Artist and Art Therapist

I can use many words to describe myself, but the part of myself that I most identify with is my Artist Self. It doesn’t matter if its been one day or one year since I’ve made art for myself or how long its been since I’ve show my art in the community, I still see myself as an artist and I see the world through an artists eyes. I see creative opportunities everywhere, and I am always devising a painting in my head. As a community of Artists and Art Therapists we should be creating as often as possible and encouraging each other to do so. Take time for yourself, take time to create, get out there and share it with others!

Here are a couple of Art Events going on around the state, for frequently updated information visit

ART OPENING. Charlottesville Area

Dear friends of the Art Life Studio,
I’m writing to invite you to a special evening of ART, POETRY, MUSIC & PERFORMANCE ART on Friday, April 1, 5:30 – 8 pm as we celebrate our new show, Re-Imagining Life through ART. This event features an inspiring group of women who have been participating in an 8-month, arts-based research project at the studio, which is part of my expressive arts therapy dissertation.  Collectively, we are creating an evening of performance art and ritual to complement the paintings, drawings, installations, and poetry in the show.
Sally Atkins and Harold McKinney, visiting artists from Appalachian State University, will be here to celebrate with us, offering a poetic, musical performance. This will be the last show at the studio before I join the expressive arts therapy faculty at Appalachian State University, so I hope you can join us as we CELEBRATE four wonderful years of ART & COMMUNITY at the Art Life Studio!
This event is free and open to the public; performances begin at 6:30 pm. Please see the attached invitation for more info, and please feel free to circulate this invitation to others you feel may be interested.
Hope you can join us!
Jena Leake, Ph.D. Candidate, R.E.A.T.
Registered Expressive Arts Therapist
Director, The Art Life Studio


Art Exhibition and Call for Art

This year the Anti-Stigma HOPE Campaign will celebrate National Mental Health Month through “Art Uniting People – A Celebration of Creativity and Mental Health.” This is an art exhibition dedicated to making a difference. It provides people whose lives have been affected by mental illness the opportunity to use art as a form of expression in order to engage the Alexandria community in a conversation about mental health issues.

All those touched by issues related to mental health and mental illness may enter—young and old. Artists are also invited to share the inspiration behind their art pieces and some of their personal story. Entry forms due Monday, April 4; art delivered for exhibition on Thursday, April 28.


Save the date! Opening reception, Wednesday, May 12, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson Street Alexandria, VA

For more information, go to:


Arlington Reads: Combat Paper Project Exhibition

Join us Thursday, April 7, 7:00 p.m. in the Central Library Auditorium when Tara Tappert, exhibits curator of the Combat Paper Project, will show and discuss elements of the project. Work from the Combat Paper Project will be on exhibit at Central Library through the end of April, as part of Arlington Reads 2011, “The Soldier’s Story: Serving Country and Community.”

Tappert, an archivist and American arts consulted, is interested in understanding how and why making crafts is so helpful in returning both the mind and body to a state of well being. In Combat Paper workshops, veterans use their uniforms to create cathartic art. The uniforms are cut up, beaten into a pulp and formed into sheets of paper.

Attendees of this event will also have the chance to win one of the two Arlington Reads 2011 featured books.

In the 20th century, the American military began to incorporate the use of crafts in two major service areas: as a tool for rehabilitation and as recreation promoting a sense of well-being.




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