A few years ago, the site brightdrops.com posted this about Albert Einstein’s very well known and inspiring quote “Creativity is Contagious” (a favorite!):
It’s funny to think of creativity being contagious, like a virus, but it really does spread from one person to another, just by the act of that second person watching the first be creative…Then find that others start acting the same way, and before long you’ve got a virtual creative epidemic on your hands. (brightdrops.com, 2016)
I think of creativity in this way a lot. So much, it inspired me to dedicate an entire chapter in The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media about my concept of 6 Degrees of Creativity and examples of how our art making and creative deeds can have a profound influence among and around us, on and offline. These times of COVID-19 create a unique lens (in many ways!) about our shared impact and aspirations related to the power of creativity and its contagion factor.
Art therapists and the art therapy community have been responding via social media and online in these times of COVID-19’s pandemic outbreak by spreading enhanced and new opportunities for virtual connection, community, and creativity. These efforts offer meaningful ways to support one another, exchange art in digital spaces, and manage this life altering experience together through creativity and acts of art. This is very refreshing to see each day as we continue to navigate this crisis.
This post offers a round up of some of the online places, spaces, and projects that have been mobilized and activated by members of the art therapy community to assist during this time with ways to connect & create:
- The Potomac Art Therapy Association (PATA) on Facebook and Instagram has been regularly sharing and re-posting creative expressions that art therapists, graduate art therapy programs, and art therapy students have been making during these times of having to shelter in place, physical distancing, and spending more time at home. PATA is using the hashtag #stayinandcreate if you want to follow what they share or use it while you are making art at home during this time.
- Art therapists have been using their blogs to reach out with art-based resources and creative self-care strategies — some great examples are here from art therapist Sherri Jacob’s blog and here on art therapist Dr. Lani Gerity’s blog.
- Digital art sharing & making spaces have also been created by art therapists to respond to COVID-19, make art together virtually, and create creative connection such as the Facebook Groups Coronavirus Response Art by Art Therapists and #Coronart. Creative Contact, an artist trading card swap is bringing together art therapy practitioners, educators, and students to share miniature artworks and their creating process online during this time of staying home with the future goal to exchange our art with one another through the mail eventually. This project has included virtual meet-ups where art-making takes place together as a group online.
- The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) has created this COVID-19 Resources for Art Therapists page to provide connection to information. Members are contributing their best practices, reflections, and help around topics such as art material management, digital art therapy, telehealth, and more.
- Creative Wellbeing Workshops facilitated by art therapists Dr. Gioia Chilton and Rebecca Wilkinson created these resources about Creative Coping Strategies for COVID-19 and Affirmations for Coping during COVID-19.
Think about how you can start your own creative chain reaction of compassion, kindness, or connection during this challenging time through acts of art making and your social media activity. Consider participating in a random act of creative kindness with hopeful messages to leave for others to discover. Examples I have seen over the last few weeks include sidewalk chalk expressions, window art, or public and street art that others can take in from a safe physical distance or behind the screen of their device. The round up links above are also good examples to start with for inspiration!