Holistic leadership in the Arts

The Holistic Leadership in the Arts workshop, started by Suzy McCalley, focuses on the connection between art and self awareness.

Holistic leadership in the Arts
August 22
10:15 2019

By Monica Fatorma

The search for outlets that increase mindfulness is becoming an ever increasing area of focus in our society. This has helped popularize various exercises and forms of expression such as yoga, meditation, and mantras.

In her workshop, Holistic Leadership in the Arts, Suzy McCalley focuses on how art and self awareness are intertwined. Although studies on how the arts affect mindfulness are scarce and only recently getting more attention, McCalley states, “The idea of holistic leadership in the arts is nothing new.” 

Some activities during her workshop required quiet introspection, while others allowed participants the opportunity to become vulnerable in front of complete strangers. By the end of the workshop, this mix of self reflection brought a power in the room that could be felt. Participants at McCalley’s workshop, who were mostly women from various backgrounds, found themselves opening up more to strangers and sharing their experience and what they wanted to take away from it. As one participant, Peyton Marion, expressed, “It worked out really well! We had a good community of women and were able to talk about our power and the ways that we feel that we could lift each other up as a community. It’s so valuable.”

McCalley, who is fluent in other art forms including dance, theatre and more, understands why it is important to “reclaim the tools of who we are.” She stated that it is easy for people to slip into the trap of becoming labels that others put on you instead of taking a step back and not allowing oneself to become limited by these labels. Oftentimes, not enough self reflection or introspection lead to a host of problems that can manifest in an individual’s personal life. “If we had more leaders who were being whole people, we wouldn’t have some of the issues that we are having in the world,” McCalley expressed.

McCalley is excited more people are realizing the importance of using the arts to understand oneself. She hopes that participants of the workshop learn “to be more of who we are, to have faith in that, and to allow more of us [ourselves] to come through.”

McCalley’s session was part of the annual Artivate Summit held at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts. Information on similar events and workshops held year round can be found at

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