Mental wellness comes in many shapes and sizes, helping people of all ages. Thanks to the Jackson Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee, high school age youth had an opportunity to attend a week-long therapeutic art camp facilitated by Highfields' mental health care providers. Students were provided with a safe space for a mental escape from daily tasks where they could find their voices and express themselves in a positive way.
“I like to paint landscapes like meadows, waterfalls and flowers. It helps relieve stress and provides a peaceful escape from things going on at home,” Katie said.
In the beginning of the week, students were asked to create a canvas of different ideas, and then put them together – like Frankenstein! Each student’s canvas reflected their own personal cultural diversity, likes and dislikes, but most of all the expectations that come along with being a youth in 2019.
Jessica expressed her curiosity by designing a canvas of self-portraits with cat-like features and the word “Discover.” Sarah’s portrait was a multicolored portrait similar to Picasso. Every student had a new perspective.
“I love seeing the different forms of expression,” said Erika Magers, community-based mural artist. “Youth not only find their way to fit into the group, but they figure out their niche. Seeing them get excited about what they’re doing is priceless.”
The capstone event will take place at the annual Bright Walls mural festival in Jackson. The group brainstormed design ideas about what mental health means to them, and came up with “self-care.” They created a concept that would remind others that they are not alone.
Each student traced their hands on the canvas around empowering words, and then added things that they felt contributed to positive mental health, such as playing basketball or listening to music – they even added tacos! Through the Color Me Resilient project, students used their art to break to break down personal barriers, reduce daily stress, improve concentration and increase self-esteem.
Students will showcase their mural at the Jackson Bright Walls Festival on September 8th, 2019.