76 - Art therapy in prisons with David Gussak

Hello and welcome to the 76th episode of The Spark & The Art creativity podcast. Thank you for subscribing to our weekly podcast, where we alternate between interviews with creative folks from all different career levels and insight and inspiration episodes. All with the intention you’ll get the inspiration you need to get your creative projects started and, more importantly, finished.

I’m your host, Tucker, and this week is an interview with David Gussak. David is professor and the Chairperson for The Florida State University Department of Art Education, and is the Clinical Coordinator for its Graduate Art Therapy Program. David is an art therapist who has worked in prison populations for most of his career. We talk about what it takes to work with violent criminals and how, despite the many times he tried to leave the profession, it just keeps bringing him back.

We also talk about the benefits of art therapy and how truly ingrained the need to create and express ourselves is. We explore these through his description of an art therapy exercise about making something out of nothing and a prisoner who so needed to express himself he made brushes out locks of his own hair and painted with pigments he created from M&Ms. 

Today’s episode is less about what you make or how you make it and more about why you make things. I’m sure you’ll enjoy today’s chat with Dave Gussak.

Have you or someone you know benefited from art therapy? I’d be interested to hear your story if you are up to sharing it with me. You can get me on twitter @SparkArtPodcast

Did today’s talk make you think of someone you know? If you think they’d get something out of this episode, it would be great if you could share it with them. The easiest way is to send them the url TheSparkAndTheArt.com/76

And, as always, you can find the show notes at that address as well where we have links to David's blog and the books and authors he mentioned. 

Thanks for listening and remember: you won’t get the art without the work and you won’t do the work without the spark. 

Links for today’s episode

David Gussak - https://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/david-gussak-phd-atr-bc

Art Therapy In Prison - http://arttherapyinprison.com/?page_id=355

Art Therapy With Offenders - http://www.amazon.com/Art-Therapy-Offenders-Marian-Liebmann/dp/1853021717

Art On Trial - https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/art-trial

Making Something Out Of Nothing - https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/art-trial/201311/making-something-out-nothing

Homo Aestheticus - http://www.amazon.com/Homo-Aestheticus-Where-Comes-From/dp/0295974796

The Candy Man - https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/art-trial/201504/the-candy-man-prisoner-paints-delectable-materials