An apt title for the potential personal experience this global pandemic has encouraged. Two days after it was announced that gatherings of 50 or more people needed to be postponed, and that public schools in New Mexico would be closed until April 6th (now that has been extended through the end of the school year), 6 students and 2 teachers came together for the Art Therapy Department’s biannual Capstone Weekend.
These students (listed below), the artists who birthed the mural pictured here, are on their way towards their art therapy internship, which moves them closer to becoming licensed mental health counselors and provisionally certified art therapists.
Together they worked with grace and joy, adapting to the needs of the group as they decided how to create this mural together. This is not always the case in a group project.
This process is acknowledged as a bridge to becoming professional Art Therapists, and also becoming our colleagues. Debbie Schroder and I have been facilitating these weekends for a number of years now. We ask students to reflect on their journey through the program at Southwestern College, the challenges, personal revelations, and their commitment to this service oriented work.
The visceral experience of creating together (in 4 hours!) combined with discussions of assigned readings, help students conceptualize leading large scale community-based art-making.
And here we are, gazing at intriguing artwork. It causes me to wonder: at the beginning of these large interpersonal and communal changes in New Mexico, impacting access, health, connection, and the conceptualization of time and space, this mural was created and entitled: “Cracked Wide Open”. Fortuitous, perhaps? Or more likely, revealing art’s deep connection to what is, what was and what will be.
Below is the co-written artist statement by these inspiring humans.
Cracked Wide Open
By Amber Brakett, Bri Jacobson, Casey Chandler, Gabby Mooney, Kendra Kozel, Rae Carrol
Self in community in the world. Individuals come together to form a cohort rooted in curiosity, exploration, and acceptance. Holding one another in our own truths and shadows, as we learn to do the same for others. Dripping and saturated in our lessons from our spiritual, academic and creative journeys. Cracked wide open.
Our unique perspectives color and illuminate our world with vibrant hues making parts a whole. Integration with gratitude for consciousness and the gifts of life. Navigating the peaks and valleys of what was and what is the experience.
photos by Bri Jacobson and Debbie Schroder