Arla Patch, BFA, Ed., MFA, is an artist, writer, social activist and “creativity midwife.” Using art as a tool for healing and personal transformation, she has facilitated many groups and individuals over her 40 plus year career. These have included cancer survivors, at-risk teens and those recovering from sexual abuse, domestic violence, and substance abuse.
She has taught art in both the public and private sectors. This includes the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, in Rhinebeck, NY, her private art program Explorations, as an artist-in-residence, and at numerous colleges and universities. Her work with incarcerated women and at-risk teens provided the subject of her two award-winning books: A Body Story and Finding Ground: Girls and Women in Recovery. She also works one on one with individual clients, and has facilitated numerous conferences and workshops, including in Thailand and Taiwan. She also taught incarcerated youth in Philadelphia with the CLAYMOBILE program.
Arla grew up moving every few years, as her father was a pilot in the Navy. As a child she lived in Naples, Italy where her family traveled extensively. Her parents divorce landed her in Bucks County, Pennsylvania until her senior year when her family moved to Southeast Asia. She graduated from high school in Bangkok, Thailand, studied at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA and Rome, Italy, and did her graduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
Her interest in healing has also led to her involvement with the first truth and reconciliation commission in the United States for what happened to Indigenous children in the child welfare system, the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She served as the Community Engagement Coordinator, educating the non-Native community about the need for the truth commission. She is continuing to work on Indigenous rights education here in Pennsylvania and New Jersey having received grants through the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, and gives a talk about our shared history with Native peoples.
She is a member of Doylestown Quaker Meeting (Society of Friends) and is a member of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s FCRC First Contact Reconciliation Collaboration.
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