ABOUT the ART ~ ABOUT the ARTIST
I enter into art as a visual prayer, a meditation; a form of contemplation in both the creating of it and the viewing of it. ~ Lori Sweet
The Heart of the Matter: Making Spirit Visible
Art, in its many forms, can serve as a bridge or portal between the worlds - between spirit and matter and between our inner and outer experiences. Like icons of old, when we create with intention, art can inspire and inform us. It puts us in touch with the liminal, the numinous, the imaginal, the holy.
While art usually produces a tangible product, I am more interested in the intangible aspects of art-making or mark-making: the energetic process that restores and transforms both the artist and the viewer in ways seen and unseen. Art makes visible what normally cannot be expressed in a linear way. We can overcome fear and befriend wisdom through an expressive and embodied process of creative intention.
Art Heals and Transforms Us
In this way, art is a form of visual energy medicine or prayer. Creating art/images is one way I (and others) can respond to the suffering and the joy in the world and manifest more hope, love, beauty, and compassion. We are swimming in a sea of divine being-ness and love. We are embedded in the sacred fabric of time and space. Creativity is a foundational aspect of life expressed. Even brief encounters of this awareness can help us to survive and thrive through any challenges we face.
Art is a storytelling process - a relational process - a spiritual process. While the art, itself, has a story, it also unites us, here and now, in our own stories (patrons always are telling me stories in response to the images) and it reminds us that we are part of a bigger collective and cosmological story, too. The art illuminates the relational nature of our lives and images can express certain things that we may find hard to put into words.
Intentional and intuitive art can access the worlds of the primordial, mystical, mythological, and archetypal. Art is where both our personal stories are told and the universal story is shared. Through our shared stories and insights, we are put in touch with each other, nature, and the divine wisdom that embraces it all.
Art and story create a sanctuary for the sacred.
I love to create safe, sacred, and peaceful spaces for prayer, meditation, healing, rest, and inspiration. May the images of my art invite peace, love, and inspiration into the spaces they occupy and bless the sacred places in you and in your life.
The Creation of Our Lady of Living Waters
I mostly am a self-taught artist. I have loved making art since the day I was born. Early on, I was inspired by animals and nature, then my art began to reflect my inner world, and later it was a vehicle to express my response to the greater world, as well.
As a teenager, I intuitively used art to process the world around me and within me – especially around the greatest traumas, the greatest joys, and the unexplainable. Art was a pathway for learning, healing, and recovery in my life. My desire to make art was like my need to breathe. In many ways, I created art because I had to - and still do.
As an adult, I have used art as a tool for healing and teaching people of all ages. In this capacity, I see the creative force (nothing to do with what our culture determines as artistic talent) as something inherent in everyone and a pathway to the heart that can guide each person in an authentic journey. The most basic forms of mark-making, available to all living things, can offer great insight. Today art is part of my story, my joy, my spiritual practice, and how I can best serve in the world.
As a visual artist myself, I have created with pen and ink, pastel, fibers/fabric, and clay, painted rocks and furniture, and made prayer beads, batiks, and masks. I currently work primarily with acrylic paints, watercolors, mixed media, and collage.
My subject matter varies but often contains images of the divine/sacred feminine (in her many forms around the world), aspects of ancient myths and stories, mystical symbols, and dream elements., and/or aspects of nature/earth and animals. To me, nature is very alive and I easily experience the sacred in the natural world. Animals, plants, and the earth show up frequently in my artwork.
Lori Sweet: Some Bio Info
Lori was born in Western PA and grew up intuitively using art as a method of self-expression and healing to deal with challenges in her young life. In high school she won her first public art contest with a pastel drawing of a tiger and was voted the most artistic girl in her senior year.
Lori obtained a degree in social work at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa and spent 20+ years working as a social worker in child welfare and medical settings. Secondarily, Lori has worked developing art-related programs at hospitals, schools, and churches using art for relaxation, team-building, and personal and spiritual formation. She led summer camps at Audubon for children, Adult Art Education classes at Chautauqua Institution, and Healing Arts Programs for the NYS Office of Mental Health and Hygiene, Job Corp, and Hospice.
In addition, Lori spent four years as office manager and art teacher for The ArtsCenter at Dave Poulin’s Studio in Jamestown New York and then another four years as Executive Director for The Mandala Center, a spiritual retreat, in Northeastern New Mexico.
Lori currently is owner of Lori Sweet Studios and continues to do personal coaching work and foot reflexology for stress reduction, well-being, and personal growth. She devotes the rest of her time to her art business and church life. Lori is married to Tom Sweet, Pastor at Market Square Presbyterian Church of Harrisburg.
Lori Sweet ~ Vitae
1986 Bachelor of Social Work/Psychology Mercyhurst University, Erie Pa
1995-96 Master’s Program: Women’s Spirituality and Expressive Arts, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, Ca
2007 Masters in Healing Art Program: Wisdom University, Los Angeles, Ca. Two Intensives with Mary Rockwood Lane at Shand’s Hospital Arts in Medicine Program
2007 Window Between Worlds Leadership Training and certificate for Using Art to Heal Domestic Violence
2010-2011 Certificate in Nonprofit Management, 2-year program at The University of Illinois at Chicago
Current Owner of Lori Sweet Studios: Studio for Inner Fitness Coaching and Reflexology AND Studio for Art, Camp Hill, Pa.
2009-2014 Executive Director of The Mandala Center, a non-profit retreat in New Mexico.
2007-2009 Social Worker – TEAM: YWCA services for pregnant teens in school.
2004-2007 Office and Programs Manager/Teaching Artist, The Arts Center at Dave Poulin Studios.
1985-2004 Social Worker with various organizations: Erie County Child and Youth, The Resource Center, WCA Hospital, and Elderwood Senior Healthcare.
RETAIL ART (partial list)
1986-88 Exhibition, Retail, Quaker Arts Festival, Orchard Park, NY
1994 Exhibition, Retail Starwood Festival/Brushwood Folklore Center
1996 Exhibition, Retail, Whole Life Expo, San Francisco, Ca
1998-2000 Exhibition, Retail, Waldorf School Winter Festival East Aurora, NY
1999 Exhibition, Retail, Colden Arts Festival, Colden, NY
1997-99 Retail, Quaker Arts Festival, Won 2nd place in sculpting category with 85 entries.
2004-2007 Gallery Retail: All Matters Gallery, Cleveland Ohio
2018-2020 Retail: Millwork’s Artist: Studio for public retail at The Millworks, Harrisburg Pa.
TEACHING ART (partial list)
1999 Workshop: Art, Healing, and Intuitive Creation at the Studio for Yoga and Creativity, East Aurora, NY.
2000 Workshop in “Creating Medicine Bags” The Little Black Bear Festival, Panama NY
2003 Lecture: Healing Art: Complementary Interventions in Holistic Health Care, Kaleida Health Clinical Education Department and DeGraff Hospital. Introducing health professionals to the power of art and healing.
2003 Intuitive Painting Class and Body Mapping for Addressing Grief in Mental Health, NYS Office of Mental Health and Eastern Region Family Support Coalition, 9th Annual Conference, Rochester NY.
2003-2007 Week Long Summer Adult Education classes: Sacred Images/Healing Art, Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY.
2005-2009 Designed and facilitated ongoing 10 week curriculums called Creative Wellness/Healing Art: Chautauqua County Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, Mayville NY.
2005 International Teaching: Two weeks in Taiwan: 3 – 3 day workshops in 3 cities called Healing Art- Sacred Images with Anne Chang as guide and interpreter.
2006-2009 Teaching Artist for The Arts Council of Chautauqua County: Arts on Education –afterschool arts programming K-12 grades and Continuing Ed instructor for teachers training: Accessing Art for Learning in the Classroom.
2007-2009 Summer Art Camp Instructor, Audubon Center and Sanctuary, Jamestown NY
EXHIBITING ART (partial list)
1996 Blood, Art, Magick, and Ritual Exhibit, CIIS Women’s Spirituality Program, SF, CA.
1998 – Exhibit and Art Demo Quaker Days 40th Annual Chamber of Commerce Celebration
2006 Members’ Exhibit, Chautauqua Center for the Visual Arts
2007 INSPIRED: A Healing Art Exhibit, Jamestown Prendergast Library Gallery, Jamestown, NY
2007 Healing Arts III Exhibit: Opening Hearts and Minds Adams Art Gallery, Dunkirk NY
2008 “Revealed: A Healing Art Exhibit” Wright Gallery. Arts Council for Chautauqua County
2008 “Using art for healing mind, body and spirit.” Hospice Exhibit, Warren, Pa.
2017 Solo Exhibit, Cornerstone Coffee House, Camp Hill Pa
2018 Solo Exhibit, Market Square Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg, Pa
2019 Online Exhibit: Manhattan Arts International, NY, The Healing Power of Art and Artists, won honorable mention.
2019 Group Show: The Millworks Restaurant Gallery, Harrisburg, Pa.
2018 and 2021 Harrisburg Art Association Member’s Shows
2021 St Stephens Episcopal Church "Decolonizing the Christ" Juried Show, Won 2nd Place Bishops Award.
2021 Market Square Presbyterian Church 2 month art exhibit.
2022 Carlisle Learning Arts Center - Teachers Art Exhibit 2 pieces in joint show.
2022 HIVE Art Gallery Aviary Art Exhibit, Juried Show, York, Pa, exhibited 3 pieces in group show.
2017-2022 - Several Personal Commissioned Paintings for Patrons.
2000 Commission for Pen and Ink Illustrations, Book: Shards and Circles: Adventures in Spirit, Art, and Ecology, by Daniel Dancer
2000 Commissioned Logo Design, Center of Solitude/Sr. Donna Marie, Belmont NY
2001 Commissioned t-shirt design, Audubon Society, Jamestown NY
2005 Commissioned window designs – desert flowers, Taco Hut, Jamestown NY
2015-16 Artwork was selected by jury for inclusion in Multi-faith Calendar published by the Multi-faith Action Society
Present: Offer Personally Commissioned Painting Packages to private patrons.