0 comments on “Mindful Creativity: Highlights from My Smith Center Artist-in-Residency”

Mindful Creativity: Highlights from My Smith Center Artist-in-Residency

Mindful creativity is what I share with military service members, veterans, their families and friends, and staff when I serve as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center each week. Read and listen to my latest interview with Smith Center.

Check out a short video I made during one of my breaks at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

 

 

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Happy #CreativityThursday: Using Creativity to Serve Others

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Happy #CreativityThursday!

Have you ever used your creativity to serve others?

How does it make you feel?

When I use my creativity to serve others, my heart opens and fills up with gratitude.

Click here to listen today’s podcast and learn more about how I use my creativity as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to serve others. A poem from my book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery is included.  Enjoy!

PS: The photo collage includes artwork made by military family members at Walter Reed.

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Opening Your Creative Heart Coaching Special Discount:

From February 1 to March 31, I am offering a special discount package on my creativity coaching services. See details below.

My Creativity Coaching Practice: Click here to read more about my approach and background as a creativity coach.

Discount Period: The creativity coaching packages must be purchased via PayPal by March 31, 2014. They must be used by July 31, 2014.

Fees and Services:

1) 1 one-hour session with 2 email follow ups – $99.95 (original price – $139.95)

2) 3 one-hour sessions with 4 email follow ups – $359.95 (original price – $389.95)

3) 6 one-hour sessions with 7 email follow ups – $769.95 (original price – $799.95)

4) 9 one-hour sessions with 10 email follow ups – $1,169.99 (original price – $1,199.99)

5) 12 one-hour sessions with 13 email follow ups – $1,569.95 (original price – $1599.95)

Contact Information: If you are interested in one or more of the packages, please send me an email at kiamshaleeke@yahoo.com to schedule a free 20-minute consultation call (available via telephone, Skype, and Google Hangout).

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Happy Creativity Thursday: Breathing Life Into Your Creative Dreams

Photo Credit: "Kreative Grooviness: That Which Awakens Me " by Ananda Leeke
Photo Credit: “Kreative Grooviness: That Which Awakens Me ” by Ananda Leeke

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Have you ever dreamed of making something with your hands and then allowed your fears or lack of training to stop you?

It happened to me several years ago when I started dreaming of painting. I was afraid to try it because I had never attended art school. My perspective changed after I started working with a master artist during my tenure as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts at Howard University Hospital. The master artist happened to be a patient I was assigned to work with on creative projects that would help him express his feelings. He transformed our sessions into art workshops where he taught me to trust my intuition and natural creative gifts. He pushed me to paint and gave me numerous painting assignments. This experience helped me create a series of paintings that I used to illustrate two book covers (see paintings above and below). The master artist breathed life into my creative dreams.

Photo Credit: "Be Love. Love Light. Live As the Spirit of Life." by Ananda Leeke
Photo Credit: “Be Love. Love Light. Live As the Spirit of Life.” by Ananda Leeke

Has anyone breathed life into your creative dreams?

How did the person breathe life into your creative dreams?

What creative actions were you inspired to take?

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Visit Amazon.com to learn more about my creative journey and book, That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetical Memoir of Self-Discovery (2009). My book is available as a Kindle download and a paperback book.

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Happy Creativity Thursday: Collage Births My Holiday Spirit

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Happy Creativity Thursday!

Have you gotten into the holiday spirit yet? What was the driving force? Was it a song, commercial, memory, office party, tree with decorations, or a Starbucks hot beverage?

My holiday spirit arrived while working as an artist-in-residence for Smith Center for Healing and the Arts and creating an interactive wall collage for staff at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday afternoon (see photo above). As I cut out images from magazines and asked staff about their holiday season traditions, my heart opened up to the beauty of the season. The beauty for me is captured best in a six-word memoir: joyful gratitude for family and friends.

Do you make holiday art and/or decorations?

4 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday – Depicted/Connected: Paintings by Tim Okamura Coming to U Street in September”

Happy Creativity Thursday – Depicted/Connected: Paintings by Tim Okamura Coming to U Street in September

Photo Credit: Tim Okamura's painting, Sun Rise on U Street, 2013
Photo Credit: Tim Okamura’s painting, Sun Rise on U Street, 2013

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am excited to announce that Smith Center for Healing and the Arts is hosting an opening reception for the D.C. debut of Brooklyn-based painter Tim Okamura’s new portrait collection, Depicted/Connected on Friday, September 27, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, N.W. (three blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Metro Station on the Green Line).

Photo Credit: Tim Okamura
Photo Credit: Tim Okamura

Depicted/Connected features 11 culturally diverse women who were primarily born and raised in the D.C. area. They are depicted through Tim’s self-constructed lens which captures how they have experienced the evolution of D.C. as a city. Through the paintings, he says, “I have sought to celebrate these women as individuals, connected to their environment, but also to discover through them metaphors for greater aspects of the human condition – connected to all of us.” If you are in D.C. on September 27, please plan to attend this amazing event. See you in September!

SIDE NOTE: Just in case you couldn’t tell who is featured in the painting above, I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s me. Tim included a door from Republic Gardens, a club I used to hang out in during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Photo Credit: http://soulofamerica.com/interact/us-cities/washington-dc/washington-dc-restaurants/republic-gardens-restaurant/
Photo Credit: http://soulofamerica.com/interact/us-cities/washington-dc/washington-dc-restaurants/republic-gardens-restaurant/

The club has a rich history too. It first opened in the 1920s when owner W.G. Tindel converted a brick rowhouse (1355 U Street, N.W.) into a restaurant with a backyard summer garden on U Street, the heart of D.C.’s African American culture and life (the reason I moved to the neighborhood 23 years ago). During the next 30 years, it became a major destination for fans of live jazz. Two of my favorite jazz musicians Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker performed there.

When I look at the sun-like gold window on the red door in the painting, I am reminded of Amaterasu, the Japanese sun  goddess. She is associated with the colors red, gold, and yellow. She represents royal power and returning life and joy after dark times, as the sun becomes stronger and warmer after the winter solstice.

Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH TIM OKAMURA:

I met Tim on June 9, during his photo shoot for Depicted/Connected at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery. Smith Center invited me and five amazing women to participate in the photo shoot. The first thing I noticed about him was his easy-going spirit, positive energy, and kind smile. He was able to stay focused and have fun too.

Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

After the photo shoot, I went home and Googled Tim to learn more about his work. When I visited his Facebook page and saw his painting, “Les Nubians Combat Pour L’Amour” and “Courage 3.0,” I became an instant fan. I also listened to his 2011 interview on NPR’s Tell Me More with journalist Michel Martin. During the interview, he discussed his passion for hip hop, his hip hop radio show in Canada, and his ”Bronx Brooklyn Queens” series of paintings that feature African-American women of New York City. I Googled the series and fell in love with each painting. What a powerful body of work!

More About Tim (from his official bio):
He earned a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991.  After graduating with an M.F.A. in 1993, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York, where he continues to live and work. His artwork has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada; and he was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England.  His work is included in the permanent collection of the Toronto Congress Center, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Davis Museum in Massachusetts, as well as the private collections of  celebrity clients such as John Mellencamp, Uma Thurman, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He is represented by Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, and Douglas Udell Gallery in Canada. To learn more about Tim and his work, LIKE him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
2 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday”

Happy Creativity Thursday

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Happy Creativity Thursday!

Each month I go on artist dates. In June, I visited the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts to see From the Outside, an exhibition featuring the artwork of Areli & Manuel, Candy Cummings, Jim Doran, Bradford Elliott, Tina Lassiter, Glenn Richardson, Matt Sesow, Maria Simonsson & Kathy Beynette, and Dolly Vehlow.

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Anthony Palliparambil, Jr. (featured in photo above), the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery Assistant, did a great job curating the exhibition which features visionary, raw, outsider, and primitive artwork.

While attending the exhibition’s opening reception on June 21, I learned about  visionary and outsider art from a quote by artist and visionary art proponent Jean Dubuffet:

“By [Art Brut] we mean pieces of work executed by people untouched by artistic culture, in which therefore mimicry…plays little or no part, so that their authors draw everything from their own depths and not from clichés of classical art or art that is fashionable. Here we are witnessing an artistic operation that is completely pure, raw, reinvented in all its phases by its author, based solely on his own impulses.”

The definition resonated with my own work as a self-taught artist.

Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

The artwork of Tina Lassiter, one of my favorite artists, was included in the exhibition. I love Tina’s goddess collages. Tonight, she is hosting An Evening in the Garden of Goddess Delight, a collage-making “joyshop” at Smith Center that I plan to attend.

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If you are in Washington, D.C. on July 25, join  the artists featured in the From the Outside exhibition for an artist talk from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery. Until then, check out some of the amazing art below.

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Happy Creativity Thursday!

Happy July 4th and Happy Creativity Thursday!

Guess what I am doing next week? I’m taking artist Tina Lassiter’s “An Evening in the Garden of Goddess Delight” workshop on July 11 at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Tina describes the workshop as a collage-making “joyshop” that will evoke change, stimulate thinking, and transform the lives of those who accept an invitation for exploration. It’s just what I need to jumpstart my own collage-making painting process.

Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tina Lassiter at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

In June, I had a chance to chat with Tina at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery  opening of the “From the Outside” exhibition. Some of her work is featured in the exhibit. I love her goddess collages!

More About Tina: She is also a writer, photographer, and Director of Creative & Therapeutic Arts Services at Children’s National Medical Center. Last year, She became a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist in addition to receiving certifications in Reiki and Acupressure. She is currently working to help Children’s National Medical Center establish an integrative medicine program.

What are you doing to celebrate creativity in July?

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Happy Creativity Thursday!

Photo Credit: Tim Okamura
Photo Credit: Tim Okamura

Happy Creativity Thursday!

Today, I am celebrating Tim Okamura, a fabulous painter from Edmonton, Canada (one of my favorite places to visit for art and creativity). Tim’s paintings explore identity, popular culture, and the urban environment. He uses collage, spray paint, and mixed media in his work (and I adore collage and mixed media!).

Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

I met Tim on June 9 during his photo shoot for his upcoming “Depicted/Connected” series at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts (the organization I work for as an Artist-in-Residence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center). Smith Center invited me and five amazing women to participate in Tim’s photo shoot. The first thing I noticed about him was his easy-going spirit, positive energy, and kind smile. He was able to stay focused and have fun too.

Many thanks to Anthony Palliparambil, Jr., Exhibitions Manager and artist, for organizing the photo shoot and taking photos!

Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Tim Okamura and amazing ladies at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Ananda Leeke at Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery

After the photo shoot, I went home and Googled Tim to learn more about his work. When I visited his Facebook page and saw his painting, “Les Nubians Combat Pour L’Amour” and “Courage 3.0,” I became an instant fan. By the way, Les Nubians are one of my favorite Afropean neosoul singing duos (they make several appearances in my Love’s Troubadours novel).

I also listened to his 2011 interview on NPR’s Tell Me More with journalist Michel Martin. During the interview, he discussed his passion for hip hop, his hip hop radio show in Canada, and his “Bronx Brooklyn Queens” series of paintings that feature African-American women of New York City. I Googled the series and fell in love with each painting. What a powerful body of work!

More About Tim (from his official bio)
He earned a B.F.A. with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Canada before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991.  After graduating with an M.F.A. in 1993, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York, where he continues to live and work. His artwork has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; galleries throughout the U.S. and Canada; and he was short-listed by the Royal Surveyor of the Queen’s Picture Collection for a commissioned portrait of the Queen of England.  His work is included in the permanent collection of the Toronto Congress Center, Standard Chartered Bank, and the Davis Museum in Massachusetts, as well as the private collections of  celebrity clients such as John Mellencamp, Uma Thurman, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. He is represented by Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, and Douglas Udell Gallery in Canada.
To learn more about Tim and his work, LIKE him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
0 comments on “Happy Creativity Thursday!”

Happy Creativity Thursday!

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Happy Creativity Thursday!

Each month, I try to participate in an arts-related event in my U Street neighborhood in Washington, D.C.  I usually visit the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. Last month, I  attended the opening reception for the Gallery’s Alchemical Vessels, an exhibition featuring ceramic bowls created by 125 artists.

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Each artist made a ceramic bowl that reflected his or her own personal aesthetic and medium. Together, the ceramic bowls  symbolized the importance of creating healing space.

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The creation of healing space is a core element of Smith Center’s mission and my intention as a Smith Center artist-in-residence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Click here to learn more about the exhibition.  If you are in the D.C. area on June 7, plan to attend the artists’ closing reception at 7:00 p.m.

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Happy Creativity Thursday – 3/28

Photo Credit: www.sawcc.org
Photo Credit: http://www.sawcc.org

Happy Creativity Thursday!

On March 1, I kicked off Women’s History Month with a visit to the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery to see the Be/Longing, exhibition featuring the work of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collection (SAWCC). The Gallery is housed in the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts located in my U Street neighborhood in Washington, DC.

Photo Credit: Smith Center web site - Jaishri Abichandani The Return of Devastasia
Photo Credit: Smith Center web site – Jaishri Abichandani The Return of Devastasia

FIERCE is the best word to describe the Be/Longing exhibition. It is emotional and filled with stories that give voice to the rapture and struggle of fierce identity from the diverse perspectives of South East Asian women. It included the artwork of several powerful women artists: Samira Abbassy, Jaishri Abichandani, Nida Abidi, Amina Ahmed, Shelly Bahl, Marcy Chevali, Ruby Chishti, Chitra Ganesh, Monica Jahan Bose, and Sa’dia Rehman. Click here to learn more.

Did you visit any woman-centered art events during Women’s History Month?