Sunday, October 16, 2011

That pretty much explains it....

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ancient art supplies found in South African cave

October 13, 2011 — WASHINGTON (AP) — Researchers in South Africa have discovered what may have been the world's earliest artist's studio. A 100,000-year-old workshop used to mix and store the reddish pigment ochre has been discovered in Blombos Cave on the rugged southern coast near Cape Town. At the same site, scientists have found some of the earliest sharp stone tools, as well as evidence of fishing.

The latest find is reported in Friday's edition of the journal Science. It includes pieces of ochre, grinding bowls, shells for storage and bone and charcoal to mix with the pigment. Lead researcher Christopher Henshilwood of the University of Bergen, Norway, said the find represents an important benchmark in the evolution of complex human mental processes.

The ochre could have been used for painting, decoration and skin protection, according to the researchers. The discovery shows that even at that time "humans had the conceptual ability to source, combine and store substances that were then possibly used to enhance their social practices."

Two separate tool kits for working ochre were found at the site, the researchers said. Henshilwood, who is also affiliated with the South Africa's University of Witwatersrand, said in a statement that researchers believe that pieces of ochre were rubbed on rock to make a fine red powder, and that was mixed with crushed bone, charcoal, stone chips and a liquid. The mixture was put into abalone shells and stirred with a bone.

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SoulCollage® and Art Therapy

After seeing Seena Frost speak at the AATA conference in Sacramento (2010), was looking forward to learning how the SoulCollage® technique worked, but all the trainings are out of state. Thankfully, PATA is hosting a workshop this month:

October 22, 2011 11:00 AM-1:00 PM

Karen Baer, MA, ATR-BC sponsored by Potomac Art TherapyAssociation (PATA) and the George Washington University Graduate Art Therapy Program.

(2 CEC’s available, free for PATA members, $10 administrative fee for non-members*)

Workshop will be held after the October PATA Board Meeting held 10:00 -11:00 AM. The meeting agenda is posted on the PATA website.

The Potomac Art Therapy Association (PATA is an approved NBCC provider (#6500).

For more information about the workshop and to view the objectives please visit the PATA website.

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

"Absent" and Art Therapy

A documentary called "Absent" - which covers the epidemic of absentee fathers (not just physically, but emotionally and mentally) and its effects on their children through interviews - came to my attention. I thought it would relate well with my adolescent clients, so I showed it in one of my art therapy groups and then had them create art in direct response to it. It appeared to have a powerful reaction as they reflected in art and shared with the other group members. The group members gave me permission to share their art and reflections anonymously (click here to see them). This is a great film to share in your practice with those clients who can relate to this topic, and pairing the processing with art can really start a dialogue to work through this difficult issue.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Art therapy program helps people with physical disabilities

It's nice to see art therapy being used - and highlighted - in my hometown of Tulsa!

Melissa Dickerson joined the Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges
for physical therapy three years ago and stayed for the art programs.
MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World

by: MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
10/4/2011 9:17:25 AM

Melissa Dickerson discovered the therapeutic side of art by chance.

Because of her multiple sclerosis, Dickerson went from being able to walk to using a wheelchair and is now somewhere in between, relying on her chair most of the time. Three years ago her neurologist recommended that she go to the Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges for physical therapy, something her insurance wouldn't cover.

"I came for the physical therapy and stayed for the art," she said.

The nonprofit center offers a wide range of wellness, recreational programs and rehabilitative services for people with physical challenges. About 40 students participate in a variety of arts programs, said Janice Bawden, a visual arts instructor. "It adds meaning to life. That's especially important with people with physical challenges because they may not be able to participate in activities as they had in the past," Bawden said.

The center's art programs include art history, painting, sculpting, stained glass, ceramics and open studio time. Dickerson, who had never painted before going to the center, spends about four days a week working on art projects. Without the program, "a lot of my friends here would be staying at home having a pity party," she said. "You feel worse and worse when you focus on what feels bad. This program really means a lot to me."

The students' works of art are displayed in the studio and are for sale. The art is also sold at the center's annual Holiday Mart and area arts festivals. "When you're on a fixed income, it's nice to have that little extra money to go out and eat," Dickerson said. "When you can't work for a living, you start feeling kind of worthless. "It's nice to feel worthwhile again," she said.

One of the newest programs at the center is "neurobics," a brain fitness and training class using Posit Science software that focuses on two separate areas: auditory and visual. The different exercises help with working memory, concentration and alertness. "It helps with brain plasticity, opening new pathways," said Margie Crossno, program and volunteer services coordinator. "The program really helps our members who have suffered a stroke, head injury or trauma." Crossno said it can help with remembering sequences and make it easier to carry on a conversation.

The class is getting positive feedback. "I really like it. For me it's really challenging," Victoria Baker said. "I like the challenge." Baker was in a motorcycle accident when she was 19 and suffered a traumatic brain injury, said her mother, Rhondelle Blankenship. "She has a lot of physical handicaps but feels trapped inside her brain," Blankenship said. Blankenship said she moved her daughter here from Colorado just for the programs at the center and called the effect it has had on the 27-year-old "amazing." "She was deeply depressed. Now she's made friends, her attitude has changed and she's excited to come here every day," she said. "Even my attitude has changed."


About the center

The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges, 815 S. Utica Ave., has enabled thousands of people with disabilities to increase their physical capabilities since opening in 1957.

Qualification for membership:

  • A person's primary disability must involve a mobility, dexterity or sensory impairment.
  • The person must have sufficient functional capabilities to participate independently in center activities.
  • If a person needs assistance while participating in activities, he or she must provide his or her own personal assistant.

Annual membership and class fees are based on a sliding scale.

For more information, call 918-584-8607 or go to

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Monday, October 03, 2011

So, what if Dr. Kevorkian had art therapy.....?

Dr. Jack Kevorkian's art,

belongings to be sold

September 30, 2011 — DETROIT (AP) — Paintings, writings and the iconic blue sweater of assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian are going up for auction, his attorney and close friend said Friday.

Lawyer Mayer Morganroth said the late pathologist's artwork and items will be sold in late October at the New York Institute of Technology. Scheduled for auction are more than 20 paintings, Kevorkian's art kit and the sweaters he became known for donning during his high-profile assistance in the suicides of dozens of people in the 1990s.

Many of the paintings depict death or dying, and are often intended to provoke or disturb. One of those up for auction is entitled "Genocide," and features a bloody head being dangled by the hair and held by the hands of two soldiers. One wears a German military uniform from World War II and the other a Turkish uniform from World War I.

Morganroth said Kevorkian wanted to depict the mass killings of Armenians and Jews during World I and World War II, respectively. The doctor was of Armenian descent. "Just looking at it, you can say (it's) grotesque," Morganroth said. "They were to make a point, like any art."

CBS Detroit first reported the auction plan. Morganroth said he doesn't know the value of the collection but most of the proceeds will go to Kevorkian's sole heir — a niece — and the charity Kicking Cancer for Kids. Morganroth said the timing was right to sell the items, since there was interest from several auction houses and the broader art world, as well as a desire to settle the estate.

The Associated Press left a message seeking comment with the New York Institute of Technology. Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999, and was released from prison in 2007. He died in June at the age of 83.

Suburban Detroit art gallery owner Anne Kuffler, who has twice displayed Kevorkian's work and sells signed and numbered lithographs of six of his works for $500 apiece, said she was offered $100,000 for one of his original paintings during the first exhibit of his work in 1994. Kuffler, owner of the Ariana Gallery in Royal Oak, suspects that the value has only increased since then.

"I had several orders for his prints this morning," she said. Kuffler recalled an argument with Kevorkian, who painted the frame of "Genocide" with his own blood and wanted to have a skeleton with an IV flowing through it next to the painting.

"He said, 'I want to show how horrible it is, I want people to be upset by it,'" Kuffler said. "I said, 'If you haven't portrayed it in your painting, then you haven't succeeded.'" Many of the paintings have been hanging at the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, Mass., which also has a collection of his compositions and writings. Kevorkian was also a keen musician and composer.

"I think the legacy is showing the many facets of him and his capabilities," Morganroth said. "He was a multi-talented man."

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