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Expressive Arts in the World #4: Positively Postcards

Art by Meagan Thompson
Art by Meagan Thompson

Expressive Arts in the World is a blog series designed to inform and inspire. We bring you news of projects, programs and practitioners, both locally and globally, to help you see how this work is practiced and what it’s benefits are.

Today we feature Positively Postcards, a beautiful little project that emerged organically and touched lives in a positive, meaningful, and unexpected ways.

When we follow our hearts, and get creative, wonderful things can happen!

postively postcards

Once a month, at Expressive Arts Florida Institute, we host a community networking event, with a guest presenter. In April, we invited Louise Bruderle, editor and publisher of West Coast Woman in Sarasota, to teach our group about her expressive writing project with female inmates at the Sarasota County jail.  Louise designed and created this project, and it is offered, at the jail, through SPARCC.

It was an inspiring evening, with much heartfelt sharing, as Louise demonstrated some of the ways in which she engages these women, and how this experience affects them.

Patrice Kennedy, of  Women in Search, and a Sarasota County Art teacher,  came to networking that evening, and was inspired enough to add another element to Louise’s work. She asked if she could be the facilitator at the next networking event, as she wanted to make postcards for the women in the jail.

Positively Postcards
Positively Postcards

So, in May, a group  gathered for networking, and, under Patrice’s direction, made postcards with positive messages. These postcards were given to Louise, who delivered them to the women in jail.

Here is what Patrice has to say:

Patrice Kennedy

My Positively Postcards networking process was inspired by Louise Bruderle, editor & publisher of West Coast Women during her EAF networking event in April 2016.
Louise shared her experience teaching expressive writing to women at the Sarasota County Jail and then lead us in a writing process. This was an extension of her experience with a “Writing to Heal” workshop at Duke University.
Afterwards we asked Louise if there was anything we could do for the women. She said maybe something to remind them that they are good.
I asked if I could facilitate a networking process to make some art postcards to send to them and it was agreed by all that this would be worthwhile towards lifting their spirits and morale. In May we offered the EAFI networking for my Positively Postcards process where we made about 40 water colored heartfelt expressions of hope, love and kindness on handmade paper postcards. Some of the paraprofessional staff members who work in my ART classroom at school also contributed their lovely postcards. I delivered the box of cards to Louise to share with the women residents at the jail. Louise delivered all to the women where they chose their favorite brightly colored card with an affirmative message that they were able to keep. These were a gift from our hearts to theirs reminding every woman of her innate goodness and worth. 

louise bruderle wcw
Louise Bruderle

Here is what Louise has to say:

The cards were greatly appreciated by the women! They picked them all up, one by one and read them carefully. I asked them to choose one they liked and to write down why they liked it and how it related to to their lives. The cards that Patrice and the others made were so colorful! The jail is harsh but also also entirely colorless. These cards made them think, made them feel better, and added a bright moment in their day.

We love this project, and thought you might like to hear about it too.

Would you like to know more?

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It is such a privilege and a joy to be a part of this international community of expressive arts practitioners who are effecting change in the world in so many ways. Expressive Arts embraces the power of the imagination, and asks that we bring our whole selves, our best selves, to our lives, to those we serve, and to the Earth. It is all about engaging and following the threads of creativity, in service of wellness, healing, wholeness, connection, community, and social change.

With immense gratitude,

Kathleen, Victoria, Tamara

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