Invited talks about Visual Fitness and its Importance

Invited talks about Visual Fitness and its Importance

This fall I gave several invited Zoom presentations on Visual Fitness and its applications; Each session engaged participants in deep exploration of an artwork connected to a timely virtue as well as our experience of the 2020 Pandemic. I presented “Learn to See More: Riding The Great Wave & the Pandemic” for two arts organizations: Rockville Art League and Smith Center for the Healing Arts.

In September, I presented “Visual Fitness 4 All®:  A Balanced Way of Seeing® Art and Museums” to docents  and staff at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  This interactive training session focused on the art of John T. Biggers and the virtues of Fortitude. After using FTC to explore Shotgun, Third Ward #1 from Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, participants applied their discoveries by using an FTC Palette to interpret the John Biggers’ 1994 “Untitled” painting in their own collection.  The workshop ended with a conversation about using FTC to decode the museum itself, as a work of art.   One docent shared the following testimonial:

“…Her talk was well organized and her delivery of the information was succinct and perfect. I will definitely incorporate her ideas into my future tour planning…  I think Renee’s ideas will work well with all ages of museum visitors. Her presentation would be appreciated by many at the museum including many of the guards who love to share what they know.” 

Digging Deeper into Art and Virtues during Uncertainty

Digging Deeper into Art and Virtues during Uncertainty

During the summer of 2020, I developed and taught new weekly Visual Fitness workshops.  They focused on artworks connected to timely Virtues including: Resilience, Endurance, Fortitude, and Strength through Service.  Participants discovered much more than they initially saw in the artwork and related this to their life experiences in shared group discussion and Marking & Mapping on paper.

“The workshop was so cathartic, therapeutic, empowering, supportive, educational and authentic. It was exactly what I needed… today.”

 “The variety of images and how Renee Sandell “wove” these images together into a compelling and optimistic theme about resilience and endurance during this difficult time.”

“I’m kinda starting over again as an artist and a citizen of earth – trying to be more present. I find it very helpful to talk about our perceptions – our seeing the world. I’m working on re-seeing everything.”

The workshop helped me remember that I have strengths to draw on during this difficult time. It also reaffirmed my belief that community is essential to our well being. You helped us feel connected to each other through art. Thank you.


Riding The Great Wave & the 2020 Pandemic

Resilience Workshops
May 2, 30, June 13 & 27

In May and June 2020, Renee began offering bimonthly Art & Resilience workshops on Zoom to SEE MORE in Art and Life. On selected Saturdays, groups of individuals limited to twelve, joined Renee for a hands-on, interactive art “workout,” designed to strengthen our collective and individual resilience. Based on Renee’s Balanced Way of Seeing® , we used Form+Theme+Context (FTC)® to explore layers of meaning in Hokusai’s The Great Wave. Examining the significance of this work participants made meaningful connections to the 2020 Pandemic, the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests. Reflecting on past “Great Wave” moments in their lives, everyone rediscovered personal sources of resilience needed for the increasingly challenging issues in uncertain times ahead.

“I really felt cleansed and liberated after attending your last workshop.

“I really loved this workshop. Informative, therapeutic, well-paced… It was a joy to meet other participants and share thoughts and emotions that the Great Wave elicited during this very difficult time in our world.”

Workshop: Conversing with Art™

Workshop: Conversing with Art™

Renee’s workshop “Conversing with Art” at the National Gallery of Art for Women’s Caucus for Art DC Chapter November 16, 2019 was a great success! Participants shared their thoughts about the workshop.

“Such a wonderful workshop. Your preparation, enthusiasm and knowledge made this experience quite enjoyable. I learned so much and enjoyed every minute. Thank you for your willingness to give this workshop and all the time and effort you spent to make this such a worthwhile endeavor. Much appreciation.”

—Workshop Participant

“I really enjoyed your workshop today at the NGA. Thank you for the thought provoking and inspirational experience!”

—Workshop Participant

Workshop: Engaging Creativity & Insight® in Mexico!

November 30-December 6, 2019

Develop your Visual Fitness by exercising and building your creative muscles while greatly enhancing your critical thinking skills for deeper insight. Enjoy unique interactive conversations and fun hands-on experiences that will engage you in SEEING MORE in art and life at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico!  

Click here for information 

SummerVision DC 2019

Summer Vision DC
July 16-19, 2019

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, SummerVision DC is designed as a museum bootcamp to build your Visual Fitness as your explore at least eight diverse art museums in the Nation’s Capital.

We will use Form+Theme+Context (FTC)® to Explore Art, Architecture, and the Museum as a Work of Art!  Enjoy daily Marking & Mapping®  Visual Journaling, Conversation, Research, Reflection, & Connections.  Intended to ‘Nurture the Nurturer,’ SummerVision DC will help you interact with diverse educators in our evolving Professional Learning Community (PLC) from all over the US and beyond, You will experience exemplary museum practices through inspirational hands-on gallery activities, creatively use your own Portable Studio for daily visual journaling, engage in exploratory research, study original art objects, receive museum resources, and much more to develop your “new eyes” that transform your teaching, art-making, and art understandings as well as networking and leadership skills.  With your most comfortable walking shoes and sun hat, please join our PLC for the SummerVisionDC 2019 expedition!

Conversing with Art: Up Close and Personal 

Conversing with Art: Up Close and Personal 

Saturday, April 13, 2019  10 am to Noon McLean Project for the Arts

Join artist/art educator Renee Sandell, PhD for a hands-on, multi-sensory workshop that will engage your creativity and insight as you decipher deeper meanings of art.  Strengthen your “Visual Fitness” as you experience a guided, in-depth, and personal “conversation” with a postcard-sized reproduction to discover its visual forms, themes, and contexts. Using a packet of playful materials and creative strategies, each participant decodes and explores an artwork’s layers of meaning. This fun workshop concludes with an opportunity for lively group sharing of observations and unusual discoveries from what you have seen.

2019 Lowenfeld Lecture Delivered at NAEA Convention