Crafting The Visual Voice: Art as Agency in Studio Art Therapy

Denise Malis

Abstract


The art therapy studio model has important implications for practice that include the role of the facilitator and the social setting of the therapeutic space. The studio environment brings art making to the forefront as a communal connected activity. The Artist Mentoring Program (AMP) is a supportive studio group of adults with experiences in the mental health system. This ten-year studio art program provide a unique lens to examine the role of community and creative agency within the context of recovery in mental health. The studio is viewed as a unique, nurturing, relational environment that allows group members to self-determine and develop individual visual voices. The artwork of one artist member serves to illustrate how ongoing aesthetic engagement can provide a path to independence and transformation.

Keywords: studio art therapy, social connection, mental illness, recovery 


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