A very warm welcome to you!
My Journey Into Expressive Arts Facilitation
I was lucky enough to gain experiential knowledge of the healing power of art in my job as an art educator. For 30 years I have taught art to students from the kindergarten to college levels. I witnessed the healing power of art for individuals who needed a cathartic release as well as a place to safely express and release emotion through personal expressive art-making. An art space can often be a much-needed haven for those who enjoy (or need) personal expression.
Eight years ago, while working full-time as a high school art teacher at Northside High School, I opened my small business Artworks. I was inspired to create a warm, welcoming space that was not only a teaching space but also a sanctuary for those who were drawn to the healing power of art. I recently retired as a public school art educator, and I am thrilled to be at Artworks full time!
What is an Expressive Arts Facilitator?
An expressive arts facilitator creates and curates reparative, meaning-making creative modalities for people that allow them to imagine and re-write their narratives. The facilitator may or may not have credentials in therapy or counseling. The art processes that we will work with can lead the client to create artwork that becomes imbued with meaning-making or symbols and encourages emotional restoration, healing and release. The facilitator witnesses, guides, converses, and encourages the creative process, but does not offer therapy. The facilitator is trained in art and expressive arts modalities. An art therapist is trained in both art and clinical counseling and therapy. They work in a clinical practice and have knowledge of a wide variety of psychological theories and research. Therapy involves working with a trained clinician to address specific behavioral or relationship problems, social issues or personal trauma.
My name is Sara M. Gant, and I am an artist, art educator, and therapeutic art facilitator.
I am an approved vendor with Trillium.
Art, Mental Health, and the Brain
"The Journey is the Destination"
I am deeply passionate about facilitating intuitive, spontaneous, emotional art-making that promotes well-being. Creating therapeutic, expressive art means that we might involve clay, music, or poetry, book-making, sculpture, or any number of myriad approaches. The end result is not always a "pretty" piece of artwork, although if it is beautiful that's a nice benefit! Artist and visual journal creator Dan Eldon said that "the journey is the destination". We create expressive, meaning-laden work, whether in a small group session or a one on one session. It is the thoughts, feelings and ideas that result from the art-making that are therapeutic and cathartic. Often creative people who are suffering are comforted to discover new ways of art-making that can offer therapeutic relief. The art-making and expressive arts work is not intended as a replacement for therapy, medicine, or visits with an M.D.
For the last five years I have taken classes with internationally recognized expressive arts therapist Cathy Malchiodi through the Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute. I have volunteered at the Onslow Women's Center where I am happy to share expressive arts modalities with the women and children. I am so very grateful to be able to offer small group sessions for children, teens and adults at Artworks.
Please note: I am not a counselor or therapist.
I have almost completed the following designation:
Expressive Arts Coach/Educator--Trauma-Informed [EXA-CE] is a program designed to help individuals in a variety of fields acquire the competencies necessary to apply trauma-informed expressive arts in your work.
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History and Studio Art and a Master's degree in Art Education. I also hold certificates in the following from the Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute®:
Trauma Informed Expressive Arts Therapy®
Visual Journaling Level One: Expressive Arts Therapy & Trauma-Informed Practice®
Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy Level Two
Art Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy and Positive Psychology
Art for Children Experiencing Traumatic Stress
In November 2019 I was honored to present a webinar entitled "Supporting Student Emotional Needs Through Art: Practical Everyday Techniques for All Educators" to members of the National Art Education Association.
In February 2020 I delivered the same presentation to Onslow County Schools high school art educators.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me.
Sara M. Gant
How does Expressive Arts Therapy Work?
"Expressive arts therapy is effective because creating art can help awaken thoughts and feelings that have been buried in a troubled person’s subconscious. Acknowledging and recognizing emotions is the first step in beginning to deal with them. Once the emotions are acknowledged, they can be expressed. Some emotions are difficult to convey with words or conversations in therapy and are more easily expressed through art."
Pacific Teen Treatment