Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Art Therapy Workshop: Reflections During a Storm

Although there were tornado and thunderstorm warnings all evening, a good group of students and local residents braved the weather (to the point of getting soaked, in some cases!) to join in on an art therapy workshop that reflected on the human form - the work on display in Murphy Gallery @ the Y and the bodies of those in attendance.

Art Therapy Session [Image on Flickr]
The Illini Art Therapy Association leads art workshops open to any U. of I. students—undergraduate and graduate—on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 7:00pm to 9pm. This past Tuesday, April 19th at 7pm the Illini Art Therapy Association hosted an art therapy workshop at the University Y in our Murphy Gallery. The workshop was held in conjunction with Art @ the Y's current Emerging Artists exhibition because Emma Taufer, one of the six featured female students from the School of Art and Design, is also involved with the Illini Art Therapy Association.

The workshop opened with a short stretching session. Listening to the rain and thunder outside provided an even better soundtrack than the soft piano music playing in the background. Next, the leader spoke about the connection between the art exhibition themed around the human form and the connection to our own bodies. She opened the door so we could reflect on our relationship with our own human forms. 

Next, we rolled out huge sheets of paper and traced each other laying down in different positions. We had an opportunity to meditate and focus on various parts of our bodies, from head to toe, to think about colors and images and feelings or spaces of emptiness we associate with each part. When everyone gradually began to paint, color, and write on the tracings of their bodies, we opened ourselves to an outpouring of expression. Looking around the room, I felt both introspective and open to the creativity that was happening around me. 

Body Drawing [Image on Flickr]

I took a few pictures, which are at the end of the Art Opening set on Flickr, but each drawing seemed so personal that I didn't want to impose the lens too much on what was happening. So I'll just say that each contoured body was so different from the next. Each drawing represented a process of healing, embracing, or the beginnings of a new understand of our distinct corporeal forms. It was a beautiful experience and I'd highly recommend attending an art therapy session with the Illini Art Therapy Association! It's a perfectly comfortable experience alone or with friends and a great way to let your mind and body process each other through artwork. 

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