Monthly Archives: September 2006

Art goes completely postal

The Oberlin Review

Art Goes Completely Postal

Envelope Collective Encourages Creation of Mail Art

Sent on their way: Envelope Collective received this writing mail art from an art therapy patient at the McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA

By Robyn Weiss

As the use of postal mail moves further toward becoming a lost practice, two College senior art majors are working to create a new perspective on the mail. Garrett Miller and Adam Morse recently began the Envelope Collective, an ongoing experiment that involves sending art, in envelope or other forms, through the mail.

“There aren’t really any rules [to the project],” said Morse. “But essentially what we ask is that you decorate an envelope, but not necessarily an envelope, because an envelope is a very ambiguous term, but send something — a letter, a box — through the mail.”

They encourage all people to become involved in the collective, calling for submissions in any form.

“You don’t have to be an artist to send something. People are so self-conscious about doing art, but anything is art,” said Miller. “It can be anonymous if you want, too. [Whatever you send is] art in itself.”

The two received sponsorship to set up a P.O. Box through the Oberlin post office as a place to receive submissions for the collective. At this point in the project, they have made a call for submissions through their website, which will eventually serve as an online gallery of the pieces that they receive.

“The greater cause is to make a series, a collection of the envelopes that come in and be able to auction them off to independent galleries and charities that are committed to spreading art in a positive way — for example, ones that would deliver art materials to those who don’t have the means, or artists affected by Katrina,” said Miller. “We don’t know where the project is going to go, other than seeing how the website goes and how the community itself responds to it.”

So far, the art community is responding very well. Last week, the Envelope Collective was featured on three popular websites. In addition to filled e-mail accounts, the actual P.O. Box is already beginning to fill as well. Though the project is based in Oberlin and they encourage local participation, their hopes are for the collective to become international.  Continued here:…

Born in a dancer’s therapy

January 9, 1998



Art rarely strays far from life, from the feelings and character of the person who makes it. But sometimes it sticks so close to individual experience as to become a virtual shadow, different in substance but identical in outline.

This is the case with Marilee Stiles Stern, a 47-year-old American who lives in Seattle and is having her first solo show at the Phyllis Kind Gallery in SoHo. Well-known as a ballet dancer (she was discovered by George Balanchine), ballet teacher and choreographer, Ms. Stern turned to art as an aid in her psychotherapy, which followed a diagnosis in 1989 of dissociative identity disorder, as multiple-personality disorder is now called.

A few years later Ms. Stern became aware of the phenomenon of outsider or self-taught artists when her therapist showed her an issue of Raw Vision, an art magazine devoted to the subject, and she started acquiring back issues. Drawn to the art reproduced in the Kind Gallery’s ads in Raw Vision, Ms. Stern got in touch with Ms. Kind last February, asking the dealer to look at her work. In May Ms. Kind made a detour to Seattle on a trip to the West Coast and saw Ms. Stern’s work. A result is this exhibition of fantastical drawings in red, black and yellow felt-tip markers that Ms. Stern made on graph paper between 1989 and 1991. They depict swirling, cursive figures and figures-within-figures trapped inside intricately patterned backgrounds. They are almost as beautiful as they are harrowing.

Full of semi-abstract phalluses extravagantly rendered and repeated in ways that start out decorative and soon become startlingly explicit, these drawings seem to diagram encounters of a violent and sexual nature. Bound hands are a repeating motif, as are splayed bodies and stylized faces that can seem either dazed or screaming. Imbedded letters occasionally spell out words: ”Kill” or ”Please help me.” Rarely has violation been made so visually mesmerizing.


Continued here:

Art therapy touches lives at Runnells


Posted on Wednesday, August 23 @ 14:06:18 CDT by webmaster

Health News

BERKELEY HEIGHTS — The Activities Therapy Department at Runnells Specialized Hospital of Union County celebrates creativity with the “Art of The Masters” program. The program, administered by Creative Notions, has been enriching the lives of its participants with a two-step format since 2000, with projects that were designed with senior needs in mind.

“Runnells’ Activities Therapy Department brings the arts into our residents’ lives with hands-on programs,” said Union County Freeholder Vice Chair Bette Jane Kowalski who serves as the Freeholder Board’s liaison to the facility. “With the Art of the Masters program, our residents learn about an artist and create their own work of art. Participating in the arts increases self-esteem and develops physical skills. And it’s fun, too.“
The purpose of Runnells’ varied creative arts programs, facilitated by art therapists, recreation therapists and volunteers includes stimulating socialization and cognitive awareness.

About six years ago, Art of the Masters was invited to Runnells to do a program several times during that first year. Eventually, Runnells made the program a monthly staple of the extensive and varied activities program schedule. Each month Art of the Masters take participants on a journey through the lives and examine the works of some of the world’s most famous artists. First, residents learn the history of a featured artist by attending a lecture and then they paint, sculpt or draw to create a “masterpiece” similar or almost identical to that of the featured artist. Instructors work with each student on a one-on-one basis during the class. With each event they seem to leave with a greater understanding of the artist’s life, works, struggles and triumphs as well as with a greater appreciation for the various art mediums.

Art, through lectures and hands-on activities touches a wide range of individuals, from the active and independent to those who have Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Art of the Masters program participants have a great time, while building social skills.

Continued here …

Art therapy can reduce pain and anxiety in cancer patients

Art therapy can reduce pain and anxiety in cancer patients (press release)

Art therapy can reduce pain and anxiety in cancer patients (press release)

Posted Friday, August 25, 2006 by NewsTarget

Key concepts: cancer, cancer patients and anxiety.

A study published today in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that art therapy can reduce a broad spectrum of symptoms related to pain and anxiety in cancer patients. In the study done at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, cancer patients reported significant reductions in eight of nine symptoms measured by the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) after spending an hour working on art projects of their choice.

Fifty patients from the inpatient oncology unit at Northwestern Memorial were enrolled in the study over a four-month period. The ESAS is a numeric scale allowing patients to assess their symptoms of pain, tiredness, nausea, depression, anxiety, drowsiness, lack of appetite, well-being and shortness of breath. Eight of these nine symptoms improved; nausea was the only symptom that did not change as a result of the art therapy session. Continued here…