The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (VACNJ) has received a grant award from Overlook Foundation for its teen art therapy program, “Self-Expression Through Art.” The program will take place as six separate sessions this spring beginning on March 13. 2023, and will continue with additional sessions in the fall. Art therapy addresses the community health priority of mental wellness and utilizes the visual arts as a tool for expression and coping with various sources of stress and anxiety. According to the CDC, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a third of high school students reported experiencing poor mental health, and schools are struggling to address these complex challenges alone. The Self-Expression Through Art program aims to offer teens a consistent, healthy, and preventative way to manage their mental health, feelings, and behavior. The program creates a safe space for teens to create art and have open and honest conversations, allowing them to feel a sense of freedom and self-discovery.
“Creative self-expression led by an art therapist can be a powerful tool for teens,” says Sarah Walko, Director of Education & Community Engagement at VACNJ. “It helps teens process emotions, going beyond words, beyond the rational mind, tapping into our most authentic selves. It can help process stress, anxiety, and past events as well as release potential and create breakthrough moments.”
This free program is open to all teens ages 13+ and will be led by art therapist Megan Tuttle. Sessions will run from 3:30-5 PM on Mondays, March 13, March 27, April 10, April 24, May 8, and May 22. Teens are invited to attend as many sessions as they would like but must register separately for each date. For more information visit artcenternj.org.
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