The concept of applying the artistic process to other facets of life is nothing new. But often this notion is applied in lofty, general terms and boiled down to some buzzy phrases. However, anyone who has put deep time and commitment to an artistic work will know that its benefits defy idioms and slogans.

Patricia Hoy, who was a 17-year professor and administrator at Northern Arizona University in the then-called School of Performing Arts, has taken on the big task of looking at the multitude of ways understanding the artistic approach can inform and enrich people beyond the studio. Her new release, “Arts Awareness: A Fieldbook for Awakening Creative Consciousness in Everyday Life,” is 250-plus pages of diving into seven core concepts of creative consciousness and unearthing valuable connections.

For Hoy, the book also goes beyond the pages into a modality of philosophy and thinking that is explored on her website. Learn more at

“I’ve been keeping notes on my observations for all of these years,” Hoy said in a recent phone interview from her Scottsdale home. “I kept sticking them in a drawer. About seven years ago, I started seeing these connections and patterns with all these experiences … I never wrote a book before, but I began looking at these notes and I noticed how some of them were related. I started to sort hundreds of pieces of notes and drawings into piles.”

She added, “Then, I started writing about the stuff in each of those piles. I found I could just write down my thoughts, and that’s how it started … At the end of six months, I had written 50,000 words. I continued that process and I started refining and working on what these concepts were. And momentum built from there.”

Hoy believes that “Arts Awareness” and books like it will become more important as society shifts and changes rapidly. The processes explored and the concepts raised are bound to give people better insight.

“The whole world is changing so much,” Hoy said. “We don’t know what we’re going to be doing tomorrow. It’s going to look so different from what we even know. So, I think that we need to have an entrepreneurial spirit in our lives because of this change that is happening so rapidly. I love the idea that you can take your particular package of experiences in life and combine it and that everyone has a unique story to tell.”

She continued, “Beyond arts, culture and creativity, I really do a lot of reading about leadership, management, psychology and strategies. And I think that has influenced my thinking to a certain degree. And the reflective process that is built into arts — boy, is that important in this world today. That’s the creative element that can come to play in all disciplines.”

For Hoy, many of the concepts of the book surfaced during her time and work at NAU. She came into her own as an educator in her time here.

“I have fond, fond memories of Flagstaff,” she said. “I was Director of Bands at NAU for 17 years. We had a lot of growth during that time. Gene Hughes, the president, was very supportive of what we did. I was the interim director of the School of Performing Arts and a few years later I was the Associate Dean of the School of Performing arts … I really think that my experiences at NAU and in Flagstaff are when I started to formulate my ideas that would lead to this book.”

Features editor Seth Muller can be reached at (928) 913-8668 or


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