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Wellness through creativity

Art Hive @Agnes offers young adults the opportunity to relax, recharge, and expand their creative powers within a studio setting.

  • Arts educator and certified art therapist Harper Johnston speaks with one of the participants
    Arts educator and certified art therapist Harper Johnston speaks with one of the participants of Art Hive @Agnes, hosted at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Art Hive @Agnes offers participants a chance to relax, recharge, and expand their creative powers within a studio setting.
    Art Hive @Agnes offers young adults (ages 18-24) a chance to relax, recharge, and expand their creative powers within a studio setting. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Art Hive @Agnes participant drawing
    As part of the Art Hive @ Agnes program, a team of Queen’s graduate students will create surveys, track data, and present findings in a final report. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)
  • Art Hive @Agnes participant creating
    Art Hive @Agnes is a weekly drop-in art and wellness program for young adults (18-24) currently being held at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. (Photo by Garrett Elliott)

Art and wellness is the focus of a new weekly drop-in program for young adults (18-24) at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Facilitated by arts educator and certified art therapist Harper Johnston, Art Hive @Agnes offers participants a chance to relax, recharge, and expand their creative powers within a studio setting. The free sessions are being held at the Agnes 4-6 pm each Thursday until March 28. No prior art experience is necessary and materials are provided.

“Artmaking is innately therapeutic. We know this from the outstanding amount of positive research being reported today,” says Shannon Brown, Program Coordinator at the Agnes. “The idea that everyone is creative and can draw from their own personal expression to process and support inner transformation towards health is being embraced by those in healthcare and among the general public. When we step into a flow state, which happens when people are focused on an enjoyable task such as artmaking, blood pressure lowers, experiences of pain and worry drop away and personal agency is activated. Add to this a supportive community, such as an Art Hive community, and the participants can work side by side and share hopes and fears, gain acceptance and be witnessed in the creative act of artmaking and healing. It’s a beautiful process and we are grateful to be able to offer this special creative environment to the young adults of Kingston. “

As part of the program here, Michelle Searle, an assistant professor of the Assessment and Evaluation Group at Queen’s, will be overseeing an evaluation team made up of Queen’s graduate students. The team will create surveys, track data, and present findings in a final report. The purpose of these evaluations is to document the benefits of Art Hive, measure the attainment of the program goals, and evaluate the needs of participants to further improve the program.

The Art Hive @Agnes program aligns with the university’s increasing focus on the health and wellness of the Queen’s community. Earlier this year Queen’s adopted the Okanagan Charter and, in November, launched the Campus Wellness Project with the aim of advancing, encouraging, and supporting a culture of wellbeing.

“In today’s times where students are needing increasing amounts of mental health supports, it is important for them to have access to various types of therapeutic outlets and opportunities,” says Rina Gupta, Director, Counselling, Queen’s University. “Traditional counselling can be very helpful in times of uncertainty, but not all students feel comfortable talking about their concerns and/or negative experiences. The idea of being able to offer students the opportunity to express themselves through creativity and art is fantastic as it acknowledges the holistic needs of individuals. We fully support the Art Hive @Agnes project and we will be the first to refer students to it. We also look forward to future collaborations with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, as we view art therapy as being a valuable addition to the mental health resources available to Queen’s students.”

Outreach partnerships supporting Art Hive @Agnes include: Counselling Services at Student Wellness Services; the Alma Mater Society Peer Support Centre; Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Queen’s Faith and Spiritual Life Services.

For information about the Campus Wellness Project and to learn about other consultation opportunities, visit the project website or contact Project Lead Jennifer Ross at campuswellness@queensu.ca.