“Art of Art Therapy Students,” the exhibit on display in the Thomas P. Kelly Jr. Student Art Gallery, is the first exhibit of its kind at Loyola Marymount University. Jessica Ando, a second-year graduate student in marital and family therapy at LMU, organized the show as part of her research on art and identity of art therapy students.
The Martial and Family Therapy Department at LMU requires at least 12 studio arts credits and an art portfolio. The art backgrounds of the students vary.
The exhibit, which features the art of 24 LMU master’s degree candidates, is on display through Thursday, March 25. It is thematically installed, with each work grouped under one of three headings: “Beginnings,” “Therapeutic Engagement” and “Helping Others.” Ando said the themes “create a narrative about becoming an art therapist.”
Debra Linesch, director of the graduate Department of Marital and Family Therapy, said that the exhibit speaks to the “profound experience of being a therapist.” She explained that students spend a great deal of time learning about the clinical and diagnostic elements of counseling, and that creating art allows them to tap into the creative parts of themselves. In addition, “creating art helps the students understand the experience of the clients better,” she said.
Allison Wear, a second-year art therapy student who has a photograph in the exhibit, said, “The personal experience of creating artwork allows me to understand what a great tool it can be for others. Having created art in the past as a response to difficult situation gave me a firsthand look at the healing potential of the creative arts.”