Student Melissa Sivvy Shares Her Expressive Arts Work

In my experience as a child from a middle class white family with a psychologist as a father, assessment testing was a game for me. I was my dad’s guinea pig, solving WISC puzzles and word problems as his students gathered around to watch. It was a kind of performance, really.

This semester, I have been reading about children for whom assessment testing is not a game. For children with serious problems in the home, or with their own emotional or developmental tests assessment tests can be scary and have life-altering implications.

Leave me alone, I’m busy began as an idea about what would happen if a child, left alone with a WISC kit, would do with its contents; something maybe I always wanted to do. I think it’s funny that, in the end, it looks a bit like a horse-and-cart making a break for it.

Inspired by the Dada and Surrealist art movements of the early 20th Century, I designed a workshop this semester to educate educators about the importance of cultivating creativity in the classroom. In short, children need outlets for self-expression and processing academic anxiety and teachers must be revolutionary thinkers and advocate for playtime and a progressive curriculum.

One night, in the midst of this project, I had a dream: a waitress in a diner handed me a menu (in a tri-fold plastic cover; the kind with the fabric binding and little gold tabs around the edge). When I opened the menu, it was full of multiple choice questions, charts, and diagrams. The waitress could see that I was baffled so she told me to just draw a picture of what I wanted to eat and she would show it to the “doctor.” I told her I wasn’t an artist and she said “Yes, you are, dear.”

Menu is obviously not an exact replica of the diner menu from my dream. It is a play on a menu, using a tri-fold examination shield from one of the WISC kits as the main form. The fabric binding I used was intended to imitate the tacky menu embellishments of a diner menu, while also suggesting something like academic graduation memorabilia—a high school diploma in a slightly padded, faux-leather, faux-gold-embossed portfolio.

Psychology, philosophy, dream work, and politics were all major influences on the Dada “anti-art” movement and the equally provocative Surrealist artists. The playful transformation of found objects combined with the rebellious spirit of this piece is an homage to that era.

Melissa Sivvy is a student in the MA Psychology and Counseling Program and participates in the Expressive Arts Therapy Emphasis.

WISC Kit Mixed Media Piece by Melissa Sivvy
Mixed Media Piece by
Melissa Sivvy

Menu Mixed Media Piece by Melissa Sivvy
Mixed Media Piece by Melissa Sivvy

Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to

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