About Laura


Laura Garrard is an artist, writer, board certified massage therapist, certified lymphatic therapist, yoga instructor and Reiki master teacher who lives in Jackson, Wyoming. Her professional massage therapy membership and insurance reside with Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. Garrard attended the Cumberland Institute for Holistic Therapies in Brentwood, Tennessee, where she completed her certification in massage therapy. While earning this degree, she contributed to fundraising endeavors at the League for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a part-time special projects assistant, grant writer and annual campaign manager. The mountains of the West called, however, so after several months of operating her own massage business in Nashville, Garrard moved to Jackson to pursue her careers in massage therapy, art and writing. She now owns Attuned Healing Massage & Bodywork, writes, creates art, and teaches Reiki, yoga and other energy-related courses. Her education in bodywork has extended to include Complete Decongestive Therapy, Reiki, CranioSacral Therapy, SomatoEmotional Release, Thai massage, body treatments, Lymph Drainage Therapy and nerve entrapment mobilization techniques.

12×9″ acrylic painting on canvas.

In addition to her certifications in massage therapy, lymphatics and Reiki, Garrard holds a bachelor’s in advertising and public relations and a master’s in communications, with a journalism focus and a women’s studies concentration. Her academic honors include Magna Cum Laude undergraduate distinction, Kappa Tau Alpha journalism honor society membership in both degrees, and a full academic scholarship and stipend for graduate study at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Following her undergraduate work at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and an internship with the advertising department of Harcourt Brace Publishing, she joined a competitive advertising agency in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. Her first full-time professional positions of assistant media buyer and advertising executive prepared Garrard to work directly with clients and respond to their needs. This mid-sized agency, called Dally Advertising, presented opportunities for crossover work in design and copywriting. It was this combination of skills that earned Garrard her graduate assistantship at UT-Knoxville’s nationally recognized Journalism School.

Laura’s family.

spring 2014 355While in graduate school, Garrard completed a news/editorial internship as a reporter at the Farragut Press Enterprise (40,000+ circulation), where she contributed over 30 stories and also feature articles on health-related issues. Her work as a graduate assistant gained her additional publications in the UT Department of Communications’ alumni journal, and also graphic design experience, as she created the Tennessee High School Press Association newsletter over three semesters. In addition to her editorial training, Garrard developed graphic and illustrative skills that would bring her contractual work throughout her career – at a point she cultivated a niche promoting speakers and authors.

 

16×12″ pen and ink on illustration board.
After completing her master’s program, Garrard decided to pursue employment in the field of book publishing. Her largest project as an editorial project manager was The Encyclopedia of Country Music – published by Oxford University Press – which included over 1,200 articles written by 130 authors. She also served as the editorial assistant and production manager of the Journal of Country Music, to which she contributed articles. A full-time position as editorial assistant of the Country Music Foundation Press in Nashville evolved into the role of graphic design production manager for the entire foundation. Garrard eventually managed and created over 300 print projects a year, marketing the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. These jobs often required her personal contribution of copywriting, graphic design, and illustration as well as print production management of brochures, signs, exhibit displays, ads, website imagery, banners, billboards, flyers, invitations and more.

Meanwhile, Garrard continued to flex her editorial skills through copyediting, proofreading and indexing for Rutledge Hill Press and Thomas Nelson Books in Nashville. She also contributed book revues to the Nashville Woman tabloid newspaper as a member of the Women’s National Book Association, where she served as Board Member for two years. She sold her black and white art drawings at a Nashville gallery and exhibited pieces in member shows of local art organizations. Plus, it was in Nashville that Garrard began to ballroom dance, as an extension of her childhood love of dancing ballet.

20×16″ Mixed Media on Canvas. In addition to art and dance, the outdoors has been a love of hers since youth, when Garrard traveled the West with her family on camping trips. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but also lived in New Jersey and then seven years in Northern California before her family moved to Nashville when she was almost 13. While living in California, the Garrards visited Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Lake Shasta, Big Bear, Yellowstone, the Tetons, and many other dramatic, western wilderness areas. As an adult, she took up cycling and backpacking to tour roads and trails in Alaska, Montana, Virginia, Scotland, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. Her cycling culminated in a fundraising bike ride that traveled from Fairbanks to Anchorage, Alaska – she raised over $6,000 to support AIDS Vaccine research and participated in the 2001 Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride.

As an environmental activist, Garrard organized events in Nashville for the Alaska Wilderness League in an effort to prevent oil drilling on the Coastal Plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She also served on the advisory board of Team Green, an outdoors recreational club in Nashville, and contributed through community volunteer work with SaddleUp! Nashville (Therapeutic Riding Association), the National MS Society and her church.

Laura’s first Jackson neighborhood.

In Jackson, Garrard has sung with the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole choir, has served as a church deacon, and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and St. John’s Living Center, where she and a fellow therapist led an activity called “Music and Massage” with the elderly residents there. Every year, she donates bodywork gift certificates to silent auctions generating money for local nonprofits. Garrard has opened her own massage and art studio located in downtown Jackson at 430 South Jackson St. Her office resides in a suite of offices with four other health service professionals, creating a complementary healing center, Jackson Holistic Healing Center, that offers community classes and health information, including the Teton Reiki Circle, Reiki & Heart Directed Therapy training, Art & Energy Classes, Ayurvedic Medicine, and Thai massage training. Garrard has performed massage in reputable spas, such as Amangani and Shooting Star, and has participated in local holistic events such as the St. John’s Health Fair, the Wellness Institute’s Festival, Destination Wellness, the Eco-Fair and the Harvest Festival, and Relay for Life. Her continuing bodywork education includes CranioSacral Therapy; SomatoEmotional Release Therapy; Certification in Manual Lymph Drainage and Complete Decongestive Therapy; Thai Massage training in Chiang Mai, Thailand; and Reiki Master Teacher training in Jackson. Garrard is currently progressing with her studies in CranioSacral Therapy and energy healing as well as developing and teaching courses that extend from Reiki energy work. Combining her love of art and energy work, she has collaborated with Lyndsay McCandless to teach “Expressing From Within, an Energy Directed Art Class.” From this involvement with emotionally generated art, Garrard collaborated with two artists locally to create the exhibit, Breathe, at Intencions Gallery in Jackson. This unique combination of photography, painting, dance, music and poetry inspired a deep response in viewers due to various sense inputs.

24×18″ pen and ink on paper.

The images and lines of nature and dance have influenced Garrard’s artwork, both in her black and white ink drawings and also in her colorful acrylic paintings. The surrounding beauty in Jackson has inspired her to paint landscapes as well as abstracts that express spirituality and emotion. In February 2011, Garrard’s abstract paintings, which she created for a play set of a Riot Act production, were shown at a solo show at Shade’s Cafe (now King Sushi).  She continues to show her works in local art shows and in her studio. In August 2014, she collaborated with Erin Ashlee Smith and David Bowers to create an art show, “Breathe,” at Intencions Gallery. She showed a special collection of emotional works inspired by her poetry and short essays. A similar pairing of her art and writing appeared in Teton Spirit Magazine summer 2014.

Garrard says that her parents provided her with a strong work ethic, the desire to excel and the heart to help others. At the core of her life and work are strong spiritual connections to God and the Earth.

18×24″ colored pencil on paper.

Personal Life Statement:

“My faith grows as my life progresses and I witness miracles happening in my life and in the lives of others, regardless of the difficult circumstances that we must weather. I believe that we are here on Earth to learn as spiritual beings, become the best of and give of ourselves, and experience the beautiful bounty provided to us by God our Creator. I also believe that humans have the responsibility to protect the world and its creatures, just as we care for our bodies, so that our spirits can carry out their important missions here and relate in a healthy way to all that surrounds us. All of us have strong purposes in living, our unique paths to discover and follow, yet we depend on one another for love and learning. Everything I am, do and become is from the world unseen – “the true journey is within.”

~ Laura Garrard, January 2006, Jackson, Wyoming