Affirmation Paintings with CHDC/Clinton Housing 42nd St

With the lovely people at Clinton Housing 42nd Street, we explored the power of positive messages to self, personally selected and hand painted using acrylics on stretched canvas. Something so simple as an encouraging phrase, a collection of uplifting words, combined with the soothing action of applying paint, brought stress-relief and relaxation to carry into the next moment, and the next. Wonderful affirmation paintings. Thank you Cultivate Hell's Kitchen for making this workshop series possible.

Mixed Media Collage with Cultivate Hell's Kitchen / Clinton Housing

It was a beautiful June afternoon collaging dreamy images and applying acrylic paint and matte medium texture. In this week's part of a series of Arts & Dreams workshops with residents of Clinton Housing on 30th Street made possible by Cultivate Hell's Kitchen, we experienced the calming joy of working with layers of inspiring photos and phrases clipped from magazines, affixed in a pleasing composition onto stretched canvases. Collaging for the soul!

Gratitude Journals at Children's Museum of the Arts

It was wonderful to be invited back to Children's Museum of the Arts and participate in Family Day, an annual fundraiser. Arts & Dreams shared the gift of thankfulness with a Gratitude Journal station. Children and their parents created handmade journals, bound by rubber bands, and decorated them with glitter glue and markers. Inside we wrote down and drew pictures of things we are grateful for, and had a blast doing it.

PS 111's 5th Annual Mother Daughter Celebration

Wonderful morning at PS 111's 5th Annual Mother Daughter breakfast. We talked about growing up -- changes in our bodies and in our emotions. How to give ourselves the love we want. How to start speaking with more kindness to ourselves, and into a mirror. How to find and use our special talents. Everyone got a copy of "Rose's Summer of Arts & Dreams." We celebrated ourselves and our mothers for Mothers' Day. Such a pleasure to be a part of it! - Laura Baran, co-founder of Arts & Dreams

Tote bags: Expressive Fabric Painting with Cultivate Hell's Kitchen/Clinton Housing

With residents and staff of Clinton Housing, we expressed our dreams and hopes through painting on fabric tote bags. The key to painting on a canvas tote bag is to keep a cardboard insert inside the bag, directly underneath the painted area. We used kraft manilla folders and they worked great. Meaningful, inspired spring-and-Easter-themed creations emerged -- functional art that relays an uplifting message.

How to Use a Mirror to Love Yourself

Mirrors reveal a lot about the way we think about ourselves. 

We tend to have so much negative chatter in our heads that often we don't recognize self-love over the same stream of thoughts happening, especially when we're looking in the mirror.

Looking into our own eyes and saying something loving is important. In this video we show you how to do it.

Oh, and if you can't bring yourself to say "I love you," just say "I'm willing to love you," or "Hi," with a smile.

Taking a second just once a day to say something loving into your own eyes in a mirror will help you to form a new habit of kindness and respect. 

The better we feel about ourselves, the more our lives improve. 

In our brand new book Rose's Summer of Arts & DreamsAunt Olive introduces this concept to her 9-year-old niece Rose, who has been struggling with the way she thinks about herself. 

To celebrate our book launch, Rose's Summer of Arts & Dreams is available now on the Arts & Dreams website for only $10!

When you order now through August 10th, you'll save $3.95 from the list price of $13.95.

Enter the promo code "summer" at check out

In the comments section, let us know if you practice saying loving words into your own eyes in a mirror.

  • Any feelings come up that you'd like to share?
  • How has your life changed since taking on his new practice of self love?

Big hugs,

Laura & Patricia

How to Create a Gratitude Journal

An easy, fun way to make your life more hopeful using creativity is to use a gratitude journal.
When we make gratitude journals with children and teens in Arts & Dreams workshops they take to it right away. Young people instantly get the importance of being thankful.
In this video, we show you how to create a gratitude journal for yourself using acrylic paints.

There's always something to be grateful for. Take a few moments to stop and write them down. 
Small, big, and everything in between. The practice of gratitude is transformational.

Gratitude journaling is an art project we share in Arts & Dreams workshops and it's also featured in our new book for children, Rose's Summer of Arts & Dreams.
The book is about Rose, a 9 year old Brooklynite who has lost hope in her dreams, and learns how to feel better using art.

Buy a copy for only $10 now through 8/10 (down from $13.95) using the code "summer" at check out.

Leave a comment below and share with us --

  • Do you have a place to write gratitude lists?
  • Have you made your own gratitude journal?
  • How has practicing gratitude impacted your life?

Happy gratitude journaling! 

Thank you for being you,
Laura Baran and Patricia Geremia
Co-Founders, Arts & Dreams
and Co-Authors, Rose's Summer of Arts & Dreams

How to make an affirmation painting

We are thrilled to announce that our brand new book for children is here!  
Rose's Summer of Arts & Dreams tells the story of a nine year old Brooklynite named Rose who hasn't been feeling so good about herself or her dreams.
Rose's Aunt Olive comes to visit, bringing art projects and tools to show Rose how to begin practicing self love.
One of those art projects is a making an affirmation painting.
In this video, we walk you through how to make your own!
(Be sure to scroll down for a special offer!)

Making an affirmation painting is its own gift. The act of creating is calming. And when we make something beautiful with a positive statement on it, it lifts us up every time we see it.

To celebrate the launch of our brand new book, we're making Rose's Summer of Arts & Dreams available on our website for only $10!

When you order now through August 10th, you'll save $3.95 from the list price of $13.95.

Use promo code "summer"

Enter the promo code "summer" at check out!

Enter the promo code "summer" at check out!

Do you use positive affirmations? Have you ever created an affirmation painting?

Please share your story. Leave a comment below!

With gratitude and love,

Laura Baran and Patricia Geremia
Co-Founders of Arts & Dreams

and Co-Authors!

10 Antidotes to Anxiety

Like many of you, Patricia and I felt stunned and anxious following the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut. It can be easy to slip into fear and helplessness.

While we live in challenging times, there are things we can do in each moment to balance the anxiety response to world events.

We want to share some of our favorite antidotes for world event anxiety with you. Our hope is that you do what works best to love yourself as you feel any emotions that come up, and know we are thinking of you. 

10 Antidotes for Anxiety

1. Meditation


It can be 10 minutes in the morning in your favorite chair, breathing and allowing thoughts to come and go, or 5 seconds on a crowded train or while sitting in traffic. Closing your eyes and pay attention to your breath. It's calming. 

2. Making more time to sleep

In times of stress, try making extra sleep time a priority. Powering down 30 minutes earlier than you usually do can lead to a healthier morning. 

3. Gratitude lists


Take a few minutes to jot down 10 things for which you feel grateful. Gratitude shifts the focus from tragedy and worrying to fullness. It helps us access the warmth in our hearts. 

4. Listening to music

Television and radio news - even on our personally-curated social media feeds - do not have our peace of mind on the agenda. Often what we see and hear are horrific details and it perpetuates a cycle of fear and anxiety. Try turning on some music you love instead of the news. 

5. Taking a walk

Anxiety takes root in our minds and can leave us feeling paralyzed. Move your body to shake it off. Take a walk. Do some stretching. Go for a run. Work out. Dance. 

6. Positive affirmations

Turn any fears into positive affirmations. It's a way to retrain our minds to relax and feel stronger. Counteract the negativity by saying kind, loving, present-tense words out loud or in your mind, throughout the day. Say them in the mirror. 

7. Read

Read whatever you enjoy. A fun book lights up our imagination and gives us heroines and heroes to believe in. Stories bring us out of worry into adventure. Non-fiction is wonderful, too.

8. Drink more water


Even if it's one extra glass per day, staying hydrated in anxious times nourishes our cells. Just like the oxygen we breathe can calm us, the oxygen in water can do the same.

9. Make art


Art heals and soothes. Make any kind of art you like. Write a poem. Make a drawing. Doodle for 15 minutes. It doesn't need to be amazing. It's the act of creating that moves us into the present moment.

10. Beautify


Buy yourself flowers. Paint your nails. Clear clutter from a corner. Wash the dishes and put them away. Do something small to celebrate your life and beautify it. Beauty lifts our spirits and lets us know we are worthy of all things good.

If you have more anxiety antidotes, we would love to hear them. Please leave a comment below and share. 

With love,
Laura Baran & Patricia Geremia
Arts & Dreams

In the studio shooting for the Arts & Dreams book

Book Update!

Hi, Laura here.

Patricia and I wrote and illustrated a children's book for Arts & Dreams empowering art workshops. It's getting close to being published!

Quick backstory - through crowd funding in 2012, we raised money to create the dream book to read to children ages 8-12 during workshops. In Arts & Dreams workshops we help them create uplifting art while learning to love themselves and believe in their dreams.  

After years of writing and re-writing, and tons more re-writing, and then a full year for me to illustrate paintings sourced by photos Patricia and I took together last summer, we finally had a great day in my studio shooting the illustrations in hi-res to submit to our publisher.

It's going to be several more months till we have a finished book in our hands (and a new baby in mine!) and with every step it's been a relief and a humbling honor to get closer and closer yet!

We will publish with Balboa Press, a division of Hay House and home to many of our favorite self-help and spirituality authors. 

Read more about our kickstarted book here.

The most important thing they learned

Arts & Dreams recently wrapped an 11-week program serving youth at the Red Hook Initiative with empowering art workshops after school.

Each workshop combined a discussion about the power of choice, positive affirmations, mantras and mirror work, with creative activities.

Through projects like --

gratitude journals
affirmation paintings on stretched canvas
fabric paintings on t-shirts and tote bags

jewelry making
and more

-- high-school and middle-school youth explored art as a way to create more love for themselves and to believe in their dreams.

We asked:
"What's the most important thing you learned with Arts & Dreams?"

Students answered:

  • "To love myself"
  • "To be myself"
  • "To love you have to forgive"
  • "I'm ok"
  • "People really opened up and had self-esteem"
  • "It made me feel better and inspired"

If you're inspired, here's how to get involved:

  • Donate to help us buy art supplies for more workshops!
  • Follow Arts & Dreams on instagram @ArtsandDreams 
  • Schedule a workshop for any age group
  • Share this email with your friends and family

Book Update

The Arts & Dreams book illustrations are coming along. With only a few left to paint, we're hopeful we can pull off a finished book to use as a learning tool during workshops by early 2016! Thank you, Kickstarter donors!

Here's a peek at the latest. 


Thank you for supporting Arts & DreamsTogether we create a more hopeful, loving world!

With gratitude,
Laura Baran & Patricia Geremia
Arts & Dreams