Smile Politely

Art and wellness meet at Her Creative Collective, opening this Saturday

By now you know how much I love a good collaboration. And this one may be the best mash-up since peanut butter met chocolate. Her Creative Collective, which holds its grand opening this Satuday, brings together art, wellness, and community.  It promises to be a place where one can find connection, creative inspiration, and mind/body renewal.  Yes, this is a tall order, but artist Dana Overman, the driving force of nature behind Her Creative Collective, couldn’t be better suited for the job. 

Overman graciously took some time out of her pre-opening preparations to chat about this new endeaver, its inspiration, and how you can get involved.  

Smile Politely: What inspired  “Her Creative Collective”? 

Dana Overman: There is no “one” single inspiration that brought me to open a space such as Her Creative Collective.  I think that it has been a thought and a dream of mine since I was a child… the idea of sharing art, teaching, those creative thoughts track way back.  Art was a huge part of my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.  Fast forward a decade as I focused on a career in health as a Registered Nurse I felt an intuitive understanding of the invaluable role that holistic health plays is seeking our optimum wellbeing.  We have made progress, as a society, we are beginning to better understand how our physical health is fully intertwined with our environment, our spirituality, and our mental well-being. After many years of nursing I sought to understand holistic wellness on a broader community level. My graduate degrees in Public Health (MPH from UIC) and Community Development (MS from ISU through the Stevenson Center) provided me a pathway to integrate all of my skills, experiences and soulful callings.  Which has led me to where I am at today.

I have been inspired my entire life to blend art and wellness, however, it was the act of curating and participating in an art exhibit at the 2019 Boneyard Arts Festival, Her Fine Art Exhibit, that sent me on the trajectory in developing the Her Creative Collective art and wellness business model.  The experience of working side by side with amazing artists and artisans was in and of itself inspiring, but the positive responses I received  from the visitors who attended the show, some I had never met before, each making a significant impact on me.  I felt a palpable desire among the many women I spoke with that they appreciated how the diverse displays of art all came from women artists and though the work and mediums were varying, the message of unity seemed to resinate. An invaluable lesson learned -the idea of finding commonality does not require us to sacrifice our individual identity. I personally recognized that growth comes as we step out of our comfort zone while in a safe zone.  Though Her Creative Collective is derived from a lifetime of experiences, ideas and thoughts, it was here, where within my minds eye I found courage to envision how all these pieces fit together, and that guided me in developing the model that has become the genesis of Her Creative Collective. 

SP: How would you describe what will happen in this space, what opportunities our readers can find there?

Her Creative Collective is a place and space which has been designed to be holistic in nature.  Meaning, creativity, spirituality, and personal wellness are uniquely blended throughout the environment.  You will find a variety of classes offered throughout the week; yoga, painting, weaving, textile art, meditation, poetry writing, with many more creative and wellness classes to come. I consider this space more than just a classroom type of learning experience. Her Creative Collective is also about building a community, finding inspiration within ourselves while also inspiring others, realizing wellness and discovering new things and sometimes taking risks outside of our comfort zone.  Most of our classes are available to schedule for private group events as well.    

For those who would like to spend time painting in the studio, I offer Open Studio painting, which is made up of a small group who meets on a regular basis to paint while finding encouragement by creating with others.  I believe when creatives gather, a creative synergy occurs and what better way to gather than to actually set up easels and paint.  

Beginning the 18th of October, Her Creative Collective will be open to the public every Friday from noon to 6pm.  This will be a wonderful opportunity for people to visit the space while shopping for local art.  I will also be offering a line of wellness products which will be curated specifically to enhance overall holistic wellness.

There will be a number of special events that will happen throughout the year including mini retreats, full day workshops, pop up shops, visiting artists with Q/A and more.    

SP: What led to the decision to develop as a collective? And what does that mean for participants?

Overman: I have always been very intrigued by words, their meanings, how they affect us when we read them, hear them, speak them.  So using the word “collective” carries with it a lot of meaning for me. To collect, to gather, to cooperate, and as a collective we are not prescribed to fit into identical molds.  Instead, I see our Collective as an eclectic group whose common goal is to encourage and share all varieties of creativity and wellness through gathering of people.

I knew that I wanted to bring a group of women together to teach, guide, lead, inspire others through diverse means and in an environment that was welcoming, offered kindness, acceptance and mutual inspiration.  I have always believed in a collective approach to problem solving, so it made sense that this idea carries over into creativity and wellness.

Every “Collective” is an individual “member” of Her Creative Collective, each offering a wide variety of classes, workshops, and retreats. The Collective recognizes that the phrase “community over competition” is more than a catch phrase, it is an ethos whose approach fully envelops the concept that as one succeeds so do we all. 

By offering diverse classes during varying times of the week there will be a greater opportunity for participation.  My desire is that there will be something for everyone. 

SP: The bringing together of creative pursuits and wellness experiences in one space is a unique model. What was the thinking behind it? Do they two ever intersect in the programming or in the approach to programming?

Overman: Yes, my holistic approach to creativity and wellness is I believe inherently connected.  Creativity is within all of us, it is a powerful tool that I would like to encourage all to tap into.  Creativity is healthy for our bodies, our brains, and for our personal wellness. It cannot be extrapolated and seen as a gift only given to a few.  It is in all of us.  Creativity is our story telling, our venting, our sorrow, it is releasing joy, it is uniquely individual and yet speaks universally and collectively.  To create is to call upon an inner voice, listening to the very needs of our mind and our body; to be fully well. You will find that some, but not all of our classes will intentionally blend creativity and wellness such as mediation and painting, yoga and visualization, relaxation and drawing.  While others will focus mainly on health or art we believe that each will always affect the other.      

SP: What can our readers expect at this Saturday’s grand opening?

Overman: There will be a pop-up shop where a few of the Collectives will be talking about and selling their artisan goods.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about their craft and their future classes at Her Creative Collective. 

You will be able to visit and see for yourself the creative space that has been designed with the idea of blending creativity and wellness. 

Also, there will be “Gratitude Giveaways” which are gifts that will given away to a couple lucky guests along with a goodie bag for every one who visits.  

SP:  How do you see Her Creative Collective evolving over the next year or so?

Overman: I see Her Creative Collective as a place where people gather to inspire and be inspired, to rediscover one’s self.  To find courage to step out of their comfort zone, to explore something new or come back to rekindle and renew. 

I plan to approach growth at Her Creative Collective, organically and thoughtfully all the while building upon knowledge and growing right along with the each participant. 

SP: How can our readers get involved?

Overman: There are a number of ways.

Join us for any of our classes, workshops, open studios (registration is easy through the website).  Visit our website and sign up to receive monthly emails of new classes, upcoming special events/workshops, visiting artists, and our new line of wellness products. 

If you are interested in learning more about being a Collective member— teaching, guiding, leading others through creativity and or wellness please email me at dana@hercreativecollective. 

You may also visit on Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. to chat with Dana starting October 18th to learn more about Her Creative Collective and do a little shopping for the perfect gifting to one’s self or that special someone.

Her Creative Collective Grand Opening
601 E Main St, Mahomet
September 21st, 5 to 8 p.m.

Read more about Her Creative Collective on their website, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram

Learn more about artist Dana Overman’s own work and teaching on her website

Images from Her Creative Collective Facebook page

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