Celebrate Youth Art Month

March 2, 2022

March is celebrated as Youth Art Month, and this year’s theme is “Art Connects Us.” 

The creation of art not only connects individuals to physical properties and people around them, but it can connect children to their own identities and ideas through art therapy. 

“Art therapy is a practice of engaging in the creative process to understand ourselves in relationship to our struggles, in relationship to others in our lives and in relationship to the larger world,” says Ian Gingrich-Gaylord, LCPC, ATR. 

When developing identity, confidence and competency as an adolescent, art therapy provides an outlet for individuals to explore their feelings in a comfortable manner. Furthermore, art can allow children to see themselves as capable, share their ideas with others and feel supported. 

“For children and adolescents, making art often feels like a natural mode of expression, and generally, they are actively involved in therapy because they are interested in the work they create,” says Gingrich-Gaylord. 

A concern one may face when deciding to participate in art therapy is personal artistic capability. However, art therapy is not reliant on artistic skills for someone to benefit from its offerings. 

 “At its core, art making is about creating images that we can interact with and relate to, and that does not require a person to be an artist,” says Gingrich-Gaylord.

When individuals can form images of their own, it has the potential to bring forth new ideas and new creations that one may not have been able to elaborate through a normal therapy session. At Prairie View, adolescents will often take on an art project that can be ongoing, developing it over time. 

“This encourages a sense of mastery, allows for ideas to come together, fall apart or transform into new ideas,” says Gingrich-Gaylord. “Art therapy with adolescents is done in groups on the PRTF, and this allows for people to care for one another, and the work of others, in ways that feel safe and affirming.”

Ian Gingrich-Gaylord is seeing clients, ages 10 or older, to collaborate with through outpatient art therapy. If you are the parent of an adolescent who is interested in reaping the benefits of art therapy, call 800-992-6292 to make an appointment or to learn more.