© 2019 by Amanda Lyons

drawings + photos by Amanda Lyons

(unless stated otherwise)

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Questions people ask

I want DETAILS! What will we do?

FRIDAY

Friday there is an option to arrive by noon for afternoon activities or by 5pm for the official big welcome, introductions, a farm tour, getting settled, and a big dinner.

 

SATURDAY

Saturday we will introduce pieces of the workshop that will continue throughout the weekend. The workshop is part thinking, part drawing, part writing, part telling, part listening, part moving. We’ll start with observation and interacting with nature. We’ll introduce visual thinking and reflection by journaling and making art. This grounds us while encouraging play, expression and fun! We will notice our own body awareness in different ways: yoga, body mirroring, meditation, time spent engaging with the horses and understanding how they communicate. This physical acknowledgement of how we are as bodies and how we move in the world helps us to see ourselves and our roles in the bigger context of our lives.

 

SUNDAY

We’ll spend time playing games, continuing and finishing our art pieces from Saturday and create new ones centered around action. Also, we may take a field trip to a nearby hike or visit Storm King sculpture center or visit the local art museum. These places can inspire us to continue building awareness and seeing our own ways of thinking, making, creating, and living.

 

Some part of the weekend will also have some ‘choose your own adventure’ time based on individual/group wants and part closing. We may do a collective art piece. This piece could be a reflection of our time over the weekend or an intent of what we each want to take forward into the world. We may do individual art action pieces to help inspire us into action. There are a lot of possibilities. We will provide some guidelines and you can choose or create your own project that will be relevant to your work or life. After all the workshop is all about YOU!

 

Our closing will be full of HUGE gratitude and appreciations for you and the community!

 

Our end will also be a beginning. You will walk away with visual thinking tools, new ways to use art at work or home (or how to use specific art materials), an actual piece of art (or two) you’ve created, stories to tell, an experience in communicating with and in the presence of horses, a community of new friends, and more clarity related to HOW you think. You’ll be a little bit stretched!

What will the schedule look like?

Plans always change, depending on the needs of who participates, weather, and other variables. The schedule below is to give you a sense of our intentions. We will feel out the group and adjust for breaks and other needs. Our schedule might look something like this: 

FRIDAY

  5.00 pm - arrival, farm tour + get settled

  7.00 pm - dinner

  8.30 pm - informal chat about what to expect for the weekend

  9.00 pm - close

SATURDAY

  8.30 am - breakfast

  9.15 am - official welcome, introductions + activities

  1.00 pm - yoga

  2.00 pm - lunch

  3.00 pm - activities with the horses + ...

  7.30 pm - dinner

SUNDAY

  8.45 am - morning activity

  9.00 am - yoga 

10.15 am - breakfast

11.00 am - morning activity

  1.30 pm - lunch

  2.00 pm - activities

  4.00 pm - closing activities

  5.00 pm - official close

As we work and play collectively we will uphold emotional and physical safety and hear from all voices with plenty of breaks. We'll balance solo and group activities, followed by reflection time. This allows space for both extroverts ('Let's talk it out') and introverts ('I'm looking for a quiet spot to do some thinking'). Together we'll practice self awareness, art, and yoga. We will meet Heather's horses, Dancer + Fuerza, and learn how horses communicate to each other and us. 

What kind of writing / journaling will we do? 

Peppered throughout the weekend we’ll have journaling opportunities. There will be a  prompt (example: Finish this statement: ‘I felt so creative when…’). You then write quietly for 5 minutes, whatever comes to mind. The idea is to write without stopping. Don’t pick up your pen. There is no right or wrong content for these prompts. You can write fiction by making things up or non-fiction by pulling from your real life. After writing, we generally open the floor so you have the opportunity to share if you want. These writing sessions help us step into a reflective mode to process our experiences throughout the weekend.

How do the horses fit into the weekend? 

You'll meet Dancer + Fuerza, Heather's horses! To give you some context, they spend their time in the pasture across the driveway from the farmhouse and LOVE meeting new people. (She's described their personalities as huge golden retrievers.) We won't be riding them. All activities done near the horses are by participant choice - as are all activities. We may stand near Dancer + Fuerza (in or outside the fence depending on various factors including participant choice) during certain activities. Being in horses' presence requires us as humans to be very aware of ourselves, therefore allowing us to practice our body awareness. Horses are incredibly intuitive animals and can sometimes act as a mirror, allowing us to find insight within ourselves. Some of this is hard to describe, so I'm going to ask you to trust us on this one! Our experiences working with horses in this way have all been touching and insightful! (It's like LOVE, how do you describe that feeling and do it justice?! It can be such an incredible experience.)

What theories/frameworks did you use to build this workshop?

For those who like to geek out on the theories and frameworks behind these creative and innovative activities: we will acknowledge the theories upon which this workshop is built, however won't completely dive into them. That would take weeks! We encourage you to ask questions and are happy to share more about complexity theory, theory U, experiential education, visual thinking and others! What's the experiential education cycle? 

We will follow the experiential education cycle, where we DO something together, REFLECT upon it, and APPLY our learnings to what's next. This is a simplified version of the full theory. We will use this theory and others. In fact, we'll use a mashup format that combines fields such as visual thinking, complexity theory, organization development, architecture, design, environmental justice, experiential education, dialogue and deliberation, yoga, horse communication and….

What if I don't consider myself creative? 

This workshop is definitely for you and just might convince you otherwise! I'm guessing you have some 'art scars' or bad experiences while trying to create that Van Gogh you were aiming for once upon a time? Maybe someone judged your art without asking or you were graded on it in a way that suggested there is only one correct way? It's ok! It's not always about creating something perfect or realistic - there are lots of options. I'll convince you that you have it in you to be creative using your style, whatever that is. It takes some experimenting + playing to begin to find your style and we'll be sure to have fun with it! There will also be some optional mini lessons for building visual thinking + art skills even if the last time you did these was 5th grade. I'll say it again and again: we encourage you to experiment + play!

 

What if I'm already an artist?

Brilliant! If you have experience with art supplies and aren't interested in skill lessons, you can jump right into it using the method of your choice to meet the challenge put before you. 

What shall I bring? 

* Your open mind, and fun loving creative soul! 

 

* Hiking boots or some comparable hardy close toe shoe for spending time in the horse pasture. 

 

* Let's talk clothing! Bring clothes you don't mind potentially getting a little dirty as we will spend time potentially painting, outside, and in the horse pasture. Bring clothes for yoga too - those you can easily stretch and move in. Bring clothing layers for inside + outside. We will spend time outside depending on the weather. The Hudson Valley can get cold quickly if the sun isn't out. There's a possibility we may have a fire at night. Also, if you're staying at the farmhouse, bring layers to sleep in since it can get quite cool at night! You might want wool socks!


* A yoga mat (if you have a mat) + towel (to place under your mat if we're outside). Otherwise, a towel or outside blanket will do! We may have one you can borrow as well... don't go out and buy one - we've got you covered!

 

* We will provide art supplies + writing supplies, however if you have a favorite journal or marker or pen or..., you're welcome to bring it/them along! 

 

* We will provide meals + snacks. If there's a particular snack you would like to bring to share, please do. 

 

Please do NOT bring:  

* PLEASE DO NOT BRING or WEAR PERFUME as some in the group may be allergic to it. Plus it's not good for the animals. 

Who's running this thing?

It's a collaboration between Amanda Lyons and Heather Fagans. Read more on each of them below! 

AMANDA LYONS: "Goodmorning!!!"

 

Lyons can listen, talk and draw for ages, connecting models such as Theory U, creative problem solving methods + whatever challenge you’re currently grappling with towards some new perspective or way of looking at ‘it’ that you couldn’t have imagined without the marker. It's about getting creative with life!
 

Professional credentials include making art AND hosting fun learning workshops AND working with Fortune 500 companies, big and small for profit and not-for-profit as a facilitator in a variety of ways in rooms with 2 to 1000 people. Lyons holds degrees in studio art & english as well as organization development and strategic human resources. Yada yada yada... (more via bio).

 

Ultimately it's about connection + creativity + fun! She focuses on authentically finding meaning and voice through art + body + nature +....  

HEATHER FAGANS: "What's up?!"

Fagans can listen, design & build day and night, connecting process to people, the environment and context in an authentic, fun way. Whether teaching students to see from many literal and figurative angles, telling stories by the firepit, making incredible dinner for her Airbnb guests or spouting off technical architecture terms with colleagues, you'll notice her dynamic personality.

Professionally, Heather Fagans is an Architectural Designer, Urban Designer, and Graphics Designer, using both traditional graphics and advanced computer-based visual communication tools. She has a wide range of architectural experience ranging from high-end residential, multi-family, mixed use, cultural, emergency response, and educational projects; and master planning experience for high-density mixed-use urban projects. In addition to being an architect, Heather has a history as a set designer for theatre and is an equestrian enthusiast. She has taught design to children, teens, and grad students; and once upon a time helped run a horseback riding summer day camp on Martha’s Vineyard. (more via LinkedIn)

Heather will be co-hosting the workshop! She has so much love and deep appreciation for her family farm and it shows! The farm was once run by her grandparents who raised chickens. Now she lives on the farm with her horses Dancer & Fuerza, two cats, four chickens, and the wildlife that lives in the woods. Yay for adventure on the farm everyday! 

I can't make this one. When will you do the workshop again?

We plan to do 2 of these workshops per year in Wallkill, NY (spring + fall). Let us know that you're interested and we'll make sure you are one of the first to know when our next dates come out.

 

Also, we are looking to expand this workshop to other places as well for a total of 6 per year. We're currently looking for partners (potentially with horses) to host in the greater Philadelphia region, the greater Baltimore/DC region, and are open to other locations. Reach out if you might be interested in hosting! 

Past workshops were held June 9 - 12 and October 6 - 8, 2017 and April 27 - 29, 2018. 

Check out the experience via our blog!
https://www.visualsforchange.com/blog/stretch-workshop-highlights

Do you have other questions? Reactions? Desired outcomes?

We would love to hear about them. Please reach out via email: amanda@visualsforchange.com