“Art therapy is the deliberate use of art-making to address psychological and emotional needs. Art therapy uses art media and the creative process to help in areas such as, but not limited to: fostering self-expression, enhancing coping skills, managing stress, and strengthening a sense of self.”
–The Art Therapy Alliance
The work our program artists do with under-served individuals in Open Doors projects is an investment in the well being of at-risk youth, abused women and children, refugees, seniors, and other marginalized populations. These projects yield results that follow trends described in national studies that correlate visual art programming with improved school attendance in children, reduced criminal activity in young adults, and improve quality of life and cognitive ability in seniors with dementia. The program keeps students engaged in after-school centers where project sessions are often held. The content of these projects is also often tied to the students’ school curriculum, including subjects from history to English, cultural heritage to healthy diet.
Joann Childers, St. Joseph’s Children’s Home Activity Director, shares one of her favorite moments: “I watched one of our boys (who was in a gang environment before coming to St. Joe’s) transform over the course of this project. His demeanor was always guarded around everyone. One of the artists took an interest in his work, and his walls come down. It was like watching a floodgate collapse. He realized he was a decent artist and it changed him, forever.”