Those who have suffered from anxiety know how debilitating it can be. Endlessly scrutinizing every aspect of one’s own life with the microscope of neurosis can prevent some of us from figuring out how to get out of bed and go out into the world. With the proper help, however, it’s possible for those dealing with anxiety to approach their lives anew and reach their fullest potential. New Visuality, an art non-profit geared towards the disadvantaged, and York Mind, a mental health organization based in the UK, have updated art therapy for the 21st century, giving a group of 15 people, stricken with mental stress and anxiety, the chance to gain more confidence and higher aspirations through the use of 3D printing.
Through funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the groups held a series of 15 workshops with their clients, who sprang from a full range of ages. The clients created artwork in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, collage and photography. Some of the workshops’ clients were able to convert their two dimensional line drawings into 3D models with help from GoPrint3D. These prints were exhibited alongside the other works at a pre-Christmas show and can be purchased at the New Visuality webstore. The show was entirely curated by the clients themselves and documented with footage taken by the clients, as well, which you can see in the video below:
Dan Brittan, Self Help and Activity Group Manager at York Mind, explained the clients’ reaction to the art workshops, saying, “The workshops led by Ails McGee were very successful and all the clients who attended were very positive about them and wanted to do more. One client said that he appreciated the opportunity to experiment with new art forms. There was one client I spoke to previously who was extremely enthusiastic about the workshops and said it was the best group she had ever attended.”
As someone who’s suffered from anxiety myself, I can attest to the power of art on the anxious mind. Rather than direct, and exhaust, mental energy on the things that made me worry, I learned to direct it towards the production of art, music and writing. At the same time, positive feedback from the world around me, in response to those creations, gave me the confidence to continue. So, to all of you art therapists out there, kudos to you!