About ACL | Julia Duncan


applied (adj): intended for particular technological or practical uses
          creativity (n): the ability to think or invent something new or “use new eyes”
                    lab (n): a site for experimentation, testing, and practice; a seminar offering practical experience

The Applied Creativity Lab Is a state of mind, an urge to explore, a yearning to live the questions now, a conversation about meaning, a need to connect, a base camp for the exploration of human creativity and inner space, and a site offering sustenance and support for mind and spirit.

My vision for the Applied Creativity Lab is a vibrant and welcoming community art, craft, and maker space, focusing on the expressive visual, literary, and functional arts, comprising classrooms, studios, equipment, a library, an artisan boutique, a supplies shop, gallery areas, and gathering space.

My mission is to foster discovery, nurture connection, support artists, augment local arts education, and enhance the marketplace by offering open access to quality instruction and hands-on experiences, diverse exhibitions and events, and a local/online source for specialized supplies, tools, unique gifts, and local and regional handcrafted goods and artisinal wares.

My personal focus is on exploring, harnessing, and promoting creative self-expression’s potential for making meaning and strengthening self and community.

Information is scattered throughout the site, and more will be added regularly, so bookmark the Lab, send questions and suggestions, and make time to make art!


I hope to recruit a “know-tank,” a living reservoir of ideas, support, camaraderie, and so forth, among creative people eager to connect, learn, grow, teach, exhibit, gather, and exchange. If you are part of the local tribe of humans curious about the power of the expressive arts, I look forward to meeting you soon. Please contact me if you are interested in becoming a member, board participant, affiliate, teacher, coach, student, staffer, volunteer, cheerleader, or friend of the Lab.



Thinking more creatively; creating more thoughtfully.
Improving life through promoting creative self-expression and exploration of our authentic selves.

Bio: I live in beautiful southern Maryland on the East Coast of the U.S. with my spouse. After successfully raising a son and a daughter (whew!) and enjoying a career in publishing, I’m approaching my third age with excited anticipation.

Roles: Artist, Creativity Coach, and Founder of the Applied Creativity Lab

I’m also an experienced publication specialist with a deep respect for precise and graceful language and a knack for managing multiple priorities, offering top-notch editorial abilities combined with proven people skills, technological know-how, and administrative dexterity.

Skills and abilities brief
◊ Demonstrated care and attention in all editorial phases of publication production
◊ Especially adept at advanced copy editing, including fact checking and final reads
◊ Tech-savvy, with polished skills in Office, Acrobat, page-makeup programs, and more
◊ Highly organized with a detail-oriented focus and a people-oriented style

For 25 earlier years, I lived in the Washington, D.C., area and worked in publishing all over — magazines, books, newspapers, law firms, nonprofits, corporate websites, and the list goes on. I specialized in expert copy editing. If you want to see a resume or a list of publications I worked on, or if you need freelance writing or editorial services, please feel free to contact me at julia@juliaduncan.com

Questions Answered

What are the expressive arts?

Expressive arts, in the narrowest sense, are those arts and crafts primarily intended for personal purposes as opposed to those meant to be either purely decorative, useful, or performed, published, or otherwise shared with the public.

In this sense of the term, the emphasis often shifts from the aesthetic to the meaningful or transformational. Crossover is invited and welcome—discovering artistic merit beyond the intimately personal is a marvelous bonus—but unnecessary.

In a broader sense, of course, all arts are expressive, even those we don’t necessarily think of as creatively artistic. Everything that exists, outside of nature itself, is an expression of human creativity and ingenuity.

“In expressive arts, there is absolutely no expectation to perform. This is not Art with a capital A. We’re not attempting to make art for the sake of art. We’re not making art to be exhibited in a gallery, or creating dance, music, or drama to be performed, or writing in order to get published. Criticism, perfectionism, or preoccupation with technique has no place in the expressive arts, except perhaps to be exposed for what it is. Rather than being art for art’s sake, it’s art for the person’s sake. It is the process that matters most…. In expressive arts, as long as the art product captures what the soul needs to express, the work has served its purpose.”

Living with Feeling by Lucia Capacchione (who also wrote Visioning)

What is an applied creativity lab?

Applied creativity is rooted in the theoretical, like an applied science, but concerned largely with using the methods of creative expression in profoundly personal systems of self-communication, transformation, and growth toward wisdom, health, and greater generative capacities.

In making art, we communicate with the world. In making craft, we shape, use, and admire the world. In applied creativity, we can use the expressive arts and their private meanings to communicate with our own deepest selves and to build our unique paths toward true self-realization.

The term applies most readily to the visual, language, and practical arts—visual arts include drawing, painting, collage, calligraphy, etc.; transformative language arts use the written and spoken or sung word (possibly unique as they are open to nearly all and infinite in their capacity to increase learning and understanding); and practical or functional arts include art journaling, book arts, doll making, and many other crafts.

A lab is a place for experimentation, learning, and practical experience.


Nothing on this website should be taken as medical, psychological, legal, or financial advice. The author/founder is not an expert in any of those areas. Nothing written by any guest should be taken as representative of the opinions of the founder or the ACL. Everything here expresses the author’s opinion alone unless otherwise explicitly labeled.