In March 2020, we enjoyed our last “in-person” mural process on campus (Cracked Wide Open, March 2020). As we move to gathering together as a group this summer (August 2021), I wanted to take the time to review and share the steps that we took, the pivots that we twirled to make sure that our Art Therapy students had a mural process over this past year (and that our SWC community receives the gifts from these students!). The Capstone Process serves as a bridge towards their internship, capping their academic work at Southwestern College.
In August 2020, Debbie Schroder & I created a hybrid process, in which we met with students via zoom to reflect on their transformational time at SWC, as well as the messages and legacy that they want to leave behind on campus. And we explored the clinical and community application of group mural work.
Some students had moved out of state by then, as many industries shut down in Santa Fe, making it difficult to support housing and livelihood while in school. We met via zoom Friday night, and small groups were automatically created through the app, and together students explored the synchronicities of symbol and messages that they wanted to create on the walls of the campus. Students who were out of town, decided how they would participate in the process (sending materials, stencils, imagery, making art during the time frame, and being available synchronously via technology).
Keeping covid safe practices in mind, one student from each of the 4 groups came for an hour on a Saturday to paint a quadrant of the mural. This was a very different process than we have ever done before. In the past, we would meet as a group Friday night (in-person), explore multiple creative and experiential processes, and then Saturday the small groups would start painting at 9am for 4 hours, and the murals would, for the most part, be complete!
The murals created in August 2020 kept the same time frame, used zoom, and had staggered painting on our closed campus. The murals painted in March 2021, and upcoming in August 2021, have been or will be planned out over many weeks, very different from our past time frames.
Summer 2020 Murals:
Group 1: Laura Hilferty, Carolyn Giese, Samara Ethier-Whitmore, Gemma Majewski
Each finding our own way to connect, even though we weren’t together
Finding our own voice
connecting our experiences
pieces of our dreams and identity coming together to support us in transition
awareness of vulnerability
frustration, frigging hot, I need air
wanting to be together
connecting through texting
feelings of loneliness and disconnection
thankful that this process was not digital
grateful that despite the frustrations, we came together and made it happen
scraped original idea
creating room for change
maybe that was what was supposed to happen
trust the process
“Inspired by Andy Warhol pop art tiles, we each used our quadrant to represent ourselves and our time at Southwestern College. The middle egg-like shape is what connects us each in our unique ways of relating……
to be continued
Group 2: Angelica Gabriel, Erin Hiser, Sarah Aldea, Danielle Cohen
Group 3: Lindsay Salazer, Elise Gill, Sarah Mignogna, Danielle White
Group 4: Brenda Burgard, Teresa Puia, Alexis D’Ambrosio, Alissa Petrosoniak
Untitled (for now)
Tears of fire are shed on my journey through healing
Fire turns into water and quench the thirst for knowledge
Wisdom completes the healing and the seeds of fruit grow
And is generated by the rising sun
Blooming from within
Looking with different perspectives
Balancing the light and dark
Going with the flow
As students talked about their experiences of this process and said their goodbyes, I wrote a poem with their words.
In March 2021, we decided to have the small groups organize their own painting time so that there were no more than a couple of students painting on campus at a time (masked, etc). We had 2 hour zoom meetings bookending the quarter, creating time for students to form their groups, start planning their mural, and then to describe their painting process and the messages that their murals convey.
Group 1: Bekah Mathiesen, Jacquie Madsen, Natasha Martinez, Sara Kaminski, & Shelby Long
Group 2: Anndrya Rivera, Jamie Tanner, Kennedy Hull, Lauren Wilkins, & Sam Haid
Group 3: Amanda LaMendola, Courtney Kayser, Gabrielle Campbell, Jennifer Spektor, & Melissa Sandoz
Group 4: Alyssa Ellegaard, Elizabeth Carovillano, Hope Hayes, Jacee Smith, & Nicole Moldenhauer
Stay tuned for reflections on August 2021’s mural process, where we will be coming together on campus as a full group! There will be 3 groups of 4 or 5, and students will be on campus at the same time painting together! We have learned from the last year, and decided to keep the zoom meetings bookending the quarter, allowing students more time to plan their mural, and then reflect on the process. Small groups have started meeting and planning their murals, and we are so excited to be gathering together again in this way.