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Studio Padres

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Why "Pardes"?

History of Studio Pardes

After twenty years as an art therapist I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation, The Power of the Image, as a sort of manifesto against what I experienced as the 'clinification' of art therapy. In 1995 I co-founded The Open Studio Project in Chicago along with Dayna Block and Deborah Gadiel. Our intention was to make art and be of service. The opening of OSP coincided with the publication of my first book; Art is a way of knowing (Shambhala, 1995). During the six years we worked together we were gifted with the Studio Process of art making guided by intention and witness. These are concepts I wrote about in Art as a way of knowing but which became actualized as a reliable creativity practice and a form of action meditation, through our work with groups at OSP and my continuing work with students at Prescott College, in my studio classes in Ojai and in workshops around the world.
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Dayna, Deborah and I have each taken the Studio Process wholeheartedly into our lives as artists. Dayna continues to direct Open Studio Project in its new home in Evanston where it thrives as a non-profit social service community art studio. Deborah provides the Studio Process at Pilsen-Little Village Community Mental Health Center to a wide variety of clients and both Deborah and Dayna train and supervise interns in the process.

In 2000 I brought the process to my home community of Oak Park, IL and founded the initial version of Studio Pardes in a storefront in the Harrison St. Arts District. For four years I taught the Studio Process and experimented with community art projects with much joy and many wonderful fellow artists. Examples of this work are described in my book Art is a spiritual path (Shambhala, 2005).

After much soul searching I closed the space in 2004 to spend more time creating my own art, learning video, writing and thinking about the Studio Process, and traveling to teach it in retreats and intensive workshops in diverse locations.

I chose the name "Studio Pardes" because I was seeking a sanctuary after a rough time in my life.

The word "pardes" is originally Aramaic and now Hebrew for "garden" and refers to the Garden of Eden. In Kabbalah the letters of the word refer to the four states of reality.

See Rabbi David Cooper's book God is a Verb.


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