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Meet Kathy Leader of TheArt Process in West Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathy Leader.

Kathy, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In my native country, South Africa, I studied fine art at the University of Cape Town, a profound experience during the days of apartheid. I became fascinated with how creativity is taught and went on to get my masters in art education. After immigrating to California, I taught art and set up art programs in various schools in Los Angeles. The experience moved me away from the grading of art and more in the direction of the healing power of the art process. I decided to set up my own art program out of my studio, naming it: “The Art Process” as a result of my focus on the process of creativity as opposed to the product. I started teaching children and soon realized that young kids actually are naturally more comfortable with the process of art making than adults are. I then started a program for adults that included mixed media and collage. The aim of the program was to try to liberate artists and non-artists alike from the prejudging that takes place before we even try to create. This inhibits the creative process and stops us from experiencing the meditative flow of creativity. I have built the program up to the point where I now run day long art workshops and weekend retreats. I often include meditation and writing as part of the process of creating. Because I believe so strongly in the transformative power of creativity for ALL people, I have expanded my work into the corporate environment where I feel the benefits are huge. Not only does it improve morale in the workplace but encourages creative problem-solving in various corporate models.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Convincing adults to let go of their preconceptions of what art is supposed to feel and look like has been my biggest struggle. Creating an art studio that does not teach drawing and painting in a traditional way, has turned up quite a few skeptics, those who wish to have a real product of their own or their kids’ work to take home and hang on the wall. Slowly though, the value of what we do in “The Art Process” Studio has not only been understood but FELT in a deep way. Art is an experience that everyone should benefit from. It is an instinctive human impulse as we know from the very early cave painters.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about TheArt Process – what should we know?
“The Art Process” Studio is an art studio that specializes in immersing both adults and kids in the process of art-making. My aim is to allow EVERYONE to experience the power of creativity and it’s healing form of self-expression. I am not a traditional art school and yet the work that comes out of this studio is truly inspirational. The freedom that comes from letting go of preconceptions and fears, allows for explosive artwork. I am so proud of my students who continue to trust in me as an art facilitator while they remain open to new ideas.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My strong passion and belief in the power of the creative process are what has allowed me to build a reputation for nurturing a love and appreciation for art.

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