Created in 2010, this mannequin art competition is designed to promote healthy awareness and acceptance of body image. iaedp invites national art therapists from treatment centers and private practice, students and the public to artistically create mannequins that reflect their perception of beauty and body image.

Judging Criteria

Mannequin entries are judged on clarity of theme, creativity and originality, quality of composition and design, and the overall impression and presentation of the artwork. The contest is open to everyone; however, iaedp encourages treatment centers and private practices with art therapists to work with patients to provide entries.

Each year, poster images of the mannequin entries are displayed gallery-style at iaedp’s Annual Symposium. The Winner, Runner-Up, Honorable Mention and Professional’s Choice are awarded during a special ceremony. The winner receives a financial award along with the image of their mannequin being used in Imagine Me Beyond What You See™ promotions throughout the coming year. For the awards ceremony, the winning mannequin is shipped to the Annual Symposium, unveiled along with the artist(s) and later auctioned off with proceeds to benefit the iaedp Foundation.

Balance Embodied- “First Place Winner”

Artist: Rogers-Madison – Madison, WI

Recovery is a journey through shadows to reawaken and reconnect the body, mind, and spirit. As we walk alongside our clients we call upon the energy of therapist and client to build and create the space for genuine, open, relationships. When we meet the client with an open heart and mind we nurture their ability to be authentic. Together we learn to balance, hold, and share the energy that we use to heal. Recovery becomes a holistic journey through the shadows of the past from which we emerge able to dance with the darkness, to balance physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life, and ultimately to truly be within the body.

The sculpture is constructed of packing tape which was molded to the form of a woman on her own journey towards healing the connection with her body. The lit chakras represent her willingness to open and embrace the breadth of her lived experience even as she continues to struggle with the shadows of doubt and fear. Balanced in tree pose she stretches upwards while remaining solidly grounded and connected to the earth. She embodies the point of balance between polarities of past and future, earth and sky, roots and leaves, stillness and movement.

“Balance Embodied” seeks to answer a question that is whispered through tears so often in my work with clients: “what is it like to be in your body? To be okay with being in it? Is that even possible?” She stands as an affirmation to each man and woman who dares to take the journey and to reconnect to their own energy. Yes. It is possible. Yes. you can.


Packing tape, tissue paper, LED lights, fishing line, glue, construction paper, spray paint, corn stalks and corn husks.

Artist Profile:

Laura Teoli, MS ATR LPC is a current doctoral student at Lesley University exploring therapeutic presence and art making in group art therapy. She currently works with clients struggling to rediscover their strength and resilience at Rogers Memorial Hospital’s Partial Hospitalization Program in Madison, WI. Her work with clients struggling with eating disorders focuses on holistic care, finding balance, and authentic relationships with the self and others.

Anam Cara, Soul Friend (Rowan)- “Runner Up”

Artist: Inner Journey Group with Laura Riss, PsyD – Duluth, GA

Named Rowan in honor of the tree’s healing and protection, she takes her themes from John O’Donahue’s book Anam Cara. In Celtic tradition, your anam cara is your soul friend. Rowan’s symbolism lies in the power of friends to help us truly see ourselves. She stands upon a ring of paper dolls the same way those of us in our Inner Journey group depend on each other for the truth, a truth lit by a gentle light. With the support of our friends we have the strength to live our truth, without the distortions society often imposes: “the superficial and functional lies and half-truths of social acquaintance fall away, you can be as you really are.”1 O’Donahue celebrates the nature of the body: “Your mind can deceive you and put all kinds of barriers between you and your nature. Your body tells you … whether you are living from your soul or from the labyrinths of your negativity.”2 Rowan also celebrates the connectedness of our bodies to nature. Her skirt becomes a trunk at the bottom and her back is decorated with the tree of life. The paw print and the butterfly symbolize animals, our brothers and sisters. She holds a scale to symbolize our struggle for balance and a light for the gifts we bring to the world. We often find it difficult to recognize those gifts and to allow ourselves to be open enough to share them. The door in her chest allowing the light to escape stands for this opening of our hearts: “There is so much blessing and beauty near us that is destined for us, and yet it cannot enter our lives because we are not ready to receive it. The handle is on the inside of the door; only we can open it.”3

1 O’Donahue, John. Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom. HarperCollins Publishers, New York. 1998. p. 14.
2 ibid, p. 48
3 ibid, p. 87

Artist Profile:

The women who worked on this project are part of Dr. Riss’ Inner Journey group for women with eating disorders. While the project evolved over several months, we have been part of her therapy groups in the past, so that some of us have known each other for several years. This history gave us a deeper understanding of each other and let us work intuitively and comfortably together on this project.

Calypso – “Honorable Mention”

Artist: Veritas Collaborative – Durham, NC

Calypso was created during weekly art therapy groups on the Adolescent Partial Hospitalization Unit at Veritas Collaborative. Inspired by the quote “scales are for fish” group members researched and developed an aquatic theme.

Calypso’s story from Greek mythology of concealing and deceiving, diverting others from their goals, and hiding on an island resonated with their experience of isolation and deception within their eating disorders. Group members added a broken scale and a fishing net to represent feeling trapped by worry about weight, size, numbers, and body image. Calypso is casting off the net to reveal acceptance of her body and leaving the scales for the fish. Group members also found meaning through peer support and discussion about cultivating positive body image inspired by their work with Calypso.


mannequin, paint markers, decorative paper, glass beads, tissue paper, glitter, acrylic paint, glue, foam shells, fishing net, shells, moss

Artist Profile:

Veritas Collaborative is a Specialty Hospital System for the Treatment of Eating Disorders. Accredited by The Joint Commission, Veritas delivers multidisciplinary, evidence-based care for patients and their families in a warm, inviting, and gender inclusive environment. Located in Durham, NC and Richmond, VA, Veritas Collaborative provides Inpatient, Acute Residential, Partial Hospitalization, and Intensive Outpatient levels of care for individuals with eating disorder diagnoses (ages 10+).

Nothing into Something- “Professional’s Choice”

Artist: Fairhaven Treatment Center – Cordova, TN

Vulnerable, determined, creative and inspired, she yearns to break the mold of what women believe their bodies should be. She challenges the world to imagine her beyond what they see by outwardly displaying internal aspects of herself. Her internal parts describe what she is beyond her eating disorder, and goals that she possesses.

She stands tall and winged, holding the tools to conquer her eating disorder. Her face looks as though it has once experienced defeat, but is now expressive of mindful determination, with gently closed eyes, concentrating her energy into an opened third eye. Her colorful hair made of wool balls represents thoughts, none perfect or the same, but all treasured. Written across her bound torso are messages associated with overcoming negative body image, such as “suck it up” and “be pretty,” but emerging from her inner core are words, phrases and images that express internal hope. She is decorated with a sparkling heart filled with compassion, longing for love and attachment. She is marked with interwoven zentangles that symbolize her creativity, diversity and strength. She bears a red, mirrored stripe across her arm, representative of the emotional and physical hardships of self-harm. She holds an unlocked box of defenses that echo her inner core. In her outstretched arm she holds a mobile made of manipulated silverware, seeking eyes, and a Hamsa to help guard against the ills of eating disorders. Standing upon chains that once held her down, her legs are covered in inspirational messages that describe overcoming obstacles and promote recovery. She stands confidently and walks with caution because she knows she is valuable.


The mannequin was constructed using cardboard, clay, fabric, feathers, ink, marbles, metal, paint, paper, plaster, plastic, wire, wood, and wool. Her production was a collective effort of creative visions, artistic talent and hard work.

Artist Profile:

The artists are clients of Fairhaven Treatment Center for Eating Disorders located in Cordova, Tennessee. Participants include Anne-Marie C., Ashley E., Caroline S., Cecily M., Heather G., Mary-Michael R., Nicole M., River D. and residents of Fairhaven Treatment Center. The mannequin was created under the guidance of Fairhaven art therapist, Elissa Mackie.

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