Sue Etheridge has had a career working in prisons as an art therapist for twenty-five years. She has a deep belief that creativity and beauty are basic human needs. As art therapist, she has been responsible for providing art therapy assessment and treatment services to incarcerated psychiatric patients through art. Her work with inmates also serves to enhance the therapeutic environment of the prison hospital. She facilitates opportunities for inmates to have creative self-expression and contribute to aesthetic improvements in their lives. Etheridge has been accustomed to working entirely behind closed doors until recent requests for interviews have made her work better known by the public, largely since having been chosen as an Unsung Hero of Compassion by the Dalai Lama Foundation. This recognition came about because of her involvement in “The Missing Peace,” a major art exhibit honoring the peacemaking efforts of His Holiness. Following that honor, she has been interviewed by radio and print media and has been named Alumnus of the Year by her alma mater, California Baptist University. In addition, Etheridge is a long-time participant in the Lucy Daniels Foundation, which works at the crossroads of creativity and psychoanalysis. She is also a volunteer at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
Ten Things I Can’t Do Without
- Human touch
- Meaningful work
- Simple things: toothpicks, Band-Aids, an eraser, a calendar
- Dogs and cats
- A trustworthy friend
All these items are things inmates routinely live without.