On Monday, April 4, the 2nd annual “ARTStanding: Promoting Mental Health Through Visual and Performing Arts” event took place in Watkins Auditorium.
This event is sponsored by the Student Health and Counseling Center. It involved many different talents such as singing, dancing, poetry, comedy and a testimony.
The co-coordinators for this event were Susie Gray, a senior social work major, and Kierra Hart, a senior Social Work major with a minor in Sociology.
“Students identify that the arts are good ways to deal with stress and we want to showcase these student’s talents.” Gray says.
Many of the participants felt like they wanted to share their stories so if others could relate then they knew they weren’t alone.
Hannah Lokey, a sophomore Nursing major with a minor in Spanish shared her testimony to the audience about her early life. Lokey stated that she loves sharing her story and seeing how it relates to others. If she was help others in that way then she knows that she’s doing the right thing.
Kresarah Hibbler who is a junior HHP major was grateful that she saw the poster in the U.C. and took that as a sign that she needed to get back into something that she had done her whole life. She grew up in church and was on their praise teams growing up. She felt like this was a great time to share something with others that got her through all of her tough times.
“The feeling I get while performing is something that I want to share with others,” Hibbler said
Graduate student Elizabeth Lee shared how much of an impact she believes this event can be to individuals.
“Art as a whole should be about enjoyment and not talent,” Lee said. “People need to showcase their love of the arts and not base everything on how good it’s performed. It’s all about how you use the arts to help yourself.”
Lee is returning to UTM after graduating with a degree in Music Education to get a masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She gave a great presentation about the importance of the arts and how it can directly improve certain mental health issues.
The event ended with a drum circle that got the whole audience involved in making music and using non-verbal communication to follow directions. Overall it was a great event with amazing talent and a real sense of connection through the talent to the audience.
photo credit: Charity Curry
performers of the event: