How to be creative in a box

We’ve shared a number of ideas on how to engage artists, but there is another level to being creative with your online session.

An important consideration is that an online session forces us to be in a box. The frame of the web camera is the confusing and frustrating aspect of any online session.

So being creative in a box can be challenging, but it is definitely possible. Let’s look at how artists can use online sessions as incubators for connection and creativity.

However, these exercises are best used when the group has built up some trust and connection. You will have to know your own group to decide whether these exercises are going to work.

Picture of a woman painting.
iStock Photo

Setting the Stage

I often start with a group meditation. Being mindful together can get people to feel more grounded and comfortable being creative.

An important consideration is to recognize what people are capable of. For example, just being aware that some people are deaf or have low vision can alter the approach you would take in your session. Being sensitive to all capabilities is respectful to people in your online session.

10-Minute Meditation

  1. Sit comfortably listening to the sounds around you.
  2. Feel your connection to the pillow, chair, or ground. Feel your feet touching the ground. (~1 min)
  3. Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth (~1 min)
  4. Now close your eyes if you haven’t already and continue to breathe (~1 min)
  5. Start with the top of your head and scan down your body. Are there spots that need attention and focus? How are you doing?  (~3-4 mins)
  6. Concentrate on your breath and inhale and exhale, count to 10, and then start again. (~3-4 mins)
  7. Now let your mind go to wherever it needs to.
  8. Start to hear the sounds around you. Come back to the room.

Opening Up to Creativity

Once people have started to relax, then some of these exercises can be creative and exciting. I give you the high level of each exercise, and you can decide ways to implement them that make sense for you. Typically, these exercises range from 10-15 minutes. You can try shorter time limits if you are concerned about the group’s trust and feeling of safety.