Creativity, Healing &
Brain Fitness Open Studio

Art and Crafts Open Studio for Parkinson and Cancer Patients is a gathering, available weekly with no expectations for attendance, to create -- as essential "elder play" as play is to children -- with the difference that continuing the learning of skill acquisition is healing to the brain, just as play structures the child's brain. Here we gain perspective and a horizon-sweeping view on life and how we developed our character to engage with survival success. Without discussion, contemplating inwardly as we do our individual work, our engagement with the creative "product" tells us how our social values fulfilled or betrayed our childhood dreams. The expectations we had during our mid-life power are now held up to the light of our own secret awareness by our health in the end-stage.

Dialogues for a 21st-Century World View

Coming together by arrangement with various Lifelong Learning Academies in Sarasota, we discuss how elders can assume our historical role as guides and mentors to the middle generation actively involved in their power-time to make the world. As we elders detach from the world and see the outcome of our own karmic actions we acquire a planetary vision to share with our adult children. How do we shift Globalization from "20th C goals to 21st C goals" in the light of awareness brought by our planetary crises in climate change, terrorism and the Clash of Civilizations, and the world financial meltdown?

Home: Creativity and Healing: Global Cultural/ Ecological Transformation and the Arts

Jung and Western Civilization and the Open Studio for Arts and Crafts are complementary programs in theory and practice. Implementing the pioneering work of Gene Cohen at NIH on The Impact of Professionally conducted Cultural Programs on the Health of Older Adults, I facilitate dialogues to develop a 21st-Century world view of Global Economics for Ecology in harmony with Cultural Transformation and Healing, both personal and planetary. We put this world view into practice in the Open Studio in the Arts or Craftsmanship for conscious aging, using current research in medicine and its exercise for Brain Fitness.

My world view, like the Ancient Greek, is that the health of our civilization affects the health of the individual. Whether you like to talk or to do, or both, I present creativity and healing in light of our global cultural transformation in order to integrate Science and Meaning, the Economics of Earth Stewardship, and Conscious Aging.

Open Studio

"Open Studio" for Arts and Crafts has been meeting for Parkinson's brain fitness since just after Labor Day, 2007. Small groups are forming for creative writing and journal keeping.

You may attend whenever you wish. We meet in the garden of my home, so contact me for directions. If you want to come occasionally, please email when you are coming, and if you come regularly, please email when you are not. Please contact me. If you do not have email, you may wish to phone, but we screen our calls, so please ask for me by name, Michelle, and go on to say you're calling about the Open Studio, thanks: 941-358-8758.

Phil's Galllery

As many as half the hospitals in the country are now starting Arts-in-Healthcare. The efficacy of arts programs to the clinical improvement of long-term out-patients in the hemodialysis unit at Shands Hospital was analyzed statistically in the March 2006 issue of The American Journal of Kidney Diseases, (Ross et al., 462-468).

Even the NIA is funding research into new visions of aging for late-life fulfillment and creativity. And since 2000, the NEA has sponsored "a unique longitudinal study" by Dr. Gene Cohen, author of The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life, conducted in Washington, D.C., on "The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on the Health of Older Adults."

Dr. Cohen's study was of an amateur orchestra of retired adults in Washington, D. C. Although, I hope that my workshop will be the start of a movement in creativity and healing in Sarasota, throughout the "Third Age" of life, the only music I can offer at this time will be played while we are creating art. Some of the music we'll play will be from Broadway musicals so that we sing, if we want to, while we work. At various phases in the process, we'll play Mozart, Bach, Beethoven; at others, we shall try to find music synchronized to brainwaves. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in London has measured the performance of students listening to music synchronized to alpha and theta brainwave rhythms and has found as much as forty percent improvement by their performance criteria.

Alex's Gallery

I shall be drawing upon my lifelong work as a painter in oils and my former profession, practicing Jung's method of Individuation analysis in a clinic for the uninsured employed, run by Berkshire Psychotherapists for Social Responsibility, of which I was a founding member. I attended the C. G. Jung Institute--Zurich two years and completed my training analysis with Dr. Elisabeth Ruf. While in Zurich, I was trained in the Jungian interpretation of the arts -- archetypal images and narrative -- in voice, visual arts, psychodrama, and writing. I also have a certificate in Arts-in-Healthcare training at Shands Hospital, University of Florida.

Patricia's Gallery

The Open Studio for Writers and Journal-keeping is another place where we share fiction and non-fiction. Although this is creative writing and not a "support group," Veterans are encouraged to come to tell their experience of war, in narration or in writing. It is absolutely essential at this time in history, when weapon technology has outstripped the human capacity to survive as a species, that Veterans tell what it is really like to be in battle and how trauma affects their individual lifespan and the lives of their loved ones. Especially, we need to preserve for future generations the testimony of what it was that drove veterans to sacrifice for their country.

I am involved with a Veterans Memorial Education Project, affiliated with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, which preserves the personal recollections of Veterans. Before mid-life, I was an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Western Civilization and while teaching at California State University--Sonoma, I interviewed three of the first 332 women to be sworn into the U. S. Army Signal Corps in response to General Pershing's emergency call for bilingual telephone switchboard operators to serve with the A.E.F. in France during WWI. My mother served at his HQ in Chaumont for a year past the Armistice (until the men had been shipped home). My research helped the attorney who presented their case to Congress to rectify the injustice that their swearing-in did not afford them veteran status because Army regulations had stated at the time that only "males are sworn into the Army." I have since become, according to the Great War Society, Doughboy Center web master and coordinator of trips to the WWI battlefields, Mike Hanlon, "The foremost documentarian on the 'Hello Girls' of WWI."

Pookie's Gallery

Pookie's Parkinson's Blog

Still wondering why anyone would want to do art when seriously or chronically ill?

Healing, creativity, and the life force are one and the same energy. Anyone with a life-threatening condition or chronic condition experiences the body's natural mobilization of the immune system, even when it has turned against the body in auto-immune disease. Body energy is conserved for survival functions and the mind energy is 'depressed' for everyday activity. The mind is turned inward instead of outward. The focus is reversed in terms of survival into creativity and the question is "to heal or not to heal."

For Brain Fitness, we bridge Eastern healing with Western therapeutics, learning to use the "Serpent Power" of Kundalini Yoga through Neurofeedback. Here is an article, you may read under the "Fair Use" law for education: "Meditation May Bolster Brain Activity," by Jennifer Warren


for your Supplies

The very best art supply store I've found anywhere is right here in Sarasota! Art 'n Frame (click to visit their web site; the store is on 41 at the NE corner of Bahia Vista) is a discount store that charges about 15 percent off list prices (more if you do a $25 yearly membership) and has sales almost every other month that give a whopping 30 percent off list-prices throughout the store and even more off clearance items in their sidewalk sale. If you're new to painting and want to do it in the Open Studio, I recommend the acrylic easel set, which lists for $60, sells normally at discount for $50, and on 30 percent-off sale for $35. Look for it on the balcony at the back of the store near the easels and books. Call them at 366-2301, to get on their email list or watch the Herald Tribune for their sales.

If you see the sign on Tamiami Trail (Hwy. 41) near Siesta Drive (at 4067 S. Tamiami Trail) for "The Stained Glass Connection" -- you'll enjoy visiting this store with its very informative owner, Allan, who might even get you into glass art! It's tucked away in a second row of shops; call him, if you can't find it: 921-3775.

I recommend the following books to those of you who would like to read more about what we'll be doing, but NO READING IS REQUIRED:

My way of teaching is to draw out creativity and although different from the method in this book, if you want to look at someone else who writes about it, I recommend: The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron with Mark Bryan, NY: Tarcher-Putnam, 1992, ISBN0-87477-694-5 for all the arts. All participants are encouraged to keep a journal of dialogues with your dreams and art, using the method of Ira Progoff's classic book, At a Journal Workshop. I will give you a journal binder I have made up with categories of dialogues.

For those of you who are painting (all media):
Techniques of the Great Masters of Art, Seacaucus, NJ, Chartwell Books, 1985 ISBN: 0-89009-879-4

Artist's Manual: A Complete Guide to Painting and Drawing Materials and Techniques, Angela Gair, ed., S. F.: Chronicle Books, 1996. 0-8118-1377-0

I also recommend keeping up with Scientific American articles on Neuroscience.

In discussing health, no seminar can be complete without the most essential role of food as our best medicine -- there is, of course, a book by that name. To take responsibility for maintaining your health, inform yourself using two books by:
Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, Prescription for Nutritional Healing and Prescription for Herbal Healing, (the former has co-author James F. Balch, MD) Avery Books (Penguin Putnam).

Apparently, the report, "Creativity and Aging Study: The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on the Health of Older Adults" presented by Gene Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Center on Aging Health and Humanities, George Washington University, and Jeanne Kelly, Director, Levine School of Music, is currently unavailable to the public. But the National Institute for Aging sponsored the clinical study of an orchestra of amateur elders on which it is based, so keep looking for it on the web. For more information on the study, you may wish to visit and follow links from the NEA web page
See if you can find Gene Cohen, The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life.