It has been almost five years since the Zentangle Foundation was officially recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The journey started in 2015 when a CZT reached out to Rick and Maria with an offer of a donation to support others to attend training to become Certified Zentangle Teachers. As with all projects at Zentangle, with careful and deliberate strokes, one stroke at a time, the foundation was established.
Over these years, the foundation has supported programs for professional and personal caregivers, people struggling with substance use, people living with cancer, people experiencing mental health conditions and programs to help teens and young adults. The Zentangle Foundation has also sponsored a study on the effects of a tangling practice on persons experiencing serious mental illness. Also core to the mission is the support of training new Certified Zentangle Teachers. Every scholarship recipient has very compelling stories of how they plan to use and share the Zentangle Method.
One of this year’s recipients went on to teach at a summer upward bound program. All the students served are from low income or first-generation families that want to pursue education beyond high school. The goal of teaching the Zentangle Method to these students was to help students develop habits that promote relaxation and well-being to counter the stressors of high school and college life. As part of the program, the CZT had the students fill out a reflection on taking the Zentangle class. Below are some of the responses.
“In this class I experienced what it means to trust my creativity. To find peace in making mistakes rather than stressing over them. That’s what made me fall in love with this class. …..I especially loved when after we were done with our work we’d take a second to appreciate what we did.”
“Because of what I experienced in this class, I now have a fun way of relaxing with a great piece of artwork as a bonus.”
“The experience of Zentangle has gradually impacted my life & lifestyle. When I first came into the class, I had a different perspective/mindset than I do now. I thought that even when trying, that my dreams and goals were unattainable, out of reach. But then [the teacher] said something the very first day and it’s something I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life (I swear I’m not exaggerating anything, this really did happen in my brain). [She] said “anything’s possible one stroke at a time”. And every day since then I have kept that in the back of my mind, anything’s possible one stroke at a time. I would never have had the motivation to do the day to day things if I hadn’t heard that 6 weeks ago. Since then, I have become slightly more outgoing, more organized, and less stressed. All because I took baby steps, one step at a time, one stroke at a time. Because Zentangle showed me that I really can achieve something one stroke at a time.”
These reflections are what energize the foundation, the impact that practicing and sharing the Zentangle Method can have. The following are reflections from teachers and participants in programs that received grants from the Zentangle Foundation in 2023.
“We were gifted a beautiful kit to use that day and take home with us, and what a gift that was. I couldn’t wait to get home and continue creating, it was so freeing for me. I didn’t realize how much art could help in my healing, but soon discovered that art therapy actually reduces my stress and anxiety, helps to focus my mind, keeps me calm, and mostly brings me joy.”
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Zentangle sessions. They have filled me with hope, support & creativity. This program has been an integral part of my healing journey. I always look forward to each session. I have formed friendships with the participants and leaders. I always feel encouraged, inspired, & filled with love.”
“I can tell you the experience was incredible. We taught some as young as 5 and as old as ninety+. The feedback in the room was amazing.”
“Thank you again for your help and support in bringing Zentangle into this space. Mental illness and particularly mental illness in older persons is an area of our health system that is often overlooked with patients marginalised and staff exhausted, so to be able to do something positive in this space is fantastic”
“The other day we were Zentangling with a small group of patients and one lady with a major mental illness, early dementia and chronic back pain was due medication for her pain. She told the nurse to go away as ‘this drawing is helping more with my pain than those pills ever do’.”
We hope next year that we can share more wonderful feedback with you. As you plan your year-end giving, we would appreciate it if you would consider supporting the Zentangle Foundation. We are able to support these teachers and organizations and the impact they are having on others because of your support.
To learn more or make a charitable donation to the Zentangle Foundation click here.
Finally, we would like to take to moment thank all the grant recipients that are bringing the Zentangle Method to people they think would benefit from it, the newly minted CZTs and the CZTs that have been teaching the method for years, and all the tanglers out there. We are filled with gratitude for this beautiful community.
We welcome you to share in the comments below how the gift of the Zentangle Method and its philosophies left an impression on you.
In honor of Giving Tuesday, Zentangle, Inc. will select a few commentors at random. We will send a gift of the Zentangle Method for you to give to someone who you think may benefit. A gift that keeps giving!