March 17th-19th 2023 was the 13th annual Art of the Belly festival at the Carousel hotel in Ocean City Maryland.
This was my first belly dance festival/conference. There were workshop intensives for participants from top belly dancers in the nation.
There were amazing vendors, selling beautiful costumes, jewelry, and other amazing things. I sold prints of my art and did intuitive henna! It was such a beautiful weekend.
Healing Power of Belly Dancing
I was able to attend a few performances and it was such a heart opening experience. To see women dancing freely, alone or together, was so empowering! I learned about a new book called Grandmother’s Secrets: The Ancient Rituals and Healing Power of Belly Dancing. I am excited about reading this amazing book to look deeper into the healing power of this dance.
Thank you Crystal for inviting me to the festival and for sharing your space with me. I am blessed to know you! <3 Check out Crystals online shop for amazing garments and treasures!
The National Art Education Association Town Hall is a monthly panel discussion where educators come together to discuss a topic. Our topic was Leading with Creativity. NAEA and Crayola teamed up for the 75th anniversary of NAEA. They developed Creativity Week in January, and invited 75 teachers from around the world to be Creativity Ambassadors, I was one of the 75. James Wells, Crayola’s Education Manager, was leading the discussion and invited me to participate in the conversation.
Lauren E. Burrow, Associate Professor of Education Studies, Stephen F. Austin State University
Raine Dawn Valentine, Art Educator, Ridgely Middle School; Adjunct Instructor, Notre Dame of Maryland University
Mari Atkinson, Instructor, Shack Art Center; Student Teacher Supervisor, Western Washington University
Here is the recording of the discussion! My part starts at 42:00 <3
Leading with Creativity
When I got the email about the town hall and the topic of discussion I was really excited! Even more so when I received our questions and saw what I was being asked to share. Talking about how creativity is spirituality, is one of the things I am most passionate about. I love leading my live with this mindset. I had so much to say during the town hall but only had a short amount of time! So I decided to write about everything I wanted to say.
Creativity is the use of our imagination, original ideas. Creativity is Spirituality, which is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit… which is the seat of our emotions and character. Our emotions are a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood or relationships with others.
Leading with Spirituality
Art making is inherently spiritual. Art is the expression or application of human creative skill or imagination. To express is to convey a thought or feeling and make them know. We express ourselves through relationships with others, nature and the divine… connecting through sharing, reflecting and celebrating.
Creating is the means by which I form my identity and self. Through self reflection, self awareness and self actualization, I create and live. My art practice is a way of seeing, understanding and conveying what I see, feel and hope for.
I do this through my choice of ritual. Through maintaining a life if intention. Choosing my daily ritual for the highest good, then celebrating the rewards the commitment and intention will bring. Actions Rewards Truth. A.R.T.
In the teachings of the Annishinabe creativity plays a huge part in the role of original man. Waynaboozhoo was lowered to the earth and give the responsibility to name all the things. He was building relationships with all things, and learning how to see himself through different perspectives. He learned to create a canoe from the beaver, and learned to swim from the fish. He also learned about the beauty in creation and destruction, and about life and death. Through his observations with the world, and his ability to creatively live, Waynaboozhoo survived and learned many things.
He lived life creatively, to recognize every moment as a moment to reflect and form our identities which are ever changing and forming. It is our job to live creatively, and find ways as humans to keep creating a life we desire. Creativity looks like exploring, experimenting, questioning, expressing and reflecting. Laughter, learning, and love. Where we remember we are all connected. That our places in this life are just a valuable and necessary as the next.
When we start to live creatively we stop from living out of fear. I start turning the fear energy into trust and knowing. We start to allow ourselves to be vulnerable with each other, and to open up and share. When we share with each other we remember how connected we are.
The annual Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education Conference was held in Ocean City Maryland February 3rd-5th, 2023. The theme of the conference this year was Be Green, Learn Green, Live Green.
What does it mean to Be Green?
Green is a term used for being environmental friendly. It refers to keeping our earth healthy and clean. Being green means respecting our environment by keeping it clean and not leaving trash around, while using our resources in the right way, without wasting them.
MAEOE is a wonderful organization that helps schools in Maryland to be Green Schools. This is my school’s 4th year recertifying as a green school. In order to do the application for our recertification we have to collet data on how our school is green! The MAEOE conference is one way that I bring back information and ideas on ways our school can thrive in being green.
Landscape Design for Nature Educators
The first workshop I attended at the conference this year was a landscape design workshop! I was super excited about it because as an art educator, I haven’t had much learning about landscaping, planting or designing gardens. Though as the green school coordinator, who has won a few grants for our school for environmental projects, it would greatly help me plan for outdoor gardens at our school.
I learned so much from this workshop. The presenters gave us all a folder of information about native plants, which shared when to plant and where. We also learned a lot about how to work with the stakeholders at our school, because it is a team effort to keep these gardens going.
Another amazing workshop was about dealing with the anxiety and grief that can come from the state of our ecosystem. It is vital to grieve… to release the ideas we have of what we expect. We come at the world with a negativity bias, which helps us survive through lifetimes. But it is important to see into the present moment… using nature to help us regulate our emotions in the now. We can visit the past and the future, but we should not live there. Practicing gratitude intentionally. We created nature mandalas and did a thought experiment called Future Beings! Such a great session.
I am excited that I get to be apart of such a wonderful team of people who love spending time with nature, and really see the value of connecting with the earth. Being the green school coordinator at my school allows me such amazing experiences and opportunities to learn more ways to remind people we are all connected. I love making connections at these events, because it allows us to create better experiences for our students while working with other passionate educators.
Arts education refers to the teaching and learning of various forms of art, including music, theater, visual arts, and dance. It aims to develop creativity, self-expression, critical thinking, and cultural awareness among students.
Anti-racism refers to the practice of actively opposing and dismantling racism in all its forms, including systemic, institutional, and individual racism. It involves recognizing and challenging racist attitudes, beliefs, and practices, as well as promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Arts Education Anti-Racism Symposium 2023
Art Education in Maryland Schools’ 3rd Annual Arts Education Symposium on Anti-Racism focused on exploring ways to incorporate anti-racism principles and practices in arts education.
I have taken the role of Equity Liaison at my school, and being apart of the NAEA CAN network, I am excited to bring my perspective into the conversation about how the Arts helps to heal and transform.
The symposium was a wonderful experience of self care, social emotional learning, and cultural proficiency discussions. One of the best parts was listening to Paula Liz from Anti-Racist Art Teacher!
Overall, the symposium aimed to provide a platform for educators, artists, researchers, and advocates to share insights, experiences, and strategies for creating more equitable and just education system through the arts. If you are interested in learning more ways to celebrate diversity and have a more inclusive space, please reach out.
Anti-Racism is really a matter of looking within at your own experiences and how we accept our paths, find gratitude in our experiences, and learn from our mistakes, all while knowing others are a valuable part of our growth… and we are in this together. That is what my ancestors mean by Respect, knowing we are all parts of the whole.
January 23rd – 29th, 2023 is Crayola Creativity Week! We are celebrating at Ridgely Middle School by doing creativity week activities in our STAG advisory groups. I am so excited about what the students will create today.
I am especially excited about today’s lesson, which is based around Native American Dancing! I recently completed a painting that shows my personal journey with Native American dancing. This painting is called Reign Fancy, and it shows a female native fancy dancer.
Author Ria Thundercloud and illustrator, Kalila Fuller, will share their book, Finding My Dance. As students hear Ria’s story, they’ll be moved to connect culture, identity, and self-expression. From pow wows to traditional regalia, Ria will captivate students with her remarkable journey. Then they can draw and illustrate nature-inspired patterns and dance poses, making their art dance on paper with Kalila J. Fuller!
After watching the video, students will create their own drawings of traditional regalia, or dancing from their own cultures. This is a great way to get to know your students and share the arts from other cultures.
Take pictures of what your students create and post them on social media with the hashtag #CrayolaCreativityWeek and you could win prize packs from Crayola!
Fancy is such an interesting word. In my mind when I hear the word fancy I think dressed up, but fancy means a lot more than just how nice something looks.
Fancy is defined as: elaborate in structure or decoration, also created from the imagination rather than from life. It comes from the word Fantasy, which comes from Greek phantasia ‘imagination, appearance’, later ‘phantom’, from phantazein ‘make visible’.
When you are fancy, you decorate or rather make with your imagination. To be fancy is to make your imagination visible.
Reign is the quality of prevailing and overcoming opposing forces, to live with sovereignty which is a state of self governing.
Reign Fancy was painted using my imagination. Imagination is the action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
Bringing my imagination to life through the use of my intuition, I created this painting without knowing exactly what it was going to be.
I first began with a lotus flower shape, and slowly added layers of colors while flipping the canvas different directions. Slowly I started to see a woman figure from the flower and realized it was an indigenous fancy dancer.
When I was young we would go to powwows and I would dance the fancy dance category. Fancy dance, or shawl dance was first a men’s dance but after a while women adapted it. The women’s fancy shawl dance represents the opening of a cocoon when the butterfly emerges. The shawl is usually the most extravagant piece. The fringed shawls are colorful and flashy, often featuring embroidery or ribbon work. The fringe on the shawl have movement that coincides with the dancer.
The fancy dancers shawl represents the wings of the butterfly. The butterfly is a metaphor for transformation and hope; across cultures, it is a symbol for rebirth and resurrection, for the triumph of the spirit and the soul over the physical prison, the material world. Among the ancients, is an emblem of the soul and of unconscious attraction towards light.
When I dance I imagine that I am swirling energy up into the ether vibrating peace, love, unity, harmony, balance and bliss. I feel supported by the energy of those who came before me, the energy of lives lived on this land. The rituals of everyday life, charging the land with intention.
When I dance I feel uplifted by the energies around me, and it feels like a new dawn.
Spirit Name, Raining in the Dawn woman
At age 11 my parents sent my sister and I to North Dakota. While out there we receive our Spirit names from our tribes medicine woman in a naming ceremony. As my name was being presented to me, our giiwa had to take a moment to explain that it was unusual for our Ojibwe Spirit names to be the same as our Christian names. She said that Creator told my mother to name me Raine Dawn because that was who I am. My Ojibwe name is Raining in the Dawn woman. When I think of what Raining in the Dawn means about who I am… there is no shortage of synchronicities, it is who I am.
As this painting emerged I felt the true meaning of raining in the dawn… rising above into a new dawn. Dawn is the beginning of a phenomenon or period of time, especially one considered favorable. Dawn is to come into existence.
When I think of raining I think of the purification rain brings. I think of the ions in the atmosphere and how they change before and after a storm. How they rebalance themselves to bring back equilibrium.
The title evolved through all of this as the painting unfolded. I decided to use the word reign over rain because I’ve always had the inclination to think of the word reign just as much as rain. Being able to prevail in any situation, to have a growth mindset, is one of the most important things in my life.
Lets all reign in the dawn of our own lives.
If you’re interested in purchasing a print of this painting you can go to my Etsy Account here.
The new year, 2023 is the year of the water rabbit. The energy is strong in Capricorn. New beginnings, grounded energy and what actions we must take in order to be clear on what we intend.
Sometimes we might have to go backwards in order to go forward. Reflection is key to self awareness and self actualization. So what do we want? What intentions do we want to set for this new cycle?
Check where Capricorn is in your chart. What house is Capricorn in, and possibly what planets. This is the place where new beginnings will be strongest.
Mercury is also in retrograde. Which will have us revisiting our foundations and getting things going. A feeling of motivation and excitement will be felt.
The first quarter moon is where we would like to change, grow or expand. Allow yourself to dream and imagine what it might be like to make a change, even if it doesn’t seem positive right now.
Chinese New Year
This is the new year of the water rabbit! A fortuitous year. According to Chinese astrology, this Chinese New Year starts on 22 January 2023 and ends on 9 February 2024. The year 2023 is symbolized by longevity, peace, prosperity, benevolence and fertility.
Spend time reflecting on where and how you desire for these themes to show up in your life. Set your intentions, and list actions you will take to achieve those desires.
Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present moment and being fully present in the experience. It is a form of meditation that can be practiced in many different ways, including through art.
You can bring this mindfulness to any task. I enjoy reminding myself of it when I have to do the dishes or fold laundry. Being present in the moment and really being aware of the now.
Art can be a powerful tool for mindfulness because it allows us to slow down and focus on the present moment. When we create art, we are fully present in the process of creating, whether we are drawing, painting, sculpting, or engaging in any other form of artistic expression. This focus on the present moment can help to calm the mind and bring a sense of peace and clarity.
Benefits of Mindfulness
In addition to the benefits of mindfulness, art can also be therapeutic. It allows us to express our emotions and experiences in a way that words may not be able to. It can be a way to process and make sense of difficult experiences, as well as a way to celebrate and appreciate the beauty in our lives.
There are many different ways to incorporate mindfulness and art into your life. One simple way is to set aside a dedicated time each day for art-making. You can start with just a few minutes and gradually increase the amount of time as you become more comfortable with the practice. You can also try incorporating mindfulness into your art-making by focusing on your breath and the present moment as you create.
Another way to incorporate mindfulness and art is to find a local art class or workshop that focuses on mindfulness. These classes can be a great way to learn new techniques and connect with other people who are interested in mindfulness and art.
Mindful Moments in 2023
In 2023 I will be hosting more Healing Hands workshops, as well as Artist Open Studio nights. Excited about all that 2023 has to offer, and receiving all that is mine by divine right, in perfect ways under grace.
Incorporating mindfulness and art into your life can have numerous benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, improved focus and concentration, and increased self-awareness and self-expression. So why not give it a try? Find a form of art that resonates with you and start exploring the wonderful world of mindfulness and creativity.
Use the new year energy to begin including art into your daily rituals. Consider doing a neurographic drawing during your morning coffee, or prayers. Or finish out your day by drawing out all of the energy from the experiences you had, onto paper. No end result in mind, just simply allowing the energy to flow through you and the art materials into the paper. Releasing it.
Here are a few links of different activities you can try:
Social emotional learning (SEL) is a relatively new area of study in education that focuses on teaching students the skills they need to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as to interact with others in a positive and effective way. Many believe that SEL is just as important as academic subjects like math, science, and reading, and that it is crucial for students to develop these skills in order to succeed in school and in life.
SEL is not just about teaching students how to be happy and well-adjusted – it is also about helping them to develop the skills they need to manage stress and difficult emotions, to communicate effectively with others, to make responsible decisions, and to solve problems. By teaching students these skills, we can help them to build strong, healthy relationships, and to align with and achieve their goals.
One of the key components of SEL is the emphasis on building strong relationships. This means teaching students how to communicate effectively, how to listen to others, and how to work together in a positive and respectful way. This can be particularly important in today’s world, where students are increasingly isolated and disconnected from one another, and where they are often exposed to negative influences on social media and other online platforms. By teaching students how to build and maintain healthy relationships, we can help them to develop the resilience and support they need to overcome challenges and to thrive. Working with community to critically think and find solutions.
Another important aspect of social emotional learning is the emphasis on helping students to understand and manage their own emotions. This means teaching them how to recognize their own feelings, how to understand the reasons behind those feelings, and how to manage them in a healthy and effective way. This can be particularly challenging for some students, who may struggle with anxiety, anger, or other difficult emotions. By teaching students how to recognize and manage their emotions, we can help them to develop the self-awareness and self-regulation they need to be successful in school and in life.
Social emotional learning (SEL) is an important aspect of education that focuses on helping students develop the skills they need to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as interact with others in a positive and healthy way. SEL has been shown to have a number of benefits for students, including improved academic performance, better mental health, and greater overall well-being.
Imagine what social emotional learning for adults would do to the world. This is such a powerful opportunity to help our children become aware of their power.
One of the key benefits of SEL is that it helps students develop the skills they need to manage their own emotions and behaviors. This is important because students who are able to regulate their emotions and impulses are better able to focus on learning and achieve their academic goals. SEL also helps students develop empathy and understanding of others, which can foster positive relationships and a sense of community within the classroom.
Another benefit of social emotional learning is that it can improve students’ mental health and overall well-being. SEL programs can help students learn coping skills that can reduce stress and anxiety, and can also provide a safe and supportive environment for students to talk about their feelings and experiences. This can be especially important for students who may be struggling with mental health issues or other challenges.
Social emotional learning is increasingly being recognized as an important part of education, and many schools are incorporating SEL programs into their curriculum. If you’re a teacher or parent, there are many resources available to help you incorporate SEL into your classroom or home. And if you’re a student, remember that developing your social and emotional skills can have a big impact on your overall success and happiness.
Learning about your social emotional intelligence only enhances your ability to learn intellectually. Tapping into both sides of the brain for a true holistic living experience.
From mindfulness to meditation, creating and reflecting… Art really lends itself well to addressing our self awareness, social awareness, responsible decision making, self management and relationship skills.
My classroom is full of opportunities to practice social emotional learning. Keeping an eye on not only the artmaking process but also their self awareness and social awareness. How students are interacting with each other, and how they are presenting themselves in their work.
Students are able to reflect on their emotions through mood journals, and neurographic exercises. Students also have moments to come back to the present and focus on their breathing, during our mindfulness moments. We also reflect on our work together as a group, learning how to share and receive respectfully.
To me SEL is all about creating brave spaces. Really spending time experiencing life and figuring ourselves out.
AI stands for ARTificial INTELligence. Art Intel. Let’s dive deeper into the language.
Artificial Intelligence – the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.
Artificial comes from the Latin artificialis, from artificium ‘handicraft’. The definition is made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, especially as a copy of something natural.
Artifice comes from the root words Latin artificium, based on ars, art- ‘art’ + facere ‘make’. The definition says, clever or cunning devices or expedients, especially as used to trick or deceive others.
Intelligence comes from the Latin word intelligentia, from intelligere ‘understand’.
Intelligent comes from the Latin word intelligent- ‘understanding’, and from inter ‘between’ + legere ‘choose’. To choose between something and another thing means to understand that thing.
AI – ART
There has been a lot of talk lately about AI art. From how cool the images are, to how artworks are being loaded into the AI without consent. People all over are taking sides… is AI good or bad. Should we be concerned with AI producing art?
We give power where we give our energy.
There are a few really amazing things you can do with the programs that are available. Creating art has never been so available to all. No skill required, simply input your thoughts or images and AI will do the rest!
I think these programs are great for inspiration. It can be tough to see any good in these programs, however a world of duality brings us experiences that help us to grow and learn more about what we are capable of.
As artists we need to continue to grow in our forms of expression, as we grow as humans.
We get to decide where we put our energies. Do we get caught up in the media hype, of stories that are being fed to us… or do we figure out how to use the tools the universe has given us, to create a world and reality that is aligned with our higher selves.
Intel is information of value. Intelligence is choosing between two options, as in walking the middle way. What do we value? What is the intel that we refer to and believe in. What information is valuable to us? I believe the knowledge of self is the most vital intel there is.
When you have a perspective that sees each experience as an opportunity to thrive rather than just survive, you find all of the tools you need to succeed in living the life you desire.
We are all connected
AI is simply another tool on our evolution through life. If we get caught up in the division and the duality of the experience we will never find the path of least resistance which is the middle way. All things are great to experience in order to learn, grow and share more. That is what life is for after all. To experience and connect with one another through sharing our stories.
There will always be the opposite of what you believe, because that friction is what causes momentum. And when you have intention, you can use that momentum to manifest.