From Grounding to Common Ground: Exploring the Art for Peace Group as a Contemplative Practice

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Bryan-Jacobs, Elizabeth
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
From Grounding to Common Ground is a qualitative research study that explored the potential of the Art for Peace group as a creative, contemplative practice. As an organizing element, this paper referred to the widely used Tree of Contemplative Practices, created by Maia Durer in 2004 as a qualitative research project for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society using convenience sampling drawn from Art for Peace attendees, four, one-hour virtual interviews asking a single, open-ended question were conducted. Through a phenomenological lens, and applying tenets of qualitative, contemplative inquiry, the lived experiences of Art for Peace attendees were investigated. They were explored in relation to contemplative practice, teasing out effectiveness, relational components, and synchronicities (i.e., common ground) among them. The results indicated that Art for Peace can serve as contemplative practice, with far- reaching implications and ideas for future research. This study began with a call for easy access, no-cost practices to support current gaps in mental health services that began with the COVID-19 pandemic and continue today. However, the results offer promise for a much broader call extending to anyone moved to expand their sense of connection, awareness and well-being. These findings aim to contribute to the limited research on creative contemplative practices, as well as shine a light on the art therapy profession.