Biography 

of 

Elizabeth Garlington, M.Ed., CRC


I have come to realize that in my many life experiences, the arts have always beckoned invitation...No matter the DSM-V diagnosis or the recommendations by a special education team or a ruling by a probate judge for a child in juvenile adjudication or a decision by school administration that would impact an adolescent; I have always included crayons and watercolors in my toolbox as a salve for any hardship my students or clients were experiencing.

                                                                         

                                                                                       Elizabeth Garlington

 

                                                                                                                         


Beginnings

I was born with crayons in my cradle and books in my crib and knew from a very early age that I was a visual artist. As a maker, mine is a call to read, write, paint, draw, collage, craft narrative art quilts, and immerse myself in collaborative creative tasks with others.

Personal Use of the Arts

I professionally work in the media of fiber art and began crafting narrative art quilts in 1997. The story of my professional development as a fiber artist begins with my love of story and written expression. I am an academically trained visual artist but am also self-taught, friend-taught, book-taught, and find visual and inspirational guidance from art history texts, design journals, the craft work of my peers, music lyrics, and images of fine craft. I have regular gallery representation with the Southern Highland Craft Guild and my quilts are in the permanent collections of hospitals throughout the southeast. I believe that art is not made in isolation but in community. I am called as an artist to use my quilts as a voice for those without a voice and as a means for my own voice to be heard—sometimes loudly and sometimes softly. I believe that the breadth of experiences in the fields of education and counseling coupled with the fine craft of narrative art quilts has led me on an exquisite artistic journey. My narrative art work evolves with me and is in a continually fluid process.

Education & Early Career

After receiving a B.S.Ed. in Art Education and Drawing and Painting from The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, I followed a somewhat typical path and began a career as an art teacher for special needs students in alternative education. My undergraduate training included courses titled Art for the Mentally Retarded and Developmental Art Therapy accompanied by practicums and in-services at Georgia Mental Retardation Center (GMRC) and Georgia Mental Health Institute (GMHI). Diagnostic labels have changed drastically since the 1980’s and I have moved in the human service professions experiencing ubiquitous changes in structures, deinstitutionalization that led to community mental health centers, and now the widespread privatization of services for at-risk populations. I am a highly qualified (HQ) teacher for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) with educator licenses in the areas of Visual Arts, Severe and Profound/Cross Categorical (EC), and Gifted (AIG) Education.

Post Graduate Education

My personal experience with physical rehabilitation in 1983 led me to graduate studies in Rehabilitation Counseling at Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia. The completion of my master’s degree brought me to public sector community mental health as a mental health clinician and disability case management as a Rehabilitation Counselor. My personal experience with injury and associated trauma strengthened and informed an empathic regard for individuals in the processes physical and psychological adjustment to disability. I am a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).

The Arts, Education, & Counseling

My love of the fine arts has deeply informed many of my life decisions and choices. No matter the DSM diagnosis or the recommendations by a special education team or a ruling by a probate judge for a child in juvenile adjudication or a decision by school administration that would impact an adolescent; I have always included crayons and watercolors in my toolbox as a salve for any hardship my students or clients were experiencing. I have devoted many efforts in the field of human services; combining expertise in the visual arts with special education and expressive arts program initiatives. I have come to realize that in my many life experiences, the arts have always beckoned invitation.

Theory of Practice

I believe that people teach what they want to learn and my love of the fine arts has deeply informed many of my life decisions and choices. As an educator, counselor, and professional visual artist, I hold true to many of the theories posited by Alfred Bandura, Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, Rudolph Arnheim, Howard Gardner, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Shaun McNiff as the psychologies surrounding social learning, developmental theory, the visual process, multiple intelligences, flow theory, and expressive arts therapies have deeply informed the planning of prospective community-based arts programming initiatives in my western North Carolina community.

Professional Community

I am a Regional Artist Project Grants Recipient from the North Carolina Arts Council and was awarded juried artist membership in the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 2008. My professional associations include The National Art Education Association, The Mint Museum of Art (Charlotte, NC), The High Museum of Art (Atlanta), International Expressive Arts Association (IEATA), and Orchesis Honor Society, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.

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