Take an Art Break Podcast

Why are we still collaborating as Art is Moving (16 years later)?

As their 16th year of collaboration gets underway, Lisa and Lauren, the artists behind Art is Moving, reflect on why they are still here. Why are they still working together and collaborating as Art is Moving to get everyone to join the Take an Art Break Movement?




Lisa (00:00):

Okay. Hello. It’s Lisa and Lauren from Artist Moving. And guess what? We’re still here, right?

Lauren (00:06):

<Laugh> <laugh>. We’re still here. This is year 15. Together, collaborating together. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And that’s a question we wanted to talk about today. Why are we still doing this? Why are we still Art is moving. Tell me Lisa

Lisa (00:23):

<Laugh>. Tell me. Tell. Well, it’s it’s our relationship. Obviously. It’s the synergy between our two personalities. We came together 2008 ish on a mission to get art in the hands of all people, I think. And we, at that moment in time art was very exclusive. You know, there was no science. I don’t even know if there was science at that time behind art. Like now, if you look up the benefits of art, you know, it’s everywhere. But I don’t think at the time when we were like, oh my God, everybody needs to take an art break. Or everybody needs to go to a museum. That there was a science. And now there’s this like, wave of information about the, the benefits of taking art. So it’s almost like, I don’t know, we didn’t start it, but we were part of that wave of transformation of that, you know, this is what it means to be human <laugh>.

Lauren (01:18):

Yeah. Make our

Lisa (01:20):


Lauren (01:21):

I’m gonna, I’m gonna claim that, that we started to take our break movement. You know, I’m just gonna claim that right there. I love,

Lisa (01:27):

I love that.

Lauren (01:28):

Yeah. That be in our many, many conversations walking around museums and you know, talking about art. We came up with a notion that everybody needs to take an art break. Right. I remember it was like, take an art break. It’s just like a coffee break. Except, yeah. It’s, it’s art and it’s to the benefit of your mental, emotional wellbeing. You know, we wanted everyone to implement art into their daily life, like eating right and exercising and things like that, because we knew that if, if the whole world, right? We imagined the whole world making time in their day to take an art break. Like, how amazing would the world be? Because, because the individual would be healthier. And so the world would be healthier. And that’s why we started. And over the last 15 years, we have definitely seen, as you were saying, Lisa, the world change around their viewpoint of taking an art break and, and talking about the benefits of taking an art break, making art, looking at art, going on a walk through nature.

Lauren (02:36):

Because we define an artb break as an intentional act of creativity. It can be anything. It can be baking, it could be work, you know, woodworking. It could be looking for shapes and clouds. It can be anything that you intentionally do to, to sort of stop your daily routine. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And through the last 15 years, we’ve constantly pushed our own sort of notion of interactive art and what it means to take an art break and trying to reach that whole audience. Right. ’cause our audience is everyone. And that’s a difficult audience to reach. Right.

Lisa (03:12):

I think, I think to add to that, we’ve always challenged ourself, how can we reach that person that’s so fearful of taking an art break? You know? I think with that, though, the edge that we’ve always wanted to do, that’s why we did Art Break Day. We wanted to reach people that typically are like, Nope, I can’t do that. You know what I mean? Like the No, the no. We always have wanted to make the no into a yes. And that has been our challenge, <laugh>. Right?

Lauren (03:39):

I, yes. And I do think we’ve changed a few nos into a few yeses. So but why are we still here? Why are we still doing this 15 years later, if, you know, it seems as though that more people are accepting of, of art being to the benefit. I mean, we, we interviewed some, you know your brain on art this year. And that is the science behind the benefit of art making and having art intertwined in your life. Right.

Lisa (04:11):

And I also I know a doctor in the Bay Area, Dr. Alan Siegel, he’s developed a nonprofit that they’re prescribing art to patients. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So, I mean, wow. Where are we from? It’s just like,

Lauren (04:24):

Right. A lot, a lot has changed in 15 years. So what do we, what is, what does artists moving do now? What do we do now?

Lisa (04:33):

<Laugh>? Good question. Well, we, it’s about expansion and evolution. But I think we also wanna talk about, like, we wanna get real for people. You know what I mean? I think we, I told, I was talking to Lauren earlier, <laugh>, and I said, you know, we birthed our movie. We’re the maiden and the mother, and now we’re the Crohn’s. We’re kind of the old wise women right now. And I think we wanna share our, our experience, our wisdom with the world, with other people who want to do this, who have an idea, and they want it to become, you know, they want it to become fruit to bear, to, to transform the world. And I think right now, our, our role in this, this collective is to be the, the, you know, to share our wisdom. That’s what I think. But also to share the real <laugh> like behind the scenes, pull back the curtain. It, you know, it’s all that, like, it’s all like unicorns and rainbows and, you know, things like that. Right.

Lauren (05:37):

Yeah. No, I think there’s yeah, I like that. So, I, I, so where is art is moving going now, right? What’s, what’s, what’s sour? What is our next year look like? In my mind? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. If I could try to predict the future for a minute. And I do, I see us going more towards the role of highlighting people who are doing the, the work the work. Who are doing the work in the world of making the world better through art in various ways. ’cause There’s lots of folks out there doing that, connecting those people together. Because we have discovered that connection leads to conversation and collaboration, which leads to even better projects, you know? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, we’ve done a couple of them ourselves. And we’ve connected some people in the past. And it feels so good to do that, to see what comes of that.

Lauren (06:30):

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So I see us doing more of that, the connection. And I, I see us Yes. Being here Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> telling people what it takes to make something like this happen. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And for example, art is moving is we’re, we don’t have a brick and mortar. We are a, I guess you would call it us, a cyber based <laugh>, I don’t know what to call us art movement. Yeah. We’ve existed online and in our own communities. And just connecting with people across the world through email phone conversations and everything like that. To have them take on the, take an art break movement and join and then join on Art Break Day, or facilitate an art show that has interactive art tables at it, or pass out free art packets et cetera, et cetera. We’ve, we’ve worked along with amazing people throughout this 15 years.

Lauren (07:34):

And I think I see us going more in that direction, guiding people who don’t know what it’s like to do that. Which means you’re not gonna get a grant. Like Right. You know, you might not get a grant the first time you try. You might not ever get a grant. And you have to ask yourself, are you willing to do this without that? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> you know, and Lisa and I are willing to do that. We, I, you know, when, when we ask ourselves, why are we still here? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, I, you know, and a lot of it is, I don’t know. I don’t know why I do this. I love hanging out with Lisa. You know, and I always feel good after our conversations. We come up with really cool stuff, and then we make it happen. And that feels good, especially when you see what happens to people who are involved. But have we ever been paid to do this? I think we got paid like once for one of our projects way back when. And that is, that’s kind of hard sometimes to be, to feel as though what your work, what you’re doing is not monetarily valued. You know? Yeah. To add to that

Lisa (08:52):

There’s two things that’s come up is like, to do this, this as a nonprofit, as we are just two people not getting paid. You have to get really creative. And I think that is part of the, the zest in artist movies relationship, is that we, we have to put on our artist hat or Creative hat and say, oh, <laugh>, how can we do this? How can we navigate? How can we make this happen? How can we give, you know, a thousand free art packets away? How, you know? And it’s almost like we have to get really, really creative. But then yes, on the, on the like, shadow side, it’s like we, we became a source, A source where we’re like, free. I mean, we started out as a free art movement. I always <laugh>, I have to remind myself so free. And then, so we’re like, we’re giving free art packets to people to pass out for free.

Lisa (09:44):

And then we’re like, how do you do that when you have no resources, like monetary resources? So it’s like, interesting. But then, you know, and then, so part of this is like, you know, it’s like human nature to go, oh, I’m not getting paid. We don’t have any money. How are we gonna do this? Do you know what I mean? And we could, you know, throw our hands up in the arm, you know, whatever, like in the air and go, I quit. But for some reason, that has never entered the conversation. So for those people who are, you know, wanting to do a project, don’t have resources, you know, how do you get creative? How do you, how do you have the motivation to continue? And for some reason, we together, I think, and for example, Lauren, I would never have continued this without you. There’s something Yeah. A collaboration with somebody that’s like, you know, when I’m down, you’re like, oh, <laugh>. And when, when I’m down, I’m like, no. It’s almost like for some reason, we, you know, we rise up for each other, each other. And so that’s part of the, the, the recipe or the magic in artist moving, I think.

Lauren (10:53):

Yeah. And I think that it’s the every year, I I, I’ve thought about this conversation we had with Catherine Josten, she said during the every year, right. Because she does a, she has a similar vibe to our break day, right. With the global project for, you know global Art Project for Peace. Yeah. And she said you know, she’s always like, she always is like, oh, I just, I don’t know if I can do another year. And then she gets a, she gets an email from someone, or a phone call or a postcard, and that reignites the fire that had almost burnt out. And that’s what happens to me every year at Art Break Day is it’s a lot of work Yeah. To facilitate it. I mean, we’ve turned it into a well-oiled machine. Yeah. Because we, we we’re well practiced in it, but it still is time, energy et cetera.

Lauren (11:50):

And, but then I go and I watch what happens when people sit down and make art together. And it, I’m, I’m re reminded Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> that we need. We need this in our life. We, we, we just, we just, it has to be there. It makes the world better. It really does. And so, I, I can’t stop myself from doing it. Yeah. you know, part of it is my personality, you know what I mean? I’m like the type of person that’s like, if I, if I, if I know I can do something that helps, I, I’m just gonna do it. You know? I, I just can’t not do it. You know, I’ve, I’m, I’ve almost had to learn how to, like, not overdo it in terms of my own self care. But I just, I just, I, I don’t know. I like to help. I like to make people happy. I mean, making people smile is an incredible feeling. It’s an incredible feeling, you know? I know,

Lisa (12:46):

I agree with you. Our break day does that, and I think since 2008 I’ve seen more, there’s art, art tables everywhere, art making tables, but it’s usually for kids. And I think the cutting edge of art Break day is, it’s for all people. So you have adults sit down and for some reason that is cutting. It shouldn’t be cutting edge. But for me, like my last heartbreak day, it was like a micro, the macro, you know, the macro, it was like we had these people sit at the table for the whole time, like four hours connecting. Yeah. I mean, we have deep conversations. One guy was homeless, we always have homeless person there, you know what I mean? But really unraveling their story. And it’s just like, it, it’s really amazing that yes, you can go, oh my God, you know, today I made a difference in someone’s life. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. I mean, it’s really, it’s really emotional. Yeah. I think that’s the hook. I feel the hook <laugh>.

Lauren (13:42):

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. It’s a, yeah. It’s a, I, so, okay. So obviously we’re still here. We’re still gonna be here, we’re still gonna be doing our thing. What kind of, you know, ’cause you’re, we’re like transitioning away from, because I feel like the way we’ve operated for the past 15 years is we, you know, you and I come together every January and we’re like, oh my God, we should do this. We should do this,

Lisa (14:07):

We should do this. We, we, like, we have too many ideas. Then we <laugh>. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Lauren (14:13):

Yeah. And we pare it down to, to one. And some projects stick. Right? Like our break day, we’ve done that since 2011. We’ve done some shorter projects, you know, like art card and the postcard projects. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> and things like that. And I think in the last year we’ve gone through this transition of realizing that we’re at a point in our lives where it’s we don’t have the necessarily the time or the energy to put into facilitating the projects. But we’re at a stage now where we would like to connect with people who are sort of at the beginning stages of their projects or who have an idea, but just don’t know what to do with it. And we have the experience of having that, of going through that and, and having an idea, and then going through the step-by-step project of making it happen.

Lauren (15:09):

And so maybe that’s the new, the sort of transitioned role of artists moving, is that the way we’re, we are moving forward, the way we’re pushing our own edge Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> is that now we are becoming the, the mentor instead of the, the mentee. Right. I feel like you and I have been mentoring each other, right? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. It’s not just a collaboration, but it’s more like bouncing off. Right? That’s the power of collaboration. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. So I think that’s what we’re, we’ve slowly opened ourselves up to that. I think the podcast has also done that of like collaborative conversation. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And I see, I see us moving in that direction. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> as art is moving, opening more in terms of conversations connections and collaborations. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. Mm-Hmm. To, you know, for taking our breaks.

Lisa (16:07):

I think we’re in the harvest space of our, of our, of our <laugh>, our experience. So we’ve done a lot, you know what I mean? We’ve done a lot. I mean, our cart, our break day free our projects, art in your pockets. We’ve done a lot. And yes, when we get together, we’re like, oh my God, what, what if, what, you know, what can we do? And it’s almost like we have to cap it. And that’s, that’s kind of unpleasant at times. <Laugh>, you know what I mean? Because I

Lauren (16:35):

It’s really hard.

Lisa (16:36):

Yeah. It’s like, ah, what, you know, we can’t do that. You know, we could do it, but we both, you have three children. You have a business, I have a business. So it’s like, you know, the nonprofit is, is in our blood, but it’s like, I think it’s time to harvest. And, and in that harvest, we have the ability to elevate people to their best potential, to, you know, if they have an idea. And it’s hard, it’s hard to do it on your own. And that’s the beauty of Mm-Hmm. Our collaboration. It’s like we can elevate people to do it, you know, because it’s really easy to give up. Right. It’s

Lauren (17:16):

Really easy to

Lisa (17:17):

Just go, I mean, ah, it’s too much. It’s overwhelming. But the, you know, I think we always talk about this, it’s the ripple effect. Even like, you know, that one person at Art Break Day, you change their life and they’re gonna go out and be like, oh, yeah. You know, and it’s just the ripple effect. And it’s like the micro on the macro, it’s like this small, if you can just do it, and I think we can elevate people. That’s where our right now is elevation of people through conversations, through mentorship, through coaching, coaching, you know? I think that’s where we’re at. It’s just like, it’s, it’s almost like the maturity of art school. It’s, yeah. Because I feel like this is just the reality. I feel we have at least I do. Like, oh, what we’re not gonna do, you know, freer packets anymore, <laugh>, you know what I mean? Like construct like thousand, you on our own, like, you know, this, we’ve done throughout this, you ourselves need to do the physical, you know, <laugh> except for our break day. Does that make sense?

Lauren (18:32):

Yeah. I think that it’s, for me, the wor words that keep coming up for me is now it’s your turn. Yeah. You know? Yeah. We, we, we have proven that it’s possible Yeah. That, that one individual, one individual can make a difference. Yeah. I also think that that has been a deeply rooted notion in our collaboration is that mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, an individual can have an idea and, and, and can wanna make the world a better place, make their community a better place. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And it does happen when one person and one art break at a time. We touched on that in our last conversation. Yeah. with the calling and the 6,000 Circle project, I think it’s this notion that and, and we want to support people who are interested in, in doing that. And so that’s why we, we sort of have this open source, take an art break movement website, which is like, this is how we did it, and you’re welcome to do it the same exact way.

Lauren (19:29):

Or you can reach out to us and, and ask us those questions you might have. Or if you just need a cheerleader as someone to be like, you can do it, then that’s what we’re here for. We’re here to, to back you up or to hold your feet to the fire if that’s what you need. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. Or to be the encourager when you’re not feeling valued, because it’s really hard to get a grant to do art for some reason. We can certainly dive into that this year. <Laugh>. Yeah. I just it feels good. I feel like Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> we’re, I just, I, I see this year being a really us pushing that edge for ourselves I think it’s gonna be a little bit of a vulnerable year because we have to open up to the, to talk about the, the personal reasons why we do this. Yeah. Even when we’re, even when it’s, you know we’re not being monetarily valued in a capitalist society. You know what I mean? So Yeah. I’m, I’m looking forward to it. I really am.

Lisa (20:40):

Yeah. We’re gonna dive deep into that. We’re gonna pull back the curtain. <Laugh>. Yeah. Just be real. And it’s not, we’re not complaining, but, you know, I think the bottom line is we’re not in the system. We’re not in that art grant system. We’re not a capitalist organization. So it’s like, how can you, how can you navigate it? How can you swim? And then, you know what I mean? And then, you know, continue swimming through it and, and through all the challenges, the, the, the amazing ahas, you know, the, the beauty, the transformation. Well,

Lauren (21:19):

I love that. We, we, we’ve shown that you can do it. You can do it even if you don’t fit the mold. And and, and that it’s okay to do something that you’re passionate about. It doesn’t have to pay your bills. You can have a passion that doesn’t pay your bills, and you can make a positive contribution even if it doesn’t pay you. You know? You can volunteer for your passion and you will make a load of difference, positive difference in someone’s life. And I would encourage more people to do that. Maybe that’s what I wanna do this year.

Lisa (21:59):

I love it. It’s, it, it flash in my mind. You know, the, you can do it. The Rosie.

Lauren (22:04):

Yeah, you do. Alright. Yeah, we can do it. Yeah. Let’s

Lisa (22:07):

Do it. Four. Right.

Lauren (22:09):

Alright. Welcome The new year.

Lisa (22:11):