Art Therapy Club invites students to sit back and relax with art mediums


Graphic courtesy by Art Therapy Club

Dreyma Beronja, News Editor

With the COVID pandemic entering its third year, students may find themselves still carrying stress with them for a variety of reasons. Those looking for a safe space to go and relax on campus while doing hands on activities such as painting, coloring and other forms of art, can join the Art Therapy Club, a new student-run club for anyone that is interested to join.

The club was founded in September of 2021 by current president, Taylor Phillips, freshman psychology major, and meets every Tuesday from 7:30-9 p.m. in Jamrich room 3319, welcoming new members year round. Meetings usually have up to 10 people per session.

While the club does supply a variety of art supplies, all supplies are out of pocket. The Art Therapy Club provides students materials to paint, draw and color with, however other forms are able to be brought in if a student wishes to do something else such as crocheting or using a digital device.

Occasionally the club will do a Bob Ross or movie night to mix things up but art supplies are always present, Phillips said.

“We usually have significantly more people painting on these nights, since Bob Ross is a painter. [Ross] is basically the teacher and we try to paint what he is painting,” Phillips said. “During these nights, not everyone has to participate but pretty much everyone who comes does.”

Art therapy can be beneficial to many people for different reasons. For some it can be an outlet for emotions and for others it’s a way to reduce stress from their day, Phillips said. Some members of the club find it beneficial to just socialize with others in a safe space.

“Art therapy is something you can really do anywhere. It doesn’t involve a certified therapist, it doesn’t need to happen anywhere specific, it’s just something someone can use to take a break from their daily hassles,” Phillips said. “When suffering from isolation due to the pandemic, it can be used as something to pass the time or let out the emotions being felt in a creative way.”

According to Art Therapy Credentials Board, art therapy uses art media, the creative process and the resulting artwork as a therapeutic and healing process.

“Art therapy is practiced in mental health, rehabilitation, medical, educational, and forensic settings – as well as in private practice, in workshops and small-group settings,” ATCB said. “Clients come from all walks of life, facing a full array of challenges. Individuals, couples, families, and groups can benefit from various art therapy formats.”

The Art Therapy Club does not have a strict schedule for members to follow when coming to meetings. Vice president of the club, Kaylee Bares, freshman psychology major, said that members can show up to meetings whenever it fits best in their schedule.

“I know for me personally the pandemic kind of made me a little bit more awkward in social settings and definitely made me nervous to do cheesy ice breakers in front of others so in the club we do not make anyone talk more than they want to and no one is obligated to share their art.” Bares said.

The Art Therapy Club officers emphasize that their club is meant to be a safe space for all, regardless of identity. While the club’s primary focus is distressing during the pandemic and having fun, making sure members feel welcomed and safe are equally important.

“As an officer team we all sit down with the other members of the club and we talk, paint, draw, color and just about do anything our heart desires,” Bares said. “It is a place where every one of different backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations can just kind of find a common group and sit down and relate about their days or sit in silence if they are just not feeling social that day.”

For secretary of the Art Therapy Club, Marina Curtis, sophomore criminal justice major, the club is great for anyone because there is something for everyone. Curtis usually is found painting during meetings.

“I am truly awful at art but during our meetings you’ll only ever hear good things about people’s art and we make sure people know it won’t be displayed anywhere unless they want it to,” Curtis said. “We also have an incredibly wide array of supplies, from graphite pencils to acrylic and watercolor paints, so people can use whatever they’d like.”

The Art Therapy Club’s next meeting will be today at their usually scheduled time of 7:30-9 p.m. in Jamrich room 3319.

“When you’re at Art Therapy Club meetings it feels like the person sitting next to you is a good friend of yours, whether or not you even know their name,” Curtis said. “Without the club members who come to the meetings, there wouldn’t be an Art Therapy Club and we wouldn’t have a little safe haven to go to each week to just relax, hang out, and make (good or bad) art.”