One of the innovative projects I am pleased to work on this year involves a collaboration between myself, another counselling colleague and our art teacher.
BCHS Spectrum Club’s mission is to bring people together and spread a message of love and acceptance. Our aim is to educate and bring awareness to students while expanding our community of caring and school spirit. Last year our group was provided with a grant Supporting Diversity, Equity and Human rights of the ATA to help promote our club’s mission. We have chosen to use the grant to purchase materials needed to complete three Art Therapy projects throughout the year.
Here is a reflection on our first project which occurred on Dec. 16, 2016
ART THERAPY: We All Wear a Mask- Inner and Outer Self Mask Making
Materials : Blank masks, paint, felts, pencil crayons, a glue gun, glue sticks, feathers, beads, flowers, tissue paper, ribbon, magazines or any other craft material
We had preordered 40 blank masks as well as paint, feathers, sparkles, magazines, glue etc..- note we actually had more students attend the event than we had masks- around 50 students participated in the event
We started with a quick 5 minute introduction where we explained that everyone wears a mask. Everyone has the parts of themselves that the world can see and we have the part that is on the inside. The hope is that we can work towards becoming our authentic selves.
On the inside of the mask (the part that would be placed on your face) we asked students to decorate their mask in a way to express the inner self.
Students were also asked to do the same on the opposite side of the mask and decorate it in a way to represent the outer self or the self you show others.
The results were spectacular.- This project focused on introspection. Erin Luong (counsellor), Susan Spellman Cann (counsellor) and Shelia Stacey (art teacher/ counselling student) moved around the room during the process, asking questions and starting conversations with kids about their choices and symbols. It was a great way to connect with kids and learn a little more about them.
Students began to identify what parts we show to others and what we keep private. This can lead to further exploration. Students can start to think about what it is that keeps them from showing that inner self to people. What people do they feel they can share that inner self with and what people do they not. Does our outer self-change in different situations and why? How does it feel to express that outer self vs the inner self? Does one cause more anxiety, does one feel more authentic?
We are planning on using the masks to decorate our Student Services department. Students will be able to showcase their work in a safe space, where they don’t have to worry about it becoming damaged. It may also draw new students into our area.
Erin Luong- high school counsellor