Professor Michael A. Franklin Releases New Book


September 22, 2017 (Boulder, CO)—Naropa University is pleased to announce that esteemed professor and chair of the MA Transpersonal Art Therapy Program, Michael A. Franklin, PhD, ATR-BC, has published a new book to be released in September 2017. Art as Contemplative Practice: Expressive Pathways to the Self represents 25 years of work. In this rich, thought-provoking guide to art as a contemplative practice, Franklin suggests that we treat art as a form of yoga and meditation, using it as a practice to potentially discover deeper insights to the fundamental nature of the self.

Recipient of the American Art Therapy Association’s 2016 Distinguished Educator Award, Professor Franklin draws upon his own experiences as a contemplative practitioner and researcher, an accomplished visual artist, director of the Naropa Community Art Studio (NCAS), and a cancer survivor to discuss art as a practice to examine and evolve the self. To explore his suggestion, he consults various contemplative traditions, including yoga, imaginal intelligence, rasa and darshan experiences, and contemplative instincts and works of many early twentieth-century artists.

“For me, engaging in creative behavior uniquely available through the arts is a way to join with the creator,” said Michael Franklin. “To create is to sit with creator and art is a way to answer creation back with creation. I find it very meaningful to pray this way and to explore ineffable, wordless questions. Spirituality is often a wordless, silent subject and art is a trustworthy passport to this still place. Art then becomes a methodology for working from the subtle back to the physical or tangible. And from the physical back towards the subtle emptiness of silence.”

In addition to a large collection of original, beautifully reproduced artwork, the book includes many exercises and rubrics to encourage accessible instruction for artists, meditation or yoga practitioners, art educators, or art therapists.

A defining contribution to the field of transpersonal/contemplative art therapy, Art as Contemplative Practice is being published by SUNY Press, the Center for Scholarly Communication for the State University of New York. Copies can be purchased in September on the publisher’s website, as well as at many online and local booksellers.

About Naropa University ( Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a fully accredited, private, liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Naropa University is a leader in contemplative education, an approach that integrates Eastern wisdom traditions and Western scholarship. Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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