A Little History

Learn About Us

Who We Are

The Institute for Art and Living (dba: The Painting Experience) was incorporated in 1982 as a 501(c)3 California nonprofit arts educational organization.

The Institute for Art and Living directors and staff consists of:

  • Founder/Executive Director
  • Board of Directors
  • Training Coordinator
  • Community & Course Coordinator
  • Social Media Manager
  • Administrative Coordinator
  • Facilitators
  • Affiliate Members

For almost 50 years, The Painting Experience has positively impacted the personal and professional lives of thousands of people who have participated in the transformative potential of process painting.


  • 10,000+ registrations in our in-person classes and workshops (since 1976)
  • 800+ registrations in our online classes and workshops annually (since 2015)
  • 350+ participants are currently enrolled in our online courses
  • Approximately 40% of current painters are repeat participants
  • 14+ participants are currently enrolled in our advanced facilitator training

What We Do


The Painting Experience has conducted in-person workshops and retreats in many different locations, and continues to do so:

  • Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California (biannually for 44 years)
  • Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York (annually for for 30 years)
  • Hui Ho’olana Retreat Center on Moloka’i, Hawaii (annually for 27 years)
  • Breitenbush Retreat Center, Detroit, Oregon (annually for 20 years)
  • Hollyhock Retreat Center, Cortes Island, British Columbia (annually for 10 years)
  • Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts
  • Holy Spirit Retreat Center, Encino, California
  • Still Meadow Retreat Center, Damascus, Oregon
  • Great Vow Zen Center, Clatskanie, Oregon
  • San Quentin Prison, Marin County, California
  • Lucent Technologies, Naperville, Illinois
  • Numerous other venues throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe


We currently have two self-paced online courses:

We have an online training program for facilitators leading to a continuing relationship with The Painting Experience consisting of:

We also conduct:

Continuing Education

The Painting Experience is recognized by related professions that support and assist growth-related practices for vulnerable populations. We are licensed by the following organizations to provide CEUs (Continuing Education Credits) for therapists and nurses:

Where We’re Going

Like many organizations, the pandemic required us to adjust our services to function primarily online. This shift proved to have a silver lining, as it has allowed many more people to access the painting experience from the comfort and ease of their own homes. And in turn, this has challenged us to increase our offerings and expand our reach correspondingly. In response, we’re actively exploring ways to develop new programs, support our long-term participants, utilize recent technological breakthroughs, increase our marketing outreach, and bring on new leadership.

How You Can Help

 We invite you to help us ensure that our programs remain available and to create future possibilities for personal and shared exploration. We welcome your support as we embark on this new and exciting chapter of our midlife journey.

Tax-Exempt Donation