Healing and Wellness Through Art: Weekend Workshop with NYU Art Therapy Students

Each year the Rubin Museum invites current and incoming art therapy students from New York University to join us for an interactive workshop, which includes a gallery tour followed by an art-making session in our Education Center. On May 10th we invited students to tour and contemplate our newest exhibition Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine on view through September 8, 2014.

Students began by taking the Bodies in Balance Quiz (also available online: http://balance.rubinmuseum.org/take-the-quiz/) to determine their unique balance of the three bodily forces in Tibetan Medicine: Wind, Bile, Phlegm.  They then ascended to the 5th floor gallery to learn about the Medicine Buddha.

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Moving to the 4th Floor gallery the group was introduced to two paintings: Tree of the Body in Health and Illness Similes of the Human Body. Both intended as teaching tools for Tibetan physicians, we discussed various educational resources and methods that they use as students and how they can apply that knowledge as future art therapists.

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We then moved to the Education Center for the art making portion of our workshop. Students had a variety of materials to use for their creations.

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They were asked to create artwork in response to their museum experience, particularly thinking about their unique combination of the 3 forces in Tibetan Medicine (based on the results from their Tibetan Medicine Quiz). By leaving the activity open-ended it allows for freedom of expression and lets the students connect to the exhibition on a personal level.

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The resulting artwork was beautiful and personally impactful.  We discussed each piece together as a group and then placed them together to create a collaborative artwork.

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I had been personally looking forward to this since our last workshop in August 2013. This program is special to me as a museum educator not only for the opportunity to step away from my desk and make art, but also for the opportunity to introduce the Rubin Museum as an educational tool for current and future professionals.  This museum has so much to offer visitors, but it also can act as a resource for students in their studies, and professionals (whether educators, healers, therapists, etc.) in their work.

Many thanks to Ikuko Acosta, Director of NYU’s Graduate Art Therapy Program, and Marygrace Berberian, Program Coordinator for their continued support of this collaborative project.

To learn more about the Rubin Museum’s University programs, please visit our webpage at http://www.rubinmuseum.org/pages/load/90.

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