McWell, Raclin-Murphy museum explore wellness through art

By Chicago 5 Min Read

Jenna Abu-Lughod | Observer students paint at the Duncan Student Center Friday during an art and wellness event hosted by McWell and a Raclin-Murphy Museum student committee.

The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art’s Student Programming Committee (SPC) and the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being (McWell) co-hosted an arts and wellness event at the Duncan Student Center on Friday. Dozens of students demonstrated painting while enjoying cookies and tea provided by McWell.

Through the event, SPC and McWell hoped to emphasize the overlap between wellness and creative pursuits like art. They also want to highlight the various resources McWell has for students and the opening of the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art on November 30th.

“The purpose of today’s event is to examine the intersection of art and wellness, which is why we are partnering with McWell,” said Gabrielle Spontak, senior and co-coordinator of the SPC.

Tai Ha, a senior member of McWell, said he contacted Raclin’s SPC with the aim of organizing a joint event to highlight that well-being can be improved through art.

“We think art is a good component to improve overall well-being and well-being. That’s why we turned to Raclin-Murphy,” Ha said. “We believed that spreading awareness of art can help people improve their social, environmental and intellectual well-being.”

Participants were provided with paints, canvases and a couple of paintings that they could choose to recreate. Biscuits and tea were also available.

“[SPC] provided the art supplies and [McWell] provided snacks and tea,” Ha said.

The two sample paintings, selected from the museum’s “The Battle of Mid-Century” gallery, were chosen for their abstract and inspirational nature.

“[The paintings] they are two of our most iconic pieces. We chose them because they are a little more abstract so students can work on them or just get inspired,” Spontak said.

The hosts were optimistic that the event would provide students with a relaxing, feel-good break, especially as everyone finishes their homework before Thanksgiving break.

“We hope this gives students a mindfulness break in the middle of the day,” Spontak said. “We also want to highlight the resources that McWell has and demonstrate that the museum is a great resource for well-being and inspiration for students.”

Some students attended the event to take a break from studying, while others simply enjoyed the opportunity to paint.

Senior Maria Murphy said she enjoys spending Fridays catching up on work or taking care of herself, and so she chose to participate in the event.

“I don’t have classes on Fridays, so it’s nice to find some activities to do to take a break from classwork. I like that I can dedicate a day to work or self-care,” Murphy said.

From background music to supplies, SPC and McWell have put a lot of effort into creating a comfortable space for students to relax.

“I find a lot of calm in different forms of art and music,” senior Caroline Ashworth said. “I play the piano and so I really appreciate the soft piano music they play in the background.”

After a stressful week with several exams, freshman Brooke Jones attended the event to relax and embrace her love of painting.

“Sitting down and painting after a hard week is really nice,” Jones said. “Especially because it can be difficult to get supplies, it’s nice to have them available at an event like this.”

With the event equally successful, McWell and the SPC hope to collaborate again in the future. Their goal is to continue to show students that art can be a tool for well-being.

“Since the Raclin museum will open soon, we want to organize more events in the future. Maybe an art tour in the museum or another event like this,” Ha said.

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