The Montgomery Museum of Art and History is trying something brand new, offering mental health self-help tactics and strategies by using art exhibits, materials, and spaces as helpful tools. This four-part interactive series titled, “The Art of Happiness,” will focus on aspects of positive psychology and the role that art can play in general happiness and well-being.
This program series will be held at the Montgomery Museum on the third Thursday of each month, December through March, from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
The museum will remain open late on these dates to allow participants the opportunity to see
all the museum exhibits and spaces. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.
“The goal of this new program series is to highlight and raise awareness about mental health issues and accessibility while simultaneously offering unique methods and strategies to cope with things like stress, anxiety, and depression,” said Casey Jenkins, the museum’s executive director. “Making space for art therapy in a museum or cultural center can have very profound effects as it relates to experiential self-help.”
The sessions will be led by Shelby Wynn, a registered art therapist and licensed professional counselor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Carilion Clinic. The first session on Dec. 15 will explore the ability to cope with words as an understanding of thoughts and emotions.
The second session on Jan. 19 will feature visual music through abstract drawing. The third session on Feb. 16 will facilitate mindfulness and meditation through sculpting.
The final session on March 16 will focus on Zentangles and the ability to practice mindfulness when other coping skills are inaccessible.
“I am very excited to be partnering with the Montgomery Museum for the next few months,” Wynn said. “Art is such an integral part of mental health – be it fine art, movement, or music – and it is inspiring to have an organization such as the museum find it important to bridge the gap in mental health awareness. I am honored to be a part of something so innovative.”
All materials will be provided by the museum, and no art experience is required. The series is designed to be a free community-building self-help experience rather than an outgoing group therapy session.
For more information on this program series and to register, visit https://montgomerymuseum.org/arttherapy/.
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