Art Hive invites students to discover their inner artist

New program uses art, creativity to relieve stress

Art Hive runs on Thursday evenings at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. 
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Photo from Facebook

An art and relaxation program can be ideal for stressed-out students.

Starting this month, Art Hive will invite students to make art while relaxing in The Agnes Etherington Centre. It’s held on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the André Biéler Studio and will end in March. The program is free and requires no prior artistic experience. 

As I walked into Art Hive for the first time last Thursday, the room was equipped with everything an amateur artist could want. There was paint, silvery tape, colourful sharpies, and magazine scraps. The jazzy vibes of the Buena Vista Social Club played in the background as students settled in and began working.

The theme for the week was “balance” and our challenge was to construct a styrofoam sculpture to represent this. It was chosen to remind students of the need to balance their responsibilities with their mental well-being.

As students, we have to balance school, friends, relationships, work, and house chores. Our goal was to reflect this challenge in our art. 

With this in mind, we were encouraged to produce work however we saw fit—following the theme of balance wasn’t mandatory.

The art supplies were made available to everybody, regardless of whether or not we chose to work on the proposed balance sculpture.

Throughout the night, we were shown examples of other sculptures for inspiration. We were given almost an hour and a half to build our sculptures, while instructors walked around and chatted with participating students. Volunteers from the Peer Support Centre were also at the event, reminding students of the resources available to them on campus and the importance of taking care of their mental health. 

Creating art can be a valuable de-stressing tool, and while for many de-stressing is an unwinding activity, sometimes people require support.  Since one of the main goals of the event was to help students relieve their stress, it was important to provide them with help if they required it.

Seeing everyone’s art was an important lesson on how different people interpret a piece of styrofoam—each one reflected something different about its creator.

After we finished, everyone was expected to help clean up and leave a short evaluation of their experience. And even the review was open to creative interpretation.

Overall, Art Hive was everything it promised to be: a chance to “relax, re-charge and expand your creative powers.”

To anyone wishing to unwind, let their creativity run wild, and socialize with friends and other students, Art Hive is worth a try.

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