The following is a post written by Katie, a current student in Memory, Aging & Expressive Arts. Katie reflects on her collaborative experience with a Coffeehouse Club member. ~Anne Mondro, Professor of Memory, Aging & Expressive Arts
I decided to take the class Memory, Aging, and Expressive Arts because I have always loved art and I’m interested in how it can transfer to different fields, like healthcare. Art had always been something I’ve done for myself, or occasionally with younger kids, but never with adults. I had never worked with or really ever known anyone with memory loss, so I was also interested to learn more about this and how creative expression could make an impact on their well-being.
As an art and design student, I spend a lot of time making art and being creative. However, with the pressure of classes and assignments it can often begin to feel more like work, which takes the fun out of something I love. Painting with my partner from the Coffeehouse Club has allowed me to gain a new appreciation for the value of the joy that can come from the experience of making art, having witnessed the transformative power of art in myself and in her. It gave me something to look forward to every week, and was always a fun way to relieve stress. After a somewhat tentative first few weeks, two of us and our other student group member really began to get into the project we had been working on, which was a collaborative watercolor painting. We would respond to what we saw each other working on, and discuss what was needed in certain parts of the painting to make it interesting and cohesive. The environment around our workspace always felt warm and accepting, and this really complimented the art making process. I went into this class with the intention of helping someone else, but I think that I got a lot more out of it myself than I expected. I hope that I can continue this positive mindset in my future creating art.