Art has always been part of my life. As a child I fashioned intricate designs in the playdough my mother made me, and hammered acorns and leaves to pine boards as my way to “make art.” As I grew, I studied art in all its forms — from painting and sculpting, to quilting, rug-hooking and ceramics, I learned everything I could about art and wondered not where I could buy something, but how I could make it.
My love of art and intrinsic artistic resourcefulness have lead me to look at life differently and recognize the potential for art to bring balance and healing. Therapy and art might not seem like a traditional pairing, but the two are closely related. As a licensed psychotherapist, I recognized that just as a sunny day can influence a good mood, color, texture and creation can provide balance and soothe those with mental illnesses; and, that’s why I created the Arlington Artworks, now known as NOVA Artworks, a therapeutic art program for adults with severe mental illness and intellectual disabilities. This program provides clients with a safe, creative environment to experiment with painting, drawing and glass work to express themselves and find purpose and joy in their lives.
In my own life, art has served a great therapeutic role — first, after I lost my young husband, and then when I lost my infant daughter. I’ve worked with a number of mediums, but the one I always return to, the one I have thrived and flourished in, is sculpture. Putting my hands in the clay to form and create a three-dimensional, lifelike form has provided me peace, joy, and fulfillment.
Therapy and art are a perfect marriage on a path of wellness.
When I’m working in my studio, I become absorbed and focused on how the art is created and how it develops. The process creates a feeling of passion which is completely consuming, and I try to bring that same passion and vigor into my interactions with clients. I like to work collaboratively, to talk with people about their goals, and to bounce ideas off of them to get to a place where we share a vision. To do something I love while also creating something my client loves is compelling and inspiring
I truly believe that art empowers people because art is a joyful and miraculous thing.
You can see my works at the National War College, The Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Naval Postgraduate School, and Ave Maria University. Additionally, my bust of Franklin D. Roosevelt sits in the dining room of the Marco Polo — the rail car that president once proudly rode, now owned by Norfolk Southern Corporation and housed at Union Station in Washington, DC.