“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way–things I had no words for.”— Georgia O’Keeffe

The pioneering American modernist artist Georgia O’Keeffe (whose work was recently on view at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art) had a way of discovering, connecting, and knowing the world around her through the creative process of art making. The profession of art therapy works in a similar way. It brings together the fields of visual art and psychology to help people of all ages and needs learn, heal, and grow. By creating art, being with art, and reflecting upon art, art therapy clients often discover a new language beyond words—using lines, shapes, and colors—that allows them to (re)discover parts of themselves.

Discovering Through Art

Imagine walking into an art museum. You see a painting of a young woman sitting under a tree reading and you feel a sense of peace. In the next gallery, you see a sculpture made of an unexpected material that sparks your curiosity. A few steps more, a photograph ignites memories of your childhood and you feel surprised by how vivid those moments and emotions are after so many years. These types of experiences and feelings drive the Art Therapy Access Program at the Brooks Museum.

Connecting Through Art

Now, imagine walking into an art museum and you join a group of people who, like you, are interested in growing and healing. You discover pieces of art in the galleries that make you feel peaceful, curious, and surprised. As a group, you explore what this art is about through colors, materials, setting, and composition to understand what evokes these positive emotions. Together, you begin making connections about where and how you experience these positive emotions in your own life, as well as the challenges that hinder you from feeling them.

The art therapy process strives to help you discover and make connections through art in a trusting environment while connecting with others to help you safely and genuinely express yourself as you explore various topics.

Knowing Through Art

After spending time discovering and connecting in the galleries, you head to the museum art studio. You create a piece of art about a positive emotion you would like to feel more your life. It’s been years since you have created any type of art, but your newfound trust and connections with the group inspire and empower you to take a chance to try out this new way of expressing, knowing, and sharing about yourself through art.

Experience Art Therapy at the Brooks Museum

Art Therapy at the Brooks comes in various forms: group art therapy partnerships, education and advocacy, and art and wellness workshops. Whether working with youth with criminal offenses, adults with Alzheimer’s, or students and professionals in the community, art is always the change agent for creating connections and achieving personal goals. Learn more at Brooksmuseum.org.

Paige Scheinberg, MS, ATR-BC is a Board-Certified Art Therapist and Art Therapist for the Brooks Museum’s Art Therapy Access Program.

Mindfulness & Savoring Workshop – March 29 & April 7

Art Therapy Info Session – April 28