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The ARC Vision~

The ARC is a creative hub facilitating explorations and connections to carry a generative space and conjure a Culture of Presence, Play, and Magic Making. At the core of this work is our belief that creative play, creative exploration, creative expression, creative connection, and in fact, also the creative engagement of any mindful play with Materials and Ideas even if not as art, has the power to transform and heal.  Even in times or circumstances when our resources and mobility are more limited(!) Innumerable scientific studies of Arts Education, play-based programs, and newer studies of contemplative practices have shown that children involved in regular creative practices, those who are given ample free-play time, and those who have learned tools to mindfully self-regulate have improved levels of social and emotional intelligence, higher executive functioning skills, higher performance in other learning areas and greater ease with general life skills. Those of us who work in the field of Early Childhood Education know this as a given. 

Art, as well as Creativity in its simplest form, is engaging in Materials and Ideas to create a new form, to express one’s self, and or to communicate to others. This is the foundation to understanding the power of Art as a creative engagement that gives one a voice and a means to connect. Creativity and "Creative Play" (all play being creative...), through any avenue, allows us to explore what we are curious about, what we are questioning, what we feel, what we know and don’t know, and what holds meaning for us. These are also mindful processes that help us to know ourselves as we turn inward, and then connect us with others as our sharing (of the space or objects) becomes an invitation to connect. Such mindful Meaning Making practices are only just beginning to be celebrated across educational arenas, recognizing the generative impact of creative contemplative pedagogy. We are empowering children for life when we engage with intention and mindfulness to transform what was and create new ways to see and be and make together. This is Creative Consciousing

This work shares an affinity with the inspiring methodologies of the Reggio Emilia approach, which affirm that children have 100 languages to express themselves. When we offer up open-ended invitations to engage and play with Materials and Ideas in creative projects, we are inviting children to mindfully engage in an active process of learning, both about objects and ideas, as well as about themselves and others, with whom they will share their works. And when we can recognize and affirm children’s "artistic language” as not only unique, but as valid and valuable, this is when expression becomes mindful connection. This is where the social-emotional and personal growth takes place. This is where art builds character and community. This is also Creative Consciousing~

Founder and Director, Eliza Duenow

Eliza was born into a family of artists and seekers and spent her life exploring these two aspects of herself through what she came to call "Creative Consciousing."™ Her work with children evolved from arts play and cultural studies, to nature explorations and social emotional experiments, and then back to creative play, often now integrated with more materials and ideas, but sometimes with a lot less. She is a champion of connection-based “process over product”, and truly loves her play and making with children.


Eliza worked for a decade in Chicago’s arts education arena, serving as Director of Education at Hyde Park Art Center, the city's longest standing contemporary arts institution. At HPAC, Eliza managed studio and community outreach programs, annually serving over 2,000 children. She also led arts integrated professional development for Chicago Public School teachers, directed the SSAP (South Side Arts Partnership), and designed and organized years of public "TalkShops" for educators and parents. Additionally, she worked with Chicago’s Center for Arts Policy, organizing the Youth Development Through the Arts conference. She has also spoken at the Illinois Arts Education Association, the Art Institute’s Art Education Masters Program, University of Chicago, Play on Athens International Play-Based Educators Conference in Greece, and in 2023 and 2024 the National Arts Education Association Conferences in the U.S. 


In the last ten years, Eliza continued this work in Israel, founding The ARC to bring together artists and community audiences to advance creative work with children. As Director and lead teacher, Eliza runs five sites, as well as mobile initiatives for ages 3-10, hosting Creative Expressions afternoons, Creative Explorers days, and Tel Aviv’s largest English language holiday Creativity Camps and Creative Discovery Field Trips. Eliza also supported the founding of Vertigo Dance Company’s Eco Arts Village and co-founded and has led six years of the 400 family-strong Halloween Community Event in Tel Aviv(!) 


Eliza is an artist, dancer, writer, producer, certified yoga teacher, trauma-informed trained mindfulness practitioner, active academic, cultural dreamer, lover of cities and nature, serial collaborator, connector and community builder. She holds a Masters in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences focusing on Visual Culture Studies, Psychology and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and two Bachelors degrees in International Studies and Comparative Religious Studies (focusing on Eastern Traditions) from Trinity University (summa cum laude). She also holds her own two children, daily when she can catch them(!) 

Eliza bio pic 2021.jpg

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