.  The image above is only one of many.

Painters will be free to express support for our service learning work in whatever creative voice they choose.  There is no way to preserve all of this art, so our compromise is to preserve parts of it, specifically as layers of feathers on the wings.

At either the beginning or end of every 3-hour shift, painters will place masks on the canvas in the shape of feathers.  This will be done with tape, a cardboard or plastic feather shape, or masking fluid (we can offer all three and let each artist choose how they want to do it).

We envision a beautiful layering of stylized imagery constituting the wings of the heart.

During the final shift team captains will help integrate all the layers of artwork, which will include finalizing the heart in the center, creating cohesion in the wings, and fine-tuning the background and border.

We will provide each painter with a small winged heart print to offer our gratitude for their participation and a token to remember.


We believe strongly in making an effort to preserve the work of a community of hands and voices that will go into this painting. Through their artwork, painters essentially have the opportunity to put prayers onto the canvas. We want to uphold and respect these offerings, as well as honor the creative process over product, in alignment with the principles of art therapy.

As artists, we do not want to sacrifice the integrity of a process that allows for spontaneity, honesty and synchronicity.


To create a rich, deeply layered, and well integrated piece of art that anyone would be delighted and honored to win at an auction.

To clearly communicate to painters our plan and the process so they know what our final vision is from the start, and that we hope to include each of their unique voices. Also to inform them that it will be impossible to preserve every bit of what they paint.

To generate fun and excitement about the work we are starting to do in Cambodia, as well as create a stress-free experience for painters and team captains. 

To raise awareness around the problem of sex trafficking and our hopes for rehabilitation and healing.

To inspire and empower a community of artists, a community of support for this project, and to facilitate more awareness of social action art therapy.  

Photo courtesy of The Soaring Hearts

We look forward to this amazing community event where we can all put paintbrushes and paint to canvas to raise awareness for, empower, and heal survivors of sex-trafficking and those who have been affected by trauma.  Thank you for your support, and if we don’t have the pleasure of seeing you at the event, we know you are all with us in spirit.