It’s sometimes hard to express oneself, especially during the past year. The pandemic turned many worlds upside down and students of Western North Carolina public schools were not immune to the pressure.
Thanks to three Western Carolina University counseling professors and two clinical mental health counseling graduate students, the children were able to express their feelings through art.
Their work is featured in the 2021 issue of “masterpeace” A Wellness & Art Magazine.
“Artists are visionaries, and their work inspires us toward our highest ideals and creative solutions,” said Russ Curtis, a professor of counseling who worked on the magazine. “Music and visual art is often at the forefront of major advancements in society and we want “masterpeace” to be a vehicle for celebrating the courage of these brave souls, while also sharing wellness information in an interactive and pleasing venue, such as this art magazine.”
The 50-page colorful magazine offers a depiction from 96 K-12 students in 19 different local public schools who used various forms of visual art to express their feelings. One piece, called “The Little Things” by sixth-grader Anika Martinez, shows a girl with a tear as butterflies swarm around her. An excerpt of text that accompanies the piece says, “You’ll never find a happy balance unless you open our eyes and see the kind beauty in all the little things.”
WCU graduate students Casey Mock and Britta Jones said it was an enjoyable experience working with the students.
“I believe that this publication is important for folks to read because it is filled with interesting mental health information, but also because you are supporting the local young artists in the community who have submitted art,” Mock said.
“The best part about working on “masterpeace” was seeing the incredible talent that came from students of all ages,” she said. “I love kids, I love art, and I love being a part of giving kids a platform to show off their work.”