What are Expressive Arts?

"Expressive arts is about offering a safe, sacred, non-evaluative space to express."


~ Marta Davidovich Ockuly

 Founder of  the "Joy of Quotes"


An expressive arts facilitator designs and initiates spontaneous/expressive creative processes for people. 


The act of creating art spontaneously is therapeutic in itself as it encourages honest self-expression that is free of social judgment or criticism. The expressive arts also facilitate a natural emotional release and interrupts stuck patterns of thought.


Expressive Arts Facilitators, however, do not diagnose or interpret a client's art or creative self-expression, and do not offer therapy. However, facilitators can invite the client's personal responses to their expressive art by providing encouraging, accepting and affirming space for honest self-expression.


The aim of the expressive arts facilitator is to provide safe, caring and accepting space for people to experiment with spontaneous art, poetry, dance, sculpture, music and moreCritiques are never made about the aesthetics of the art. Participants are invited to express their honest thoughts and emotions as they relate to their creative self-expression.


Enjoy this growing list of ideas as shared on the Facebook group Expressive Arts Facilitation. See #expressiveartsdirectives on FB

1. Art Material Explorations



1. Styrofoam Plate Monoprinting 


A fun and economical way to use styrofoam plates in monoprinting! Watch this video to learn how to create your unique, reusable designs for Gelli printing!


Watch the video HERE





2. Process Art For Children


50 open-ended art projects for children. Process art allows kids to explore and create freely and play with art materials.  Because there isn't a set goal, process art also doesn't get "old".  Kids can repeat the same project many times and will create different end-products each time.     Read More HERE.




3. Glue Drawing with Chalk


This project can be can be easily adapted to any age or skill level. The glue is not always predictable. Sometimes surprises happen when the glue is drying.  Expressive results are practically guaranteed! 


Read More HERE...


4. Pulled String Art


Create mirrored string prints from paint covered string. Cut a piece of string and add it to the bowl of paint. Use a spoon or your finger to stir it around, covering the string in paint. Then lift the string out of the paint, running your thumb and forefinger along the length of the string to remove excess paint.






5. Expressive Hot Glue Stencils


A You Tube tutorial on how to make expressive hot glue stencils as inspired by Artist Traci Batista go HERE.



6. Tile Monoprinting


Tile Monoprint - Using smooth, glazed ceramic floor tiles, this expressive exercise in colour exploration is great for children, and could also be an intriguing ground for an intuitive painting.    






7. Pour Painting


Using non-toxic pouring medium. Let go of control and let the medium and the pigments play.


Of course, the more you explore it, the more control you have – but never like you would with a brush.


Read More....



8. Magazine Transfer Prints


It is sometimes helpful to have a starting point for the expressive arts process. These magazine prints could provide an intriguing ground for further expressive drawing and painting explorations.


Watch the Video....

Spontaneous Art Explorations


9. Paint Blob Creatures


Using liquid acrylic ink to make ink blobs, after about an hour of drying, each person in the art group is invited to choose one, and using a black permanent marker, transform it into a creature. Read More...




10. Spirit Dolls


Explore what is needed or wanted though this spirit doll tutorial based on Maureen Murdock's workbook "A Heroine's Journey".  Read More...





11. Overlapping Figure Tracing to Abstract Expressive Painting - A fun spontaneous group mural exercise!




12. Round Robin Art Making


Art therapist Sara Roizen shares how to bring disconnected individuals together, in the creation of a shared experience through shared art making.



Meditative Art Projects


13. Mandala Stone Tutorial - The detailed, dotted patterns invite a focused and meditative creative process. A great way to create a personally meaningful talisman to carry around or place on an altar.



Art Therapy Exercises



14. Art Therapy with Dollar Store Materials


Art therapist Lisa Mitchell offers 3 art therapy activities using dollar store materials to increase resilience. 1. Beneficial Word Marble, 2. Beneficial Unblocking Collage, 3. Beneficial Brain Worm. Read More...



15. Hands - Past and Future


Tracing hands is such is great expressive arts starter. Implementing the tracing of both hands - I enjoyed looking at this detailed response to the invitation to reflect upon the past and create hope for in the future.






16. Tracking and Naming Grief Through Colour & Collage


Name, and track the shifting emotions of grief through color coding and tissue paper collage. 



Self-Care Projects



17. Soothing Box


The soothing box is meant to hold treasures of 5 senses; it includes chosen items that appeal to our different senses of smell, touch, taste, hearing and sight.