Please join us in welcoming Berry Stein—Founder of Art Life Practice as a new FRĒDA Woman! As an art educator who provided a space that prioritizes creative expression as part of your wellbeing, we love her work in fostering a more joyful, nourished community with art.
Read on for more about creativity and connection as well as her favorite art outings in LA!
TALK TO US ABOUT YOU.
I moved to LA from New York about five ago, having been in the city for nine years. While in New York, I went through two rounds of grad school (spent lots of time in the library) and worked in the art museum and school settings as an art educator and school teacher. When I moved to LA, I worked as a teaching artist at the amazing organization Inner-City Arts, working with youth from LAUSD schools who don’t have arts programming at school.
Over the past several years, I have been dreaming and scheming to start something that combined my love for art history, art making, and bringing people together for fun and creative experiences. After the encouragement of friends and family, I finally started Art Life Practice in 2019. A L P is a platform for creative expression, aiming to incorporate art into everyday life by way of DIY kits and in-person activations.
WHAT DOES CREATIVE EXPRESSION MEAN TO YOU?
We are all born with an instinct to create - it’s what makes us human. I genuinely believe that creative expression is the route to authenticity–the more that we create, the more we discover ourselves and realize our desires, impulses, habits, etc.–our truest selves. When we take the time and energy to develop our own ideas, we are activating our inner nature, and this enables us to get crystal clear on expressing who we are and what matters to us.
HOW DO YOU CHANNEL YOUR CREATIVITY DAILY?
Great question! I like to keep my collage, drawing, and watercolor materials on hand in the kitchen or the dining table, and I always carve out time–sometimes it’s only 10 minutes–but I love to casually play and experiment with materials in different ways. I have surrounded myself with lots of art books, so if I am in need of inspiration I will browse a book that I haven’t picked up in a while.
HOW DOES YOUR BUSINESS HELP THE COMMUNITY?
The mission of A L P is grounded in the mounting scientific evidence that engaging in creative behaviors can improve mental and physical health, increase joyfulness, and make us more productive and fulfilled—both personally and professionally.
It is my goal as an educator to bring quality experiences with art and creativity to as many people as I possibly can, and fundamentally transform the way that people engage with visual creative expression. As a society I would argue that we could all benefit from less screen time and more quality time with ourselves and loved ones, engaging in experiences that are nourishing and expansive. I try to instill that within the A L P community as much as possible!
The bigger vision for ALP involves a nonprofit component to the company, offering quality experiences with art to audiences/communities that do not have access to art supplies or arts programming. Creative expression is a fundamental human right, and we are firm believers that everyone should have access to the tools and materials to do so.
WHAT DOES CONNECTION MEAN TO YOU?
When I hear the word ‘connection’ I immediately think of the various relationships that bring me so much joy and nourishment, whether that be with friends, family, loved ones, etc. I thrive on authentic connections, and I think that’s why I love doing what I do with the workshops, because it is this really unique opportunity for people to connect with themselves and others in an unusual way.
HOW DO YOU THINK CONNECTION AND ART RELATE?
I believe that art and connection are innately intertwined, and art is one of the most powerful and impactful mechanisms for connection–with oneself and the world around us. We connect to artists and ideas through looking at art; we connect to ourselves when we make art; and we connect to the world around us when we share experiences with art–whether that is viewing art in museums, galleries, parks, etc. or creating and talking about art with friends or strangers.
WHAT CONNECTIONS HAVE HELPED YOU IN YOUR SUCCESS?
Over the past few years as A L P is in its nascent stages, I have leaned heavily on the generosity and kindness of a lot of incredibly supportive friends (Betsy Simon, among others). I work best collaboratively, so connecting with people who share the same values as me, but can offer a fresh perspective on certain ideas is fundamental to my process. I joke that I had no business starting a business and at times I feel like I am flying blind, and everything that I have accomplished these past few years I attribute to the relationships that I have made and the generosity of friends and acquaintances who see the vision for A L P and help me in a variety ways.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I am currently working on a guided sketchbook that incorporates creative play prompts and mini-art history lessons. I have found that a blank sketchbook or journal can feel really intimidating, so I am working on ways to make the daily creative practice routine a little bit more approachable–and also fun and interesting.
WHAT’S YOUR MANTRA?
This isn’t a mantra per say, but I try to live by the ethos of this quotation by our *Greatest National Treasure* Dolly Parton, “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” There is nothing more powerful and fulfilling than sharing kindness, and this can be expressed in so many different ways. But even the smallest gesture of kindness and acknowledgement is a vital part of my daily life.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
Continuing to nurture Art Life Practice and finding ways that I can reach new audiences and share more experiences with art and creativity!
HOW DO YOU EXPLORE THE ARTS IN LA THROUGH…
MOCA and the Hammer are my favorite museums in LA, honorable mention to the Norton Simon in Pasadena.
Francois Ghebaly, Vielmetter, David Kordansky, Del Vaz Projects.
SO much inspiration here, from Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra to Frank Lloyd Wright and John Lautner - there are so many important architectural marvels in LA.
Hollywood Bowl in the summer or Walt Disney Hall.
The Ahmanson or the Geffen are my go-to’s for live performance.
I live near the New Beverly theater and it is such an LA treasure - I try to go whenever there’s a classic that I want to revisit on film.
Huntington Gardens, Escondido Beach in Malibu, hiking in Griffith Park.
Ototo, Holbox, Horses, Courage Bagels are a few of my favorites!