A case study on mindfulness based art making and teaching

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McKey, Caitlyn Comeaux

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Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by being fully aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings in the present moment. This study used a case study methodology to investigate how one teaching artist incorporated mindfulness in studio and teaching practices. To answer the central research question, the researcher collected data through a semi-structured interview, participant-observation, and questionnaire. The researcher first conducted an interview with one teaching artist actively using mindfulness-based art making through her professional art work, personal practice, and teaching. The researcher then participated in and observed a meditative drawing class given by the aforementioned teaching artist. The researcher administered a short 11 question survey to four adult female students in the teaching artist’s meditative drawing class. In vivo coding was used to analyze the data collected from the interview, participant-observations, and the surveys. Mind mapping was also used in analyzing the themes that emerged from all three sets of data collected. The results of this study indicate that the teaching artist in this study incorporates mindfulness in her studio practice by creating time and space for the practice, separating her professional artwork from her meditative drawing practice, and allowing the practice to grow. She integrates mindfulness in her teaching through setting clear guidelines for her students, maintaining a mindful tone and environment for students, and by using reminders from her own personal experience with mindful-based art making. The hopes of the researcher are that this study will encourage others in the field of art education to pursue the exploration of mindfulness-based art making as a practice for personal and professional use, as well as the use of mindfulness-based art making within future studies



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