7 Life Hacks for Artists

7 Life Hacks for Artists
by Brittney Lueck

Artists may not know it, but they are continually at risk due to the hazardous substances they work with to create their works. Understanding the exposures is critical to create a safe art studio. Here are seven ways they can start now.

The chemicals and processes that artists and craftspeople often use in their home art studios can be the same things that pose significant health risks. For artists involved in painting, sculpting, printmaking, glass blowing, ceramics, photography, and metallurgy, hazardous substances are also the same materials they need to create their work.

So what are the things they can do to make their home art studios safe, mitigate exposure, and reduce risk? Here are a few for starters.

Separate your work area from your living area. Many artists work from home, which creates 24-hour exposure to toxins unless properly mitigated. Make sure that where you do your work is not accessible by other family members and you keep proper boundaries between both spaces.

Substitute safer materials for toxic ones. Instead of oil paint, use acrylics or watercolors. This one choice alone eliminates the need for turpentine and paint thinner. If you are processing photographs, focus on black and whites, not color processing. Overall, water-based materials are far safer than working with materials that are solvent-based, or powders.

Check ventilation. This simple task alone can save lives. Make sure that every area in your work area has adequate ventilation and that you aren’t blocking air vents or windows. Buy a window exhaust fan to help release small amounts of vapors and gases. Get a canopy hood for kilns and a spray booth for spraying.

Wear protective clothing, always. Gloves, goggles, respirators, coveralls — Whatever it takes, make sure your body is covered whenever handling toxic substances. And make sure you wash your work clothes separately from your personal clothes or your family’s clothes.

Check how you’re storing materials. Are your powdered materials stored in airtight jars? Are your liquids stored in tightly capped containers? If not, they should be. Also, make sure that all your large containers are stored on the floor or low shelves to prevent potentially disastrous spills.

Remove carpeting. Your workplace should be a dry floor, period. Carpeting or other fabrics on the floor collect dust and absorb spills, which means you’ll be working in a permanent hazard zone.

Be prepared. A fire extinguisher in your work area is a must. The same is true of a fully stocked first aid kid. You’ll also need emergency phone numbers posted in a well lit place.

Brittney Lueck is a wellness fanatic, young mother nature lover and DaoCloud contributor.

How art can reduce anxiety and depression

How art can reduce anxiety and depression
By: Kaitlyn Proctor

The benefits of both making and viewing art have been known for a long time. Studies have repeatedly shown that art can help support mental health, improve the quality of life for dementia patients and even aid with the social and emotional development of people with developmental disorders such as Autism and ADHD. 

More uses for art therapy are still being found, but as it stands there are already a wide range of applications for it and it is helping improve the quality of life for many people. This article will look at how and why art therapy is considered to be so effective at reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.

Viewing art boosts our mood

Even just looking at art, let alone creating it, does wonders for our mood. In fact, anything that has the potential to elicit a sense of wonder and awe, whether it be a beautiful scene of nature or a great work of art, triggers the release of powerful mood enhancing neurochemicals in our brain. 

And it makes sense, given that both art and the natural world are two of the greatest sources of inspiration and motivation for people, particularly when it comes to creative pursuits. According to psychologists “Awe has many important implications for our well-being… Experiencing awe can give us a sense of hope and provide a feeling of fulfilment.”  

Creating art is a meditative process

When immersed in the creative process the mind is much more clear and calm. Needing to pay close attention to detail, as is the case when creating art, helps someone to learn to be more mindful of the present moment. In this sense, art can be viewed as a form of meditation, and much like regular meditation practice, creating art regularly has the effect of training the mind to be more calm, still and focused, and research chows that it can even help increase attention span and reverse the propensity of the mind to wander.

Creation, not destruction

When someone is anxious or depressed, the mind can enter into destructive cycles of worry, fear and negative emotion, which is often related to events that happened in the past or things that could happen in the future. The process of creation however is the antithesis to these destructive tendencies, giving the mind something positive to focus on, and rooting someone in the present moment as opposed to being carried away with unhelpful thoughts and troubling emotions. 

The healing powers of art

Creating art can also help increase motivation and give someone a sense of purpose, it is a rewarding and enjoyable activity that helps to increase feelings of self-appreciation and feelings of self-worth. Any form of art can have these affects, whether it be painting, drawing, textiles or sculpture. However, research shows that moulding objects out of clay is particularly beneficial for people who have suffered trauma or abuse. The physicality and tactility involved in this art form helps to provide release on a physical as well as emotional level. There is no doubt that both creating and viewing art holds great potential for helping people to heal.

TACHP Gallery News

As Streaming Reflections and enLIGHTen come to a close, I am reflecting on the impact it has made. There is a ‘wow’ factor, a true enlightening experience.  The range of wonderment has been wide, from finding adults sitting deep in meditation engulfed in the changing colors of Bert Leveille’s installations, to filling the galleries with inquisitive elementary school students. Usually our gallery is lit with spot lights directed solely on the art, but here you enter a dark ethereal world with spiraling lights. If you haven’t seen it, try to come before June 8th!

Caren Helene Rudman, Curator

And I was lucky enough to host an event at TACHP during this incredible exhibit! BONUS


Can we be TOO busy?

On May 3rd TACHP hosted it’s annual benefit, titled ‘Expanding Our Horizons’. We had food, cocktails, entertainment, activities, a silent auction, two honorees and Channel 5 News anchor, Zoraida Sambolin as guest host. We exceeded our goals, hosted over 250 people and, in general, we considered it a success and all took a deep breath Friday night when it ended.

Then MONDAY we started working on the Festival of Fine Arts (June 22, 23 in front of TACHP, extending to Central and a block east and west). We also had the Wine Stroll, Uncorked, with the Chamber of Commerce and Friday, May 17 (tonight as this is being written), we have the artist reception for Streaming Reflections and enLIGHTen, featuring the work of artist Bert Leveille and many others. Continue reading “Can we be TOO busy?”

Bad News from Amazon – Missed Opportunity

Dear Charity Administrator,

AmazonSmile when it works!

We have just completed AmazonSmile donation disbursements for the 2018 Q4 disbursement cycle to organizations that generated the $5 minimum disbursement amount or more. The Art Center Highland Park (EIN: 36-xxxxxx) will not be receiving a donation this quarter from the AmazonSmile Foundation because your donation balance was less than the $5 minimum disbursement amount. Don’t worry – we will hold your donation and add it to a disbursement in a future quarter. For more details, visit http://org.amazon.com and click on the Receive Donations tab.

Drive more donations to your organization with these two tips:

  1. Receive in-kind donations with AmazonSmile Charity Lists
    Your supporters can donate items directly to The Art Center Highland Park by purchasing from your Charity Lists. You can create multiple Charity Lists and add almost any item sold at Amazon.com. To learn more about Charity Lists, sign in to http://org.amazon.com using your xxxxxxxxx  e-mail address.

    2. Engage your supporters during major shopping holidays
    Many of your supporters do their holiday shopping at Amazon, so it’s a great time to remind them to go to smile.amazon.com to generate donations for The Art Center Highland Park. Plan ahead for the next big holiday: Mother’s Day, on May 12.

Snowbird Specials



Take action againgst the cold! Since so many people take extended time away in the winter – and who can blame them – we’ve created a new series of classes. Snowbird Special classes are shorter and packed with info. The perfect chance to try out a new class and just have FUN!

We’ll be sending out the list soon, but if you’re interested in a course email us at info@theartcenterhp.org, or call Mindy, 847-432-1888,

Open Call for Entry

Beyond the Selfie!

March 1-April 7, 2019

Entry Deadline: February 1, 2019

The Art Center Highland Park (TAC) is searching for work that reaches beyond the traditional concept of a self-portrait. With today’s obsession with “Selfies,” how are artists exploring representations of the self? We are looking for work that pushes the boundaries of expression and interpretations of the theme.
Guest Jurors:Judy Norris & Suzette Bross
Entry Instructions:
  • The entry fee is $35 for 3 pieces of work.
  • All entries must be received by February 1, 2019
  • Open to all media and all artists 18 years and older. No work may exceed 48″ wide (framed) and 70″ length, or be more than 50 lbs. Installations will be considered please describe details.
  • All entries must include an artist statement.
  • Works should be for sale and TAC will retain a commission of 35% for any sales during or as a result of the show.
  • All work must be available for the full duration of the exhibition.
  • All work must be original and may not have been exhibited at TAC previously.
The important dates for the show are as follows:
February 1, 2019: 5:00pm: Entry Deadline
February 7, 2019: Notifications Sent
February 27: Work must be delivered to TAC between 9:00 AM and 5 PM.
February 26, 2019: Shipped artwork must arrive at TAC by this day.
March 1, 5:30-7:30: Opening Reception
April 7: Exhibition Closes
April 9: Art Pick Up