Arts Heals as a universal cure

     Westminster’s community values two notable ideals above all: service and creativity. Since this is the case, it seems almost inevitable that a club like “Art Heals” would arise; a group of students, helmed by senior Ava Wang, have taken it upon themselves to use their art as a mode of giving back to the community.

     The idea for Art Heals came about when a few seniors decided to merge two of their interests.

     “We enjoy doing art a lot and wanted to incorporate service into that somehow, so we created Art Heals,” said senior Izzy Sumardi. The club has since acquired a leadership of eight people, and they are still hoping to expand. The club’s leaders have made it a point to keep many of the projects fairly simple in order to appeal to a larger part of the community as a whole and rather than solely artists, which they hope will attract more students.

     While art may seem like an unconventional service method, the members of Art Heals find it rather under appreciated.

     “For the club members that show up to write the cards or create goods for an event like the Alternative Gift Fair, they are taking advantage of a creative outlet we supply them with that can help them escape from their stresses,” said senior Sasha Fuson, who acts as co-leader of the club. “Art is therapeutic, and one of our main goals for the club is to spread the same art therapy to the students that I experience at and around Westminster.

     Fuson also shares that one of the main goals of the club this year is to expand their reach.

     “We want to take the concept of art therapy we offer the students at Westminster and apply it to other children who need relief in their life,” said Fuson.

     Other members of the club share similar goals, like Sumardi.

     “We hope to get as many people and to work with as many organizations as possible,” said Sumardi. “We’re always open to different projects and would love for anyone to come to us with new ideas.”

     Art Heals has a few big projects coming up soon. The Alternative Gift Fair is a major source of publicity, and members are excited to begin preparation.

     “Last year the Alternative Gift Fair was a huge success for us, even though the creation of our goods was a bit rushed,” said Fuson. “If we start preparation early this year and give our members more opportunity to contribute to what we’re selling, we would have an even larger income.”

     They hope to create more appealing goods to sell this year in order to facilitate more traffic at the fair.

     Sumardi also expressed her excitement for the events coming up later in the semester.

     “I’m excited for Christmas-time and Halloween,” said Sumardi. “We’ll be working with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) and the US army making cards for kids and soldiers.”

     Art Heals’ projects are extremely diverse, and they offer the opportunity for any student to express themselves through art.

     “The club is a really unique form of community service,” said sophomore Amy Zhao. “I’m excited to see what they will do this year.”

     The leadership team is also working to diversify the club’s work into giving more opportunities to the community to participate. Using the relationship they have with CHOA from past projects, Fuson, Sumardi, and the rest of Art Heals’ team is working to give the same activities offered to Westminster students to children in hospitals or those who are experiencing immense stress.

     “We would offer them very open-ended projects with a range of materials so they could release whatever they are feeling onto a piece of paper or canvas, and maybe tap into a creative side they didn’t know they had,” said Fuson. There is a large spectrum of activities the club can tap into.

      Art Heals has worked with many organizations in the past and are working fervently to expand their outreach. While they plan to work again with organizations such as CHOA and the US Army like in past years, they will also try to work with new organizations. One of Fuson’s main goals for the Alternative Gift Fair this winter is to get more income than last year, and to pick a new charity to give it to.

     Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has been a major proponent of the club in the past, and club leadership hopes to continue that relationship and pursue new avenues of service with alongside them.

      Art Heals offers an extremely innovative and expressive way to give back to your community while also giving back to oneself. For Westminster students who carry an incredible amount of stress, participating in Art Heals provides a great way to alleviate some of that pressure while simultaneously bringing a smile to the face of someone in need.