About Us

In a world that is being dominated by entrepreneurs in the math/science/technology fields, visual artists are made to think that they do not have a place to be equally as successful. We disagree. The curriculum of VAR combines entrepreneurship, business, neuroscience and relationship skills with a visual arts curriculum in order to prepare creative innovators to take the lead in their industries.

- Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, Founder and Licensed Psychologist Our StoryWho We Are

Growing up in the New York City area, my creativity and sense of curiosity was not always embraced.

As a deeply sensitive and quiet child, I did what I was told but watched everyone carefully, often thinking that whatever they were doing was wrong!  I had a slow to warm personality and was more comfortable observing and watching my peers than jumping right in.  When my friends were busy playing “boy” games – as was often the case on my heavily boy dominated street that I grew up on – I found myself in my room pretending to be a fashion designer making my own magazine.

That dream was never taken seriously!

While school was relatively easy for me, I emotionally struggled throughout my childhood and adolescence.   Despite the fact that my family was heavily involved in art education, I was reinforced for my academic/intellectual  skills first.  Report card grades were monetarily rewarded over anything related to my creative pursuits.  I was smart enough to do well but I was not a happy person.

Higher Education’s Impact on my Career Choices

Many would think this is odd  given my experience with artists as a child.  My grandfather, Silas H. Rhodes, was the founder of the School of Visual Arts (SVA) and SVA.  While I had a good relationship with him, he simply wanted to know what my report card looked like, and did little mentoring.  Further, while my mother encouraged some exploration, it was never enough for me to fully develop my curiosity at young age.  She was understandably nervous about her baby leaving the nest!  So when I found myself at Sarah Lawrence College, it was a hard transition to move from being compliant to being encouraged to be more visionary.

SLC is one of the few places that supports creative and innovative thinking.  It was here that I learned that the right level of support makes a difference in someone’s ability to produce amazing work.

Yet, I remember how stressed I was while I was finishing my undergraduate degree! I was faced with an important decision – go out into the job market or stay in school.  My academic faculty encouraged graduate school education without much discussion of work outside of the academic walls.  After an internship with NYU working with kids with ADHD, I decided I wanted to be a psychologist who studied relationships.  Going to graduate school was “the thing” to do in NY.

From Undergraduate Study to Relationship Expert

Early in my career, I studied all kinds of relationships!   I studied the student-teacher relationship.  I studied the parent-child relationship.  I studied the relationship between foster and biological parents.  What I learned and discovered was how much the perception of a relationship mattered in determining the later quality of a relationship.  If one parent thought another parent was a horrible parent, then guess what, that parent was rated poorly on a parenting practices survey.    If a parent dismisses the emotional needs of her child before the child is even born then at age 3, they are highly likely to have a poor relationship.    I became a psychologist who was fascinated by how we talk about all kinds of human relationships because relationships are necessary for healthy brain development.   I went on to study with some of the best attachment researchers in the world at Tulane University Medical School – another place that values relationship skills in its workplace more than any other academic center I ever worked in!

Over time, I realized that relationships and emotional support are necessary for creativity and innovation.

In 2013, I took my very academic training regarding the perception of human relationships and launched my own relationship consultation business. My team continues to work with men and women who want to make good decisions but face the complexity of an industry that not only does not support their decision to choose a healthy relationship but, at times, actively discourages them from doing so. Everyday our clients feel frustrated, bored, and tired of being single.  They feel the pressure to get married.

Since 2015, Rapport Relationships has seen a trend of younger clients asking for assistance for their dating life when the real core issue is a lack of meaning.  All of our clients are creative professionals whose values do not always match the culture they are living and dating in.  We have seen an increase in the lack of commitment, an increase in fear of taking a chance, and an overall increase in unhappiness.

Our clients were showing up with money in their pockets but were emotionally unfulfilled.  They sought assistance in finding a life partner but we showed them how to fulfill their own dreams first. 

When we began to work with our clients as a team, we realized that many of them had unexpressed creative energy.  We had the filmmaker with poor self worth looking for validation from women, the graphic designer with a highly exploratory personality trying to fit her life into a NYC mentality, and a nurse who was much more suited for entrepreneurial life but who had been told to play it safe and get married.

Success is Inevitable with the Right Support Team

Rather than working on these individuals personal lives, we helped them build a team of professionals to support their entire lifestyle – and amazing things began to happen.

The filmmaker became a true working artist when he started working with a business coach rather than a dating coach.  The nurse moved to a city that supported her vision and she also found love.  The highly exploratory client left the United States and found a new love of dancing and a new sense of accomplishment and success in her career.

We have enough case studies to know that the emotional support, positive interventions and mentoring makes a difference in the lives of creative people who are feeling lost or unsure of their next step.

Yet, our society keeps failing them and making them feel like failures for not taking a traditional career path or for finding love at the “appropriate age.”

WHY VAR?

Visual Arts Reimagined was born out of my family’s legacy of giving visual artists the tools, space, and time to become the artists they were meant to be.  Yet, our society has changed and traditional art education no longer works for many students.  VAR seeks to fill in that gap, provide the professional and personal support each students needs to succeed in multiple areas of their life while building a community of professionals dedicated to supporting each other’s growing curiosity and commitment to exploring the world.  We seek to give artists, who are the first real entrepreneurs, the support needed to design their lives by launching a business that speaks to their individual passions.

In a world that is being dominated by entrepreneurs in the math/science/technology fields, visual artists are made to think that they do not have a place to be equally as successful.  We disagree.  The curriculum of VAR combines entrepreneurship, business, neuroscience and relationship skills with a visual arts curriculum in order to  prepare these creative innovators  to take the lead in their industries rather than feel like they are behind.

Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist | Founder of VAR

Jason Treu

Jason Treu

Executive Business Coach | Author & TEDx Speaker | VAR Advisor

We are here to support you and we want creative thinkers who have been told they are failures. You have too much to offer the world to give up your dreams and passions when all you need are the tools to succeed.

- Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, Founder and Licensed Psychologist

This is who we are

Board of Advisors and Faculty

Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes

Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes

Licensed Psychologist | Founder of VAR

Dr. Irene Zilber

Dr. Irene Zilber

Licensed Psychologist | VAR Advisor

Patty Rose Slater

Patty Rose Slater

Creativity Coach | Dance & Movement Instructor | VAR Faculty

Danielle Dyen-Shapiro

Danielle Dyen-Shapiro

Research Assistant

Jason Treu

Jason Treu

Executive Business Coach | Author & TEDx Speaker | VAR Advisor

Isar Wadhwa

Isar Wadhwa

Psychology Assistant/Marketing + Events

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