When was the last time you made art? Mandatory art class in elementary school? Lessons your parents made you take as a kid? The sand castle sculpture at the beach last summer? Needless to say, many university students do not view art as a component of their daily lives. However, any form of art can be used as an important tool in fostering self-care and mental well-being for students regardless of their artistic abilities.
People tend to fear that their artwork can’t be hung up in an art gallery or that it isn’t a masterpiece. Many individuals fail to recognize that the effect that art has on wellness occurs during the creating process rather than the end product. Not being able to colour in the lines or draw a straight line does not mean that you cannot enjoy or appreciate making art.
With art, there isn’t one way to do things. In fact, there are endless ways. The idea of creativity and imagination through art-making supports free expression and personal interpretation for what you find interesting.
Did you know that McMaster’s campus is home to over 7000 pieces of artwork and artifacts? They’re mostly housed in the Museum of Art which offers free admission and programming all year long! The Art Gallery of Hamilton offers free admission on Fridays after 4pm and the Art Gallery of Ontario has a $8.50 discount for any student with ID. Artists now use social media or Instagram as a gallery or portfolio. If you want to create your own works, supplies from the dollar store can be inexpensive alternatives. The possibilities are endless even without putting a dent on your wallet.
Art can be a quick distraction so that you’re able to go back to your busy life with clear eyes and a fresh mind. The arts may seem daunting, boring or too pricey but with the never ending possibilities, you can make it work for you! Take a break and throw in some creativity, even if it is just for 5 minutes each day. You deserve it!
Huge thanks to Rachel Sullivan and Teresa Gregorio for contributing their ideas on how to incorporate art into student wellness. Rachel is the Information Officer and Teresa is the Education Officer at the McMaster Museum of Art.