An important aspect of Expressive Arts Workshops at Psychology and Counseling residencies is the fact that many are created and led by students.
Here, student Tanya Sapula tells the story of her experience leading a workshop at the Fall 2012 Residency:
Art is the ultimate practice of being vulnerable.
Whether you like it or not – the process of making art brings your insides out. Art means you need to let go of the idea that you’re not an artist and stop rejecting the idea that you can’t make art because you absolutely can. All you need are the materials, the space and the time – and you have the ability to harness all of that right now.
You don’t need to “be” an artist to make art. You just need to show up.
We are raised in a world where we see art as beautiful, and perfect. We are told to stay in the lines, and to paint by numbers. We are told what colors are complementary and adversely, which ones are not. We go to school and we get graded on the quality of our work. How well did you sketch the bowl of fruit in your still-life? Is it as good as the student to your left, or to your right? Did you do enough to earn an A, or is it only C- quality?
Art scares us – whether we are afraid we are not good enough or are afraid of what it will bring up, art often conjures fear. We say we can’t do it without ever picking up a paintbrush or pencil.
Picasso once said “I am always doing things I can’t do, that’s how I get to them.”
In the same spirit, I invite you today to challenge yourself. I invite you to leave yourself for the moment, to greet the unknown.
After you greet it, embrace it. You have a blank canvas in front of you. Cover it with yourself. Let your hands do the talking.
While we are often told what we should do with art (stay in the lines, paint lily pads on serene ponds) we are never told what our other options are. Art is an experiment-- and we are not told that it should be messy, spontaneous, that it’s perfectly okay to make things ugly and disgusting. Like most things it’s not the piece of art you create that’s important – but the process.
We MA in Psychology students come together twice a year for 8 days at Goddard College. We come from our corners of the world, from heartache and pain, from triumph and tragedy.
So much happens in the time that we do not see one another. Sometimes we fall in love, sometimes we fall out of love. We get married, we get divorced. We see birth, and we also confront death. Then we get in our cars, planes and trains and leave it all behind. We come together and proceed fall to apart. This moment is for you.
I encourage you to believe in the artist inside of you. I’d like to end with a quote: "Life beats down and crushes the soul and art…reminds you that you have one."