Big Gratitude and Best Wishes to Teri Grunthaner

The TLA Network expresses deep appreciation for Teri Grunthaner, our outgoing executive director who is transitioning to new work.

Over the last five years, Teri helped us evolve from a tiny non-profit group to an organization that offers a host of trainings, classes, and events that help us honor and explore the power of words. Teri began working for TLAN at a time of financial crisis shortly after the 2014 Power of Words conference, which she attended. She worked diligently with the council (TLAN’s governing board) on fundraising and revisioning ways to make TLAN sustainable, financially but also organizationally. Teri’s special secret power included finding online and other systems to help us organize every aspect of administering our programs and events. She was also a warm and loving presence at many Power of Words conferences, including in Kansas City, Maine, and Vermont, where she made presenters and attendees feel welcome.

Caleb Winebrenner, long-time TLA Network Council member and chair of the Power of Words conference says,

TLAN has a vision for a more conscious and creative world. Without Teri’s diligent work, her attention to detail, and her strategies for making the organization run smoothly, our growth in the last five years would not have been possible. But the real joy of working with Teri was her patient listening, her kind heart, and her enthusiasm for how the arts can brighten the world. While I’ll miss working with her, I’m excited to see the work that she offers the world with her own TLA practice in expressive arts therapy.

The entire TLAN community also expresses deep gratitude toTeri, who helped the organization grow its class offerings, certification, annual conference, and behind the scenes, developed many comprehensive systems for every aspect of TLAN’s record-keeping, budgeting, outreach, and other tasks.

Teri is excited to be moving on to launch her business, Radical Heart Expressive Therapy (

Welcome, Teri Grunthaner!

Teri (to the right) with writer/artist/facilitator Dixie Lubin in the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, KS

Teri (to the right) with writer/artist/facilitator Dixie Lubin in the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, KS

The TLA Network is happy to announce our interim coordinator Teri Grunthaner, who will be answering your emails, keeping records, corresponding with folks, and helping get out the word on our projects, classes, conference, and other opportunities. We’ve asked her to share a few words about her background, and here’s what she has to say:

When I was 18 years old I moved to Humboldt (CA) and joined the circus. Well, it was a club at the university I attended, but it was a circus nonetheless. We performed original theatre productions full of juggling, acrobatics, physical theatre, and shenanigans. We dug deep into ourselves and developed characters that reflected our shadows, guides, and projections. We embodied our stories. We played with our reality and our dreams.

Concurrently, I was taking classes on economics, politics, religion, and environmental studies. I joined other student clubs and community organizations that advocated for social and environmental rights (like MTA), experimented with alternative business and government models (like CoFed), and developed sustainable and appropriate technologies (like CCAT). My membership in and contributions to a community drum ensemble, philosophical study group, and spiritual song and dance circle nourished my soul, and I realized that all of my involvements were in an effort to bring me closer to beloved community.

Then one semester I took a class that changed my life – Theatre of the Oppressed. Dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression suddenly became crystal clear to me as we integrated critical politics, storytelling, and dramatic techniques. I realized how powerful theatre (performance-based and not) was as a means of personal and communal transformation, and decided that I would do my work through this medium.

IMG_1658In 2013 I began a masters program in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Drama Therapy at CIIS in San Francisco. Though I loved my program, I also loved a man who lived in the Midwest. After a year of school, I decided to move to Kansas to be with my partner and continue my education once we deliberated our life plans together. We now live together in East Lawrence, developing the urban permaculture homestead and social justice community center known as the Cosmic Beauty School.

Though my formal education is on hold, I am still working to develop and offer drama therapy groups for social and environmental healing and transformation, addressing such issues as racism, sexism, and apathy/despair in the midst of global catastrophe. I am grateful to be involved in the TLA Network and honored to be contributing as the Interim Coordinator. I have already received much inspiration, connection, and knowledge, and look forward to the many, unpredictable ways our work together will synergize. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me – from TLAN help to creative art therapy collaboration, I’d love to connect with you!