Art as Healing eCourse: Behind the Scenes

In January, it was a glimmer of an idea: Art as Healing: Beginning an eCourse.  Creating an art as healing eCourse was an overwhelmingly daunting experience for me but with the help of some talented people, the process was actually invigorating.   I want you to meet some of the ones who bolstered my confidence and encouraged this vision – Our Filmmaker, Music-Maker and Art as Healing eCourse Consultant.

Not Just a Videographer but a Film-Maker


We began filming the last week in April.

We began filming the last week in April.

I met Maggie through the our local indie film theater, The Nickelodeon, affectionately called The Nick.  Several years ago, Healing Icons updated it’s website.  Wanting to include some dynamic videos I turned to Andy Smith, The Nick’s executive director, for advice.  Maggie Calton had just finished an internship with The Nick and he was impressed.  I’ve been overjoyed with her talent and sensitivity in capturing an elusive subject – art as healing!  Being in front of the camera was a nerve-racking experience but she put me at ease.  I also knew she was an excellent editor.  I trusted her.  Maggie has captured our story eloquently and crafted the eCourse, Mindful Mandalas, with masterful skill.



Meet Maggie Calton

our talented videographer, Maggie Calton

” Listening to/watching another person’s story from behind a lens is a beautiful process by which I strive to produce a beautiful product. “

I grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina. From a very young age, I was involved in theater.  The stage was the foundation for my love of storytelling which led me to the worlds of photography and film-making.

I earned my BA in Media Arts at the University of South Carolina, where I spent much of my time writing scripts, watching TV, and attending SC’s only nonprofit cinema, The Nickelodeon Theater. I interned for The Nick’s Indie Grits Film Festival where I fell further in love with the independent film community.

After graduating, I spent a year working at a preschool in Nashville, TN where I gathered a whole arsenal of jokes, wisdom, and pseudo facts from 4 year olds.  A lover of long distance running, I dream of traveling to destinations that are gorgeous and full of happy trails.  I’d love to find myself running through the Irish countryside, any of the U.S. national parks, or Hawaii.  Always a lover of exploration and food, I am passionate about finding every city’s ‘best’ pizza place and supporting the local bakery.

My current adventure is attending the University of Texas at Austin, where I will be earning an MFA in screenwriting with the Radio Television Film graduate department.

Happy trails to Maggie and I hope she is available when we begin filming our next e-Course.


Not Just Background Sounds but a Music-Maker

Original music for our art as healing eCourse?  Sure.  I’d love that but I wasn’t certain that was within our budget.  Maggie was way ahead of me and had already lined up a colleague of hers.  I think he nailed it!  Introspective, sacred tones that segue into joyous celebration.

Meet Thomas Keim

The composer of our art as healing eCourse: Mindful Mandala's "soundtrack."

The composer of Mindful Mandalas “soundtrack.”


Thomas grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He immersed himself in music at a very young age. It all began with the drums, which led to jamming with the kids down the street, which led to several more self-taught instruments, which led to countless musical adventures and collaborations.

Thomas is now fresh out of the Belmont University songwriting program in Nashville, TN.  Having grown up steeped in pop-punk and rock, Thomas can now confidently write you a country song, too.  How cool is that!

He listens to everything, but some musical heroes include The National, Conor Oberst, and Joanna Newsom. He has collaborated many times now with Maggie in scoring some of her short films and media projects–he’s excited to see how his musical take on Creating Brave merges with the inspiring visuals.


Not Just a Proofreader but an Art as Healing eCourse Consultant

Although I’ve been teaching art as healing to adult cancer survivors for over 20 year, translating this knowledge into an eCourse was a different animal.   I knew my friend and colleague, Christy Clonts, had the breadth of expertise I needed.  She wholeheartedly agreed to be part of this project.   I wrote the curriculum.  We’d talk, discuss and fine tune.  She’d critique and I’d revise.  Maggie and I’d film and sequence the lessons.  She’d critique and I revise.  I will forever be grateful for her invaluable insight and clarity!

Meet Christy Clonts

Christy Clonts follows her curiosities, gathering, cultivating, researching, trying out all things that interest her!

Christy Clonts follows her curiosities, gathering, cultivating, researching, trying out all things that interest her! She is a Wisdom Scout.

I am a holistic life coach, a teacher, a writer, a speaker, a celebrant, a maker of things artful and creative, a yogini, and a pretty decent cook. I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother and was the caregiver for my elderly parents, a midwife to their time of dying. I am a creator of sanctuaries for birds and human beings, a gardener of plants and possibilities.

Gathering, cultivating, researching, trying out, and discerning the effectiveness of healthy, healing, soulful practices from across times, cultures, and teachers is one half of my vocation, my calling.  The other half includes making these healing ways of being accessible and of benefit to others.

I love designing and creating beautifully engaging learning experiences and curriculum, for example:

  • “How to Be a Healing Presence” for the national nonprofit which profides support for caregivers, Leeza Gibbon’s Memory Foundation and Leeza’s Care Connection
  • Creative Art and Writing Retreats (for small groups and various organizations)
  • Mindfulness for Emotional Balance and Focusing Attention (for educators and parents)

I have spent 35 plus years as an educator of children, adolescents, parents, teachers, community members, instructional coaches, and administrators, having served as a teacher, an organizational director, an instructional/leadership/life coach, a state level leader, a university lecturer, and a private consultant.  I have a B.S. in Special Education for children with emotional, behavioral, and learning disturbances as well as an M Ed., with a cognate in guidance.


A Different Kind of eCourse: Mindful Mandalas

Held within this beautifully orchestrated art as healing eCourse is more than just instructions on how and why to create mandalas.  Once a week for eight weeks, you will not only receive beautifully filmed  instructional videos with downloadable PDF’s that reinforce the weeks lesson but a series of questions that will assist you in unearthing the layers beneath what you have created.  You will have a conversation with your mandalas.  They will gently guide you, support you, surprise you and fill you with restorative joy and peace and inner calm.

Is your curiosity piqued?

What is it that draws you to this eCourse?




  1. Deana Rennick on August 31, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Beautiful article and introduction. So glad you are doing this!

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on September 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks Deana. Can’t wait for you to see what’s been created. It is very exciting.

  2. Jean Parker on September 1, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Looking good, Heidi!

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on September 6, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks Jean. I know you’d enjoy this. Stay tuned and help us spread the word!

  3. Donna McGreevy on September 10, 2016 at 4:15 am

    I cannot wait to experience the finished product. I hope this will reach as many people as possible. I will be spreading the word as soon as it’s available.

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on September 12, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Donna, we are launching Creating Brave: Mindful Mandalas in January 2017. Stay tuned to our social media as will be having some contests celebrating our first eCourse.

  4. Michelle Baker on September 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    ECourses like this are going to make learning, growing and healing available to so many more people. Thank you for doing this and with such an amazing team.

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on September 12, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks Michelle. We are so all excited to reach a broader audience.

  5. Erin Mahar on September 12, 2016 at 1:19 am

    I am very much looking forward to this and really hope I haven’t missed it. I need guides to be able to start. I’m stuck in such an awful holding pattern in life, I desperately need a jumping off place. Please keep me posted. Thank you!

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on September 12, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Erin, you have not missed it. We will be launching in January. Starting next month, our social media platforms – Facebook and Instagram – will be posting some specific information about our healing practices. There will be some inspiring PDFs that you can download. They will lead you through a few of our favorite ways to step your toes into art as healing. So stay tuned.

  6. Dee Appleby on September 26, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    “You can’t teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.” a quote by Seymour Papert
    You have done a wonderful job bringing this information together. Job well done.

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on September 26, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks Dee! We are very excited about sharing our mission and vision with the world.

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