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Multi-colored abstract drawing in oil pastels


collage over watercolor of blue and green with writing in the top right corner

We get lots of questions about what we do, so we wrote this list of FAQ's to help answer them! If you think we are missing something, get in touch and we will see about adding it!

What is the field of Expressive Arts all about?

The expressive arts support discovery, growth, and change in individuals, groups, and communities through the arts. The field is unique in that it is intermodal, meaning that practitioners guide you to use more than one art expression at a time. For example, you might draw something from a prompt, and then respond to it through writing. Or you might find a simple gesture that stems from a piece of music. 

From the creative expression that emerges, we help you discover what information it holds through examination and reflection. In the expressive arts, we refrain from placing value or meaning on the emerging art. We are simply curious and open, noticing what we see, feel, and hear, and following what arises to discover what messages might be present. We let the art lead the exploration, and it can take us to some pretty surprising places! The whole process is transformational and quite fun. 

We believe that everyone has a right to make art and that everyone can make meaningful art. When you work with Expressive Arts NYC, whether one-on-one in a coaching model, or with groups or communities, you are welcomed and celebrated as you are and supported as you discover the possibilities that lie ahead. 

That sounds serious. 

Well, we do take our work seriously. But the expressive arts are so fun! Sometimes we dance, or splatter paint on big pieces of paper, or make a community collage. It is true that at times what emerges is powerful, and that adds to the beauty of the work. However, there are great benefits from the process of immersing yourself in the art-making, even without further exploration. Creative expression helps to alleviate stress, increase happiness, and bring people together. 

Is this therapy?

At Expressive Arts NYC, we do not offer therapy. However, this work does have therapeutic benefits and can bring about powerful change. 

There are Expressive Arts therapists all across the world, however, and if you are seeking help that is beyond the scope of what we offer, we are happy to direct you towards appropriate resources. 

Arts? But I can't draw!

One of the most wonderful things about expressive arts is that they are for everybody. You do not need any experience or skills to engage in the expressive arts. All you need is to be curious and open to discovery and transformation. 

We create safe, kind environments where you can feel free to express yourself in any way that feels good and right for you. We welcome and accept the art that emerges in whatever form it takes. Expressive arts are about growth and change, not mastery of an art form. 

Why have I never heard of expressive arts?

Good question! Although the expressive arts are a relatively new field, having been established  right around 50 years ago, the practice draws from thousands of years of arts traditions used to heal, celebrate, discover, and connect. The arts as healing have been a central part of communities since humans walked the earth. Current expressive arts practitioners embrace that history and recognize the power of the arts to heal, help, and change lives. 

You can find expressive arts practitioners all over the world. Many are therapists, coaches, teachers, facilitators, educators, and artists themselves. Degrees in the expressive arts go all the way up to the PhD level. 

Do I need to have arts experience to come to your workshops or events

Nope! The beautiful thing about expressive arts is that it is what we call, "low-skill, high-sensitivity," meaning that the art expression we engage in is something anyone can do. A key part of our work is to create a non-judgmental, supportive space where you can create without expectation or evaluation. That's not to say that we ignore what emerges, whether it be in a drawn, written, or other artistic form, far from it. We welcome whatever emerges and interact with it to discover what messages it has for us. 

Why are there more than one price option for your workshops?

We are committed to working towards equity in all of our work. Our tiered pricing is part of that effort and allows participants to choose a price level that best fits their financial situation. We encourage registrants to pay at the highest rate possible for them, as each extra dollar helps to support those paying the lower rate. However, we understand that NYC is a very expensive city, and our highest priority is to offer quality arts experiences to as many people as possible. 

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