Magical Journeys with Paint-Art Therapy
SUBOG offered students a truly unique experience Thursday night in the Student Union with “paint-art therapy.” Artist Roberta Mockus used an unorthodox combination of meditation and painting to provide an experience unlike any other. TROY CALDEIRA/The Daily Campus
SUBOG sponsored an art therapy event Thursday evening geared toward helping students relieve stress through creative expression.
Guided by artist Roberta Mockus, students were seated in small groups in front of a paper canvas and then led through a meditation activity before beginning their painting.
The artist's first words during the event were aimed at breaking down the attendees' preconceived notions about artistic expression.
"The goal of tonight," Mockus said, "is bringing yourself back to play." She went on to explain the ways stress can manifest itself in the form of illness, and many adults have no creative outlets to help relieve this stress.
Students were asked to remove their shoes in order to feel and connect with the ground below them and then were guided through meditation consisting of a variety breathing exercises.
"The meditation was meant to take us out of our left brain and activate our right," said 6th-semester communications major Kelly Morrissey, "taking a moment to breathe and separate our minds from everyday stresses definitely made painting feel more organic and everything seemed to flow better."
Mockus delved further into the purpose of artistic expression, using the word "art" as an acronym standing for access, release and transformation. Armed with a series of images representing one's innermost thoughts and emotions, students were asked to expel these images onto the canvas - transforming built up stress and promoting mental wellness.
Students were given access to a variety of colors and asked to pick those that they were most strongly drawn to in order to craft their piece. Armed with brushes, each attendee was given an hour in which they were asked to reflexively create whatever came to their mind
After this time was up, Mockus instructed each person to ask their drawing what the use of these specific images, colors and shapes were trying to tell them about their inner selves.
She continued by saying, "pick one image that attracts your attention, and ask it what it's doing in your painting. Then write it down and keep going until you have had an internal dialogue with each aspect of your painting." The group was then guided through a collective breathing exercise in order to conclude the event.
After reflecting on their pieces, many participants expressed their satisfaction with the result of the exercise.
"I really enjoyed the event," said 6th-semester molecular and cell biology major Christopher Mashiak, "I've always liked art, but being able to use it in a therapeutic way was a completely new experience for me."
8th-semester English major Bill Ollayos reinforced this sentiment, saying, "I really appreciated the way the event made me consider the intersection of emotion and art and provided me with a new means of reacting to and processing different experiences."
Although students came to the event with varying levels of artistic ability, each participant was able to walk away with a piece to call their own.
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