A Summer of Therapeutic Art Making

Tarbell's Painting Exploring the ProcessOn August 17, 2019, Seton Hill’s graduate program in art therapy hosted an exhibit at the Arts Center in downtown Greensburg. The show, “Create. Curious. Compassion.” featured art created by students in the summer Art Therapy Studio course. The exhibit commemorated a semester of combined exploration, learning to trust the artistic process, and celebrating the ability to create from a place of self-compassion and mindful curiosity. 

At the show, the students showcased their final projects. Art therapy student Cassy Tarbell had a painting titled “Exploring the Process” featured in the exhibit. When asked about her painting, she stated, “My artwork is an exploration of the process of art-making rather than the final product. I focus on the changes that my art goes through rather than on the final image that my piece turns into. My paintings are largely influenced by Helen Frankenthaler and Lee Krasner. For this piece, I explored different materials and how they could work together in a piece. This work is made up of many different elements that each represent an exploration of a certain material.”

“I let go of the idea that the art needed to look a certain way.”

- Michelina Marisco

Michelina Marisco also had art featured in the exhibit. According to Michelina, her painting “Inevitability” embodies her growth, emotions and ability to step out of her comfort zone. Marisco's Painting Inevitability

“I let go of the idea that the art needed to look a certain way or be something,” said Michelina. “I honored the process and let the art become what it needed to be. In many ways, I acted as the utensil for the art and the art acted as the soul responsible for what emerged.” 

Michelina says that by learning to trust her art and the journey it took her on, she connected with her Self. This helped her flourish artistically, and it also helped her “as a human being sharing a mindful existence with others." 

Through art therapy, art and psychology are uniquely combined and the creative process becomes a vehicle for communication, self-expression and personal growth. Seton Hill University's M.A. in Art Therapy with a Specialization in Counseling helps students use art to make a difference in the world through their own creativity and the encouragement of creative expression in others.