Creative Connections: Can Artistic Expression Enhance Self-Development?
Helen M. Garinger, Department of Human Services and Counseling, The School of Education
This project is designed to engage educationally at-risk students in artistic productions that enable them to experience a sense of success in a school-related activity. Many low achieving, disciplinary problem students may possess creative potential — latent or dormant talent that has yet to be discovered and developed. Creative Connections provides a way to explore and nurture that potential as a first step in helping educationally at-risk students become more connected to school, to learning, and to their larger personal development.
Participants must have received at least 3 Ds in their last report card and may also have behavioral issues. During eight sessions, questionnaires on various topics such as creativity, depression, and stress will be completed. Discussion based on responses will follow. Concurrently, areas of artistic preference will be identified. Projects related specifically to the individual area of artistic expression will then be chosen and worked on during the semester.
The Creative Connections project is a collaborative effort with Dr. Michael Nakkula, of the University of Pennsylvania. He conceived of the idea for an arts intervention program for at-risk youths. Together, we are developing this project.
Concurrent with Creative Connections, I will be conducting a course, The Arts and Counseling. In order to utilize the arts as a potential tool, counselors and educators need to be exposed to art forms. This experientially interactive class will facilitate self-exploration, thus enabling future counselors to introduce the arts as a vehicle for non-verbal communication, as well as, enhancing self-image and personal growth.
In order for Creative Connections to be successful, the staff needs to be comfortable suggesting art forms as a way to engage those students deemed at-risk.