By Joannah Clemente
Amidst campus life, Moreno Valley College provides weekly art therapy sessions to improve students’ wellness and growth, one brushstroke at a time.
“Art It Out Monday” takes place from 11 a.m. to noon, unveiling a soothing and creative refuge beneath the “Wellness Tree” in the Lion’s Den area.
With art supplies and refreshments at hand, it’s where students find a safe and uplifting environment.
Students grappling with mental health challenges discover relief in these weekly sessions as they explore their creative endeavors.
“It’s kind of an alternative medicine, so it’s a more non-traditional way of being able to do the same thing that you’re kind of doing in therapy, but in a fun way,” said Lynnette Navarro Sullivan, Mental Health Supervisor at MVC.
This approach prioritizes holistic wellness over tradition, aiming to enhance students’ well-being and academic success by nurturing their innate strengths beyond academics.
As the college reimagines art, it becomes a conduit for creative healing, where artistic expression comforts and binds students in a shared experience by promoting non-critical sharing to maintain a safe, welcoming environment.
“We ask (participants) to respect confidentiality like the ‘Vegas rule’— what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in the group stays in the group,” Sullivan said. “We also remind everyone to be mindful of trauma experiences.”
Lizbeth Navarro, a marriage and family therapy trainee at MVC and Norco College, seeks to spotlight her leadership experience in the activity.
“I think, for myself, it helps me reduce stress and anxiety throughout the day. Being able to ground myself, connect with other students and see who else goes through the same struggles,” Navarro said.
For many, stress dissipates as connections grow through art therapy.
“I find it an outlet to cope with, and I would also like students to feel the same thing,” Navarro said.
The growing enthusiasm for these weekly art exercises markedly boosts students’ wellness, academics and ability to manage stress in college.
Many consider it essential, as it creates a more open, relaxed and well-adjusted community.
“It definitely elevated me a lot more and made me better because it gives you a sense of accomplishment,” said Vanessa Jimenez, a student at MVC. “It took off a lot of college stressors and made it easier to focus on the tasks and assignments.”
MVC’s “Art It Out Monday” fuels motivation, kindles creativity, nurtures well-being and strengthens campus solidarity.
“It’s important because without it, it’s like you’re not connected, it’s not a community. It’s almost like a family now,” Jimenez said.