UCF exhibit illustrates art's healing power
For some, time heals all wounds. For others, the secret is art.
"Emerging from the Shadow" is this year's theme for the annual Healing Art Exhibition displayed at UCF's Counseling & Psychological Services.
Put together by CAPS, the College of Visual Arts and Design and Student Disability Services, the presentation serves to highlight mental health and the healing ability of creative pursuits.
Amanda Bailey, a licensed mental health counselor at CAPS, said 106 people submitted to the gallery, with about 16 of those submissions from faculty, staff and UCF alumni. The remaining submissions were made by students.
After a judging process to determine whether the art fit the theme, a total of 86 pieces were chosen to be displayed, she said.
"We really hope this exhibit helps create a space of creativity and healing, which can touch our clients as well as the artists who created the pieces," said Bailey, an artist herself. "Whether or not there is a part of you that has felt ashamed, oppressed, marginalized, bullied, this exhibit is about celebrating and empowering yourself."
Senior graphic design major Megan Moore had her digital painting "True Colors" on the flier for the event.
The piece follows the gallery's theme with a black corner leading into a patch of colors. Words of self-love — beautiful, strong and able — fill the brightness.
Moore has been sketching since the age of 13, and is currently a graphic designer for the Office of Student Involvement. She is confidant in the curative powers of art.
"I've been using painting in particular as a way of self-healing since I was a teenager," she said. "I also volunteer at the Orlando Regional Medical Center doing a healing arts program. We go around to cancer patients and help them create little paper flowers, little origami things. You can see the smile instantly on their faces."
This is the second time Moore's art has been in the Healing Art Exhibit.
Brandon Stoker, a senior graphic design major, submitted three pieces to the exhibit this year. He's been an artist for as long as he can remember and is glad that the show is drawing attention to the services CAPS offers.
"[Art is] such a coping method for me," he said. "If I had a bad day, went through a breakup or something bad happened, coming home and drawing is my way of getting it out of my system.
"I hope that someone can look […] at [the art] and see that someone is successfully using art as a way to deal with the hardships of life. If they can see that, maybe they can find their own way of doing it."
Various studies have been performed to research the healing ability of art.
According to Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, youths who suffered from a traumatic event had a lessening of symptoms after being exposed to art therapy.
A 2011 study from the University College London indicates that there's a significant amount of blood flowing to the part of the brain that deals with happiness when exposed to "beautiful" art.
Kimberly Slichter is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future. Email her firstname.lastname@example.org.