This is a guest blog written by Gretchen M. Miller, MA, ATR-BC, Adjunct Faculty, Counseling and Art Therapy program.
“Try to make at least one person happy every day. If you cannot do a kind deed, speak a kind word. If you cannot speak a kind word, think a kind thought. Count up, if you can, the treasure of happiness that you would dispense in a week, in a year, in a lifetime!” ~Lawrence G. Lovasik
Since 2013, I have been engaging in daily art-making as a challenge to my creative self, as an act of self-care, and to take time to pause from the activity of everyday life. In 2015, from January 1- December 31, I decided to make small pieces of art everyday– usually between the size of a playing card and half an index card, to randomly gift to others as acts of kindness and to spread creative goodness to others. This year’s creative daily practice is a departure from the 365 art I’ve worked on the last 2 years, in that I am not keeping what I create or cultivating a collection from each day. Instead, I wanted to share this process with others, give it all away & pay it forward with artful positive messages of hope, inspiration, and possibility.
The act of giving away this 365 project challenges me with fun curiosity about where, when, and how to leave the art behind, and I am even more curious about the receiving process and how it might be discovered.
Throughout this year, I have left my creative deeds outdoors & inside of stores, parking meters, at local coffee shops or eateries, colleges (including the Ursuline campus!), conferences, my favorite art stores, gas station pumps, elevators and more. On the back of each of piece of art, I include a label that briefly explains the intention of the project, as well as ways to share the find.
It is always an unexpected delight to discover that a creative deed has been found and see the response of the finder! I usually come across someone who found a piece of the project through Twitter or Instagram and has used the hashtag #creativedeed365 as part of their posting. I have also had some people e-mail the Creative Deed 365 address. It’s a nice reminder & expression of gratitude about the power of art and the role of kindness to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
Also, in the spirit of engaging in this process with others, I invited others through social media to become a part of this creative challenge with me. I created a group on Facebook where others could contribute their own art inspired by the concept of this project. I also started to create a mailing list for individuals who made a request to receive a creative deed so that they could have one delivered to them sometime during this year. So far I’ve mailed a batch of creative deeds to locations throughout the US, to Canada, Europe, Australia, the UK, and New Zealand.
The Creative Deed 365 Group and its 200+ members are from many different places around the country and beyond. This group of Creative Deeders has been a wonderful community to be a part of! It’s been inspiring, motivating, and moving to see others share their own affirming messages & created art, learn more about how they are engaging with the project’s intention, and create joy with this creative mission from and in their part of the world. Creative Deeds Unite!
If you’re interested in learning more about the project and seeing monthly updates posted throughout this year, please visit Creativity in Motion.