Art proven to be therapeutic

Courtesy of Ruthy Alraei | Sara George, senior art therapy and fine arts double major, works on a ceramic mug.

Art is a discipline that is dynamic and subjective. However, scientists have been able to translate this complex subject into a quantitative form of therapy for many people.

“As a form of clinical therapy, art therapy gives individuals a way of communicating traumatic or complex issues in another form when verbalization of these issues is more challenging,” said Kristine Lippire, professor of visual arts. “The art being made in these settings is not being evaluated for its artistic or creative measures but reflected on in terms of the decisions the client is making.”

Whether a new face in the world of art or a seasoned expert, the artist can find inspiration anywhere. The practice of making art requires self-reflection because what is true for one artist may not be true for another.

Audrey Alexander, junior biomedical science and illustration double major, shared what kind of art she creates and where she finds inspiration for her work.

“The kind of art I do is mainly realism,” Alexander said. “I am very inspired by the beauty of nature and my love of science as well. I think the world around us reveals a lot of God’s creative glory.”

Inspiration can be found anywhere. It is up to the artist to act on that spark of inspiration and create artwork.

“I find a lot of my inspiration through music,” said Justice Elohim, junior graphic design major. “Whether it be an album, a band or even a song lyric, I get inspired a lot by music. It always happens randomly. I don’t really get inspired when I try to intentionally listen to music specifically to find inspiration.”

People who love to create have their own stories as to how they were first introduced to art. 

Sara George, senior art therapy and fine arts double major, reflected on what first introduced her to her passion for ceramics.

“I took my first ceramics class as a sophomore in high school,” George said. “I loved it, and almost immediately knew it was something I wanted to pursue.”

Discovering one’s artistic abilities is a personal journey that looks different from person to person. Not every artist starts early at a young age and many start later in life, as they realize a love for art then.

“Before starting at CBU, I changed my major last minute with guidance from my mom,” Elohim said. “I didn’t start out particularly good. I wasn’t this hugely artistic person, but I saw that I wanted to do something, but I tried it out and ended up loving it.”

Exploring one’s creative side can be a daunting time of self-discovery. However, it does not have to be as difficult as it might seem.

“To anyone just beginning to explore their creative side, give yourself permission to experiment and fail,” Alexander said. “What matters is that you keep trying until you make something you love.”

Art has been proven to help individuals who are struggling with a wide range of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.

“Art-making can be so valuable in therapy and life because it’s such a freeing form of self-expression,” George said. “It takes a lot of the pressure off in therapy settings because it doesn’t rely on ‘talk therapy’.”

People also love making art because it acts as a means of communicating, not just with others, but also oneself.

Art is welcome for all people of all skill levels to enjoy. It is never ‘too late’ for someone to start their artistic journey. 

For those even remotely intrigued by diving into their creative side, they can start anytime. 

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