(for introductions & media purposes)
Valerie Walawender, M.A., an Art Facilitator and Consultant, presented an ArtVillage workshop at the New York State Psychology Association’s 75th Convention, with Dr. Bruce Klonsky, Ph.D., Dr. Sandy Vedavato, Ph.D. and Ralph Siriani, on June 8, 2012. The name of the presentation was “Artists and Psychologists as Witnesses, Healers, and Social Activists.”
With a Masters Degree in Liberal Arts from Empire State College, Walawender’s studies focused on the development of “art-based tools designed to help people who had experienced trauma and loss.” She also holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree focusing on documentary photography, and an Associates of Science degree in Advertising Design. In 2011, she was invited to be a presenter at SUNY Fredonia Convocation Series (Faces & Phases of Creativity).
Probably most famous for her creation of Faces in the Crowd, an art-based diversity and violence prevention tool, Walawender has made presentations across the U.S.A. for such prestigious clients as the Museum of Tolerance/Simon Wiesenthal University and Kent State University. The Faces in the Crowd program was endorsed by Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, as “one of the best diversity/violence prevention tools in the country” and later adopted by the M.K. Institute for Nonviolence in Memphis, Tennessee, as part of their programming.
Having created numerous community initiatives, Walawender’s career includes work as a documentary photographer; Director of Advertising for a national manufacturing company; Exhibit Specialist for the Miami Zoo; Guest Curator of Folk Arts for Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University; and Executive Director of a regional art gallery. Active as a folklorist, Walawender also enjoys success as a puppeteer, muralist, etched glass sculptor, and inventor.
In addition to serving as Art Facilitator for Hospice of Chautauqua County and others, Walawender offers her skills as a professional Artist and Consultant for a variety of clients. She lives with her husband and their two sons on a hundred year old farm in the fruit belt of Western New York.