In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on children and families, this Five Town Friends of the Arts funded program serves to create the opportunity to address health and wellness needs within a community setting.
An Open Art Studio format is a flexible structure for the use of art media that invites a wide range of ages to engage with materials together in their own individual way. This structure allows for a flow of participants into and out of a collective “studio”. Kids can visit, observe, or choose to make art with selected materials. An art therapist serves to facilitate participation as they feel comfortable. Materials may be introduced with instruction, support of a “third hand” and modeling or simply displayed for discussion and inspiration.
Participants are guided with predictable routines and expectations for safe, independent and productive use of art media in the setting. They are supported in engaging both verbally and non-verbally throughout the process that will provide the necessary conditions to practice self-regulation, build executive function and communication skills while expressing themselves with their chosen materials.
Open Art Studios by art therapists are therapeutic community programming that addresses the urgent need for a systemic intervention for children and family mental health care. I have provided a series of Open Art Studios in my five town community libraries. Our libraries are a lighthouse in our towns, a place open to everyone that is a place of social support, always. The welcoming nature of a library and the work of our librarians to keep them open is such a valuable resource. Librarians had to quickly adapt to creatively keep circulation available for library patrons during the early pandemic and deserve support in offering relevant programming while managing everything else.
Open Art Studio design considers several sustainability factors in creating a replicable format that ensures predictability in facilitator roles by librarians, library staff and volunteers. The physical layout and set up of material options is all designed to be inclusive, manageable as an ongoing program for our communities.
With support from The Five Town Friends of the Arts grant funds, we are offering this program at a third location in our Five Town libraries with interest to continue in January at our other Five Town and county wide libraries. Please contact us with interest in Open Art Studio in your location or to see existing schedule of Open Art Studio events.