When Art Found Me: Valerie Tate

“When Art Found Me” is a series of human interest pieces that Waterfall Arts is piloting, in an effort to focus on the people in our circle, so that you may get to know us a little bit better. Starting with our staff and expanding the circle outward, we ask folks to respond to the prompt: Tell us a story of when art found you.


Next upCommunity Member, Valerie Tate

My parents were musicians. My sister was a multi-talented performer. My first husband was an actor. I had always identified myself as “the not creative one.” I was “a good audience.”

In 2007, in my early 50s, I was in a 12 Step Recovery Program and a fellow addict in recovery invited me to go with her to a half day workshop in Transformational Art, also known at Process Painting. 

I had been learning to say yes to things that scared me, so I agreed to go along. 

The idea was to put color on paper… without planning, controlling, or attempting to make anything; just to listen and follow some inner leading in choosing color, placing the brush, and unleashing an inner wildness. It was terrifying. 

I was shocked by the panic I felt every time I picked up the brush! 

Was it fear? Was it awe? Maybe a bit of both.

The truth is that I’m very grateful for the experience of painting through fear and and getting to awe. It taught me that there was a courage in me that I would tap into a few years later during some very challenging times.

Did Valerie’s story spark something inside of you? Tell us a story of when art found you. Email us and share an image with your story from that moment in time. Help us expand our circle even wider than before.

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