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Reflections on Spaces & Places: Where We Create


Last week Spaces & Places: Where We Create finished up after receiving photo submissions from the art therapy community throughout the last four months. What a great response and opportunity to connect, share, and learn more about one another, art therapy, and the spaces we create in, help others, and honor our own art-making.

Below are some reflections from the project co-organizers, Magdalena Karlick, LPAT, ATR, LPCC (Southwestern College) and Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC (Art Therapy Alliance) about this community collaboration:


As I watched this project take off with weekly submissions from around the country and the world I mused over the multitude of ways creative art therapists and students create space as well as represent their spaces and materials in photographs.  The articulation of space through angle, modification of image, and perspective, was telling and varied from person to person.

Creative space can be made by anyone.

There were images of spaces where the materials were very contained, to those where materials were at the tip of a desk, seemlingly always ready to be used.

 Art can be made anywhere.

Art can be made on the floor, on a small or large table, with others or solo. It can be made with specific tools, leading to directed ends, or free form with many choices, to options in sterilized bags ready for use in a hospital environment.  I enjoyed the before and after images of art groups, the neat layout that leads to the organic mess of artful process.

 Art can be made at any time.

I also was interested in the fact that there were so many “spaces in transition,” from art in a suitcase due to lack of space, to be used at home when time allowed, to folks in between spaces, leaving out a trace amount of materials for last minute art experiences before the move.

Many inspiring techniques were shared, movement through perspective and projection onto flower pots, vinyl mandalas, scribble collages, weaving watercolor and fabric, blind folded pottery, masks, and recyclika dolls, to name a few. Inspiration oozes from people who create and share their ideas with others.  This project underlined for me the importance of sharing… sharing ideas, abilities, options, tasks, space, and art.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all those who took the time to share, to all those who took the time to look at what has been shared, and of course to all those who create with themselves and with others.  I am grateful to be a part of this community, and I look forward to reaching out in other ways in the future.

In movement and peace,



It was wonderful to watch Spaces & Places: Where We Create unfold through each digital photograph that was received for this project. My gratitude goes out to art therapists, students, and organizations that were inspired and moved to share their creative space, favorite materials, and techniques with the Art Therapy Alliance community, as well as those who participated through leaving feedback and comments about the photos submitted.  A common theme I would read with many of the submissions was an appreciation for the connection and inspiration that this fun collabortive project help create.  Yay!

Over 200 photos for this project were submitted from February-May and posted through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr.  Photos arrived from countries such as Canada, Italy, Singapore, Mexico, the US, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia, and India.  Professional practice spaces seen, included (but was not limited to) art therapists working in hospitals, schools, private practice, shelters, art studios, mental health agencies, and community based programs with groups, individuals, and families.

It was also a joy to see the photos submitted of personal creative space for art-making, and the art materials or media we use to create.  It was also lovely to see the comforting & nurturing touches besides art supplies making an appearance in many of the spaces: elements of nature, pet companionship, tea offering, lots of light, books, an inviting couch, chair, or piece of work space created or repurposed by hand. 

This collection of photos express such a sense of thoughtfulness, meaning, and passion about the work we do as art therapists, not just externally on the surface, but internally as well.

If you haven’t viewed the entire collection of this project, I invite you to enjoy the slideshow below.    My many thanks to the project’s endorsers and everyone who has contributed to this project through photo submissions and providing feedback.  

Keep creating!   -gretchen



About Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC

Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC, ACTP: Registered Board Certified Art Therapist, TLC Certified Trauma Practitioner, Art Therapy Community Organizer, Artist...


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