Community Art Studio

Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS)


The Socially Engaged Artist and the Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS)

Mission Statement

One week after 9/11, the Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS), which is housed in the Transpersonal Art Therapy program, was created by Michael A. Franklin PhD, ATR-BC.  The overall goal of this long term, curriculum-driven project, is to cultivate the socially engaged art therapist. During a studio practicum in the first year, students learn how to design, create, and finance a community-based studio.

The guiding vision behind the NCAS project is to provide a space for diverse groups to gather and create art together. Equal access for our studio members is stressed, particularly people who are marginalized and unlikely to have access to the humanizing practice of engaging in artistic behavior in community. Respect for cultural, ethnic, gender, and spiritual diversity is a founding principal of the NCAS. Unity in diversity, the birthright to pursue creative expression, and the capacity of visual art to contain and communicate the full range of human experiences comprise the essence of our mission and focus.

Since 2001:

  • We have hosted more than 700 participant visits per year.
  • We have offered approximately 80 sessions per year.
  • We have trained approximately 18 mentors per year. 


Franklin M. A. (2016). Imaginal mindfulness-imaginal intelligence: Musings on the languages of shadow and light in art, meditation, and clinical practice.  In F. J. Kaklauskas, C. J. Clements, D. Hocoy, & L. Hoffman (Eds.), Shadows & Light: Theory, research, and practice in transpersonal psychology (Vol. 1: Principles & Practices; pp. 101-121).  Colorado Springs, CO: University Professors Press. 

Franklin, M. A. (2016). Contemplative approaches art therapy: Incorporating Hindu-Yoga-Tantra and Buddhist wisdom traditions in clinical and studio practice. In Rubin, J. A. (ed). Approaches to Art Therapy (pp. 308-329). New York: Routledge.

Franklin, M. (2010). Global recovery and the culturally/socially engaged artist. In Peoples, D. (Ed.), Buddhism and Ethics, 309-320. Ayuthaya, Thailand: Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University.

Franklin, M. (2008). Art as contemplative practice: Ethics and social action. In Peoples, D. (Ed.), Buddhism and Ethics, 376-382. Ayuthaya, Thailand: Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University.

Franklin, M.; Rothaus, M.; Schpock, K. (2005). Unity in diversity: Communal pluralism in the art studio and the classroom. In Kaplan, F. (Ed.), Art therapy and social action: Treating the world’s wounds. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

In addition to serving the Boulder public, Naropa graduate students will have an opportunity to define, manifest, and engage in a new paradigm for community-based service learning and art therapy education.

View the Student Gallery