LPS Project Aware encourages emotional growth through art at special exhibit
LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - 7News video journalist Seth Marsicano attended a mental health art exhibit Thursday evening, held by Lawton Public Schools’ Project Aware.
The event was held at the Life Ready Center on Thursday, featuring artwork from students across the district.
Officials like Felisha Mendez, the Project Aware Community grant manager, hope the event helps students to express their idea of mental health through art.
“So we’re having an art expo, and it’s called ‘Mental Health and all its Friends.’ Art students have created a number of art pieces to express how they view mental health from the lens of a teenager,” said Mendez.
LRC Art teacher, Scott Smith, is an advocate for mental health in his classroom and believes art gives students another way to truly communicate their feelings.
“Being an art teacher, the students when they’re working on their artwork, it really frees them up to communicate how they’re feeling and I may see it from what they’re putting in their artworks. It’s very expressive, it can be very emotional, and also frees up some communication pathways. I hear a lot of what goes on in my children’s lives,” said Smith.
According to studies by The Whole U at Washington State University, emotional expression through art can assist people with depression, anxiety, and stress.
“Artistic creativity when it comes to mental health can help them in a number of ways. It can express how they feel, they can express what’s going on in their lives,” said Mendez.
Smith said art has given him the opportunity to guide his students to a healthier mental state and share valuable lessons.
“I’ve been able to guide a lot of students in ways that I think are more important than anything I could teach them in an art class, just by teaching them real-life lessons,” said Smith.
Mendez said she was excited to see the students come together and bond over their different mental health experiences and learn the true value of emotional support.
“The students are starting to really rally together and support each other to get them through any mental health crisis and trauma that they’re experiencing,” said Mendez.
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