Art as Healing: Beginning an eCourse

An art as healing eCourse

This is the group who decided we needed to go global – our wonderful board of directors.

When I first heard the words eCourse, I panicked.

After serving our local area for 20 years, I knew we had a Solid Mission and our board wanted us to have a Global Vision!  We’ve ushered thousands of cancer survivors through our offerings.  We’ve helped change lives and wanted to extend our reach beyond South Carolina.  

Agata and Deana, our enthusiastic twenty-something year old board members, had an easy fix.  “We need our very own art as healing eCourse.”    They assured me that we could do it! Fantastic idea but HUGELY INTIMIDATING.   As a small organization with no paid staff, I just didn’t see how we could possibly pull this off.  Ideas are easy but the detailed planning, precise budgeting and focused implementing seemed overwhelming.


Life is too short to let fear make big decisions for you.

Life is too short to let fear make big decisions for you.

Just Do It!

A familiar feeling kept nagging at me.  It was fear, the fear of failure.   As a visual artist, I know this feeling all too well.  Every time I start a new series of art work or dream about a life change, the voice of fear rises up.  I wrestle with it and eventually come back around to trust what my heart is telling me to do.

Many times the new idea does not seem “rational” but it is the continual tug from my inner voice that eventually wins.  I love to take chances and jump into the fire. Though developing an eCourse is certainly not a new idea, it is a terrifying one to me.  In my heart of hearts, I do feel like the world would love this!  Plus I think it will be a whole lot of fun.

I told myself that the only failure was not to try.



Midlands Gives was a fantastic resource for our eCourse development.

Midlands Gives was a fantastic resource for us!

So we began.  Last year, we slowly started a fundraising campaign for our very first e-course.

Healing Icons participated in the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s Midlands Gives.  This 24-hour online giving event, brings our region together as one community, raising money and awareness for local nonprofits in 11 Midlands counties.  I attended the Midlands Gives training sessions and our board prepared for a social media drive.  We were committed and we were successful, thanks to all our generous supporters!

We raised some funds and I got started.  Our wonderful Web Designer, Eric Parton of Lithoco, has a terrific plan on how to make this all work in cyberspace.  Our incredible Nashville based videographer Maggie Calton, who produced our website “shorts,” is on board to film in April.

I am digging into programming. So many art practices to consider.  Oh the possibilities. My list making began and it is long.  I have landed on Mandalas, a perfect place to start and will spend the month of March writing the “script.”

Midlands Gives comes around again on May 3.  We want to launch our very first eCourse this fall and we need to raise $40,000 to make this happen!

The beginnings of our eCourse are taking shape but my biggest fear and the highest mountain to climb is Marketing. 

Marketing Fears

Everyone knows how incredibly expensive it is to hire an advertising firm to create a marketing plan.   We do not even have a marketing budget so how the heck we were going to market this baby of ours?   I was in overwhelm mode putting all the parts and pieces together for our 20th anniversary celebration when I remembered CreateAthon. A quick google search informed me that the deadline was in three days.  I put my nose to the grindstone and submitted the application on the third day!  In October, the news was delivered.  We were honored and thrilled to be awarded a spot in Riggs Partners CreateAthon.

Marketing plan by Rigss CreateAthon.

“We should work around the clock once in a while,” said Cathy Monetti, during a late summer night in the studio. “Then maybe we could get ahead.” “Yes, we should,” Teresa Coles agreed, with the look of a brainstorm on her face. “But we should do it for charity.”

I can’t even begin to tell you how impressed I am with these two women, Cathy Monetti and Teresa Coles,  and that a small exchange between these two founders of Riggs Partners resulted in CreateAthon 1998.

CreateAthon is a 24-hour, work-around-the-clock creative blitz during which marketing, advertising and public relations firms provide nonprofit marketing services on a pro bono basis.

Since the program’s creation by Riggs Partners in 1998, 101 organizations in North America and Europe have participated in the CreateAthon network, holding CreateAthon events in their respective markets. It’s an effort that has impacted more than 1,600 nonprofit organizations, delivering more than 3,500 projects valued at more than $20.5 million.

Our Awesome CreateAthon Team

We met with our “team” several times before the October 22rd 24-hour CreateAthon to answer their questions about our eCourse.  They were impressed with our logo and website (thank your Eric Parton) as well as our videos (thank you Maggie Calton)!  We could not wait to see what they designed for us. On Friday October 23rd, Michelle and I met with our team for the “roll-out.”   Keep in mind this incredible group had been up creating for 24 hours!

Gathered around a conference table with our whole team, the mind-blowing, over the top professional presentation was presented by Will Weatherly.  Each team member spoke as their segment of the plan was unveiled.  We were beside ourselves.  Michelle and I kept glancing at each other with disbelief, overjoyed and filled with appreciative gratitude!  At the end of the presentation, we were given a very detailed how-to notebook and the digital files were being sent to us via Dropbox.

As Michelle and I stood in the parking lot after the meeting, we starred at each other, wide-eyed and overwhelmed.  All the pieces were coming together.

Now it was time to really roll up our sleeves and get to work!

Our 21st year was going to be filled with our Global Vision, our very own eCourse!

Michelle Baker, our board chair, and I are with our fantastically creative team - Will Weatherly - George Fulton - Jillian Owens - Taylor Craig - Cathy Monetti - Tim Floyd - Umair Khan - Teresa Coles

Michelle Baker, our board chair, and I are with our fantastically creative team – Cathy Monetti and Teresa Coles (on the left) – Will Weatherly (our team leader on the far right) – George Fulton – Jillian Owens – Taylor Craig – Tim Floyd – Umair Khan.

Creating Brave™ with Heidi Darr-Hope

A six week course eCourse tapping into the healing power of creative expression

Circles of Healing: Exploring the art of mindful mandala making.

Ask your gut instinct, your intuition to come out and play.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about our upcoming eCourse.

Have you taken other eCourses?

What have you liked or disliked?

Anything to Recommend?



  1. Linda DeLeonardis on March 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    What a wonderful idea an eCourse will be. It will allow people to learn and work within their own time frame as well as in their own homes.

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on April 4, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks Linda. Can’t wait for this to go live….sometime this Fall.

  2. Donna McGreevy on March 20, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    It was interesting and exciting to read about the growth of the Healing Icons’ eCourse from a seed of an idea to a thriving plant ready to bloom. I will be sharing the news with friends across the country and waiting to see how it progresses.

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on April 7, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      Thanks Donna. Stay tuned for a launch in late Fall.

  3. Mary Mills on April 29, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    This is great! I have friends who are cancer survivors who live elsewhere. Also, support groups that have already been formed could possibly take the e-course together. Caregivers and people with physical limitations could also participate.

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on May 6, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      We are so excited to share what we do with a larger audience for all the reasons you gave! We are set to launch Mindful Mandalas sometime this Fall.

  4. Cathy Monetti on May 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    What important work you do, and how happy we are to be a part of it! Rock on, sisters!

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on May 15, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks Cathy. We are excited about this next step in our journey!

  5. Debby Kobayashi on June 15, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I’d like to participate in future ecourses. Please include me in your emails. Thanks

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on June 16, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      We certainly will Deb. Thanks for your interest and we look forward to sharing what we offer with you!

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