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Beth Ann Short: "I am an art therapist in Portland, Oregon. I founded the 100th Monkey Studio in 2006 with Joy Leising. I continue to run my practice out of the space. I work with children and adults, as well as non-profits serving a range of populations that include developmentally disabled adults as well as youth in the juvenile justice program. These products were created to off-set the cost of discounted and sometimes free services to my clients and the non-profits I work with. I am hoping the items in the studio cyber shop will provide more access to clients who are in need of services."
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What's with all the monkeys?
The name of the studio was inspired by a story of positive social change. It is a story that some believe to be fiction, but the message is one we can all benefit from. The Japanese monkey, Macaca Fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years. It was documented that in 1950's, on the island of Koshima, scientists had been leaving the monkeys sweet potatoes in the sand in exchange for a look into their social culture.
In 1958, one female monkey was documented as washing the sweet potatoes in a nearby stream to rid it of the dirt and sand. She was also documented as teaching the habit to her mother and her playmates. The new trait spread throughout the island. Suddenly not just on this island, but the trait seemed to spread to surrounding islands and onto mainland Japan, where the monkeys were found to be washing their food.
The number 100 is merely a symbol, but in the story it was used to recognize when the trait forever changed the species. This magical occurrence was named the 100th Monkey Phenomenon.
The name of the studio 100th Monkey Studio was adopted because the founders saw the opportunity for humankind to have the same sort of “phenomenon” in relation to using the expressive arts as a means of self-care as well as self-expression. We see art and creativity as the sweet potato, can you guess our role?
You could be the 100th monkey!
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