Amy Hautman Bates
Artist Looks Beyond the Canvas
I grew up in a family of artists and worked as a professional painter in studios and galleries for thirty years. Making art has always been my way of fitting in the world. I never knew anything different. But it was through teaching art that I came to understand the healing potential of creating. I watched people discover things, reveal themselves, explore possibilities, claim their voice and open up new ways of experiencing life through paint! In witnessing other’s transformations, I began to look beyond my little canvas. Instead of focusing on my own art, I saw that I could nurture creativity in others and possibly be of greater service in the world.
I believed in a holistic approach to health and wellness. I wanted to know more about how art making could be used as therapy. I always thought of painting as a way of expanding consciousness and a way of healing, but I couldn’t quite imagine how a clinical application of creativity would look.
When I discovered Southwestern College in Santa Fe, it sounded too good to be true. I had found a group of people who spoke my language and they had nailed it down enough to stand as a legitimate institution of higher learning! It was hard to believe that I could earn actual credentials exploring consciousness, art, life, love and the mystery of it all!
It felt pretty risky, convincing my husband to uproot, selling everything, giving up a chunk of my art career and moving across country, to undertake something completely new, (and unpaid)! At our age, most people are solidly in place. But we broke loose.
We have been in New Mexico a year now and every morning I wake up and look at the vast skies that say, “Ah, yes…. you get to have another day here”. And every evening, at sunset, I say, “Thank you”.
— Amy Hautman Bates