BERNARD—The Bass Harbor Memorial Library has been chosen as one of 11 recipients of the 2021 Maine Public Library Fund grant for its MDI Open Art Studio, a collaboration with licensed counselor and certified art therapist Dawn Nuding and professional artist and educator Kathie Pratt.
The $3,585 grant will fund a free, art-based wellness group/community pilot program for middle school students in the MDI area. The Open Studio concept is an evidence-based art therapy practice facilitating learning and insight through self-directed artistic expression.
“The COVID19 crisis has greatly limited natural outlets, social connections and community-based support for most students,” said Nuding. “As this crisis endures, we are seeing a significant decline in the mental health and wellness of school–aged children.”
The free Open Art Studio sessions last 8 weeks and meet for 1.5 hours at a time, via Google Meet. The group of 15 participants works alongside trained facilitators making art freely, based on a self-reflective/wellness-based prompt given at the start of each session. Participants are encouraged to request the support of the group when problem solving individual projects and have the opportunity to reflect on what they have made at the end of each session. Participants receive an art kit filled with quality materials to inspire artmaking both in group and beyond.