Three University of Guelph students have received the Guelph Arts Council’s 2021 Youth Opportunities Award to bring art to the walls of a newly constructed therapy centre on the University campus.
Alexa Colette, Maeve Hind and Jessica Wilson will help lead the creation of two large murals for the new Maplewoods Centre for Family Therapy and Child Psychology. The centre is the new home of U of G’s Centre for Psychological Services (CPS) and the Couple and Family Therapy Centre (CFTC).
In collaboration with Dr. Margaret Lumley, a psychology professor in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, the project will engage students and local youth in creating two six-by-eight-foot murals.
Colette, Hind and Wilson, all students in psychology and/or studio art, plan to integrate themes of healing, wellness and resilience into the murals.
Their project will include students struggling with mental health and addictions and/or from groups identified as BIPOC, LGBTQ2I+ and those with disabilities. They stressed the importance of prioritizing this demographic “as typically opportunities for these groups are not as accessible.”
The student artists will work collaboratively and be paid for their work.
“These murals will be a refuge for patients, workers and students within the building and will remain as reminders of hope,” Colette, Hind and Wilson said in their proposal to the arts council.
They added, “This is an exciting time to bring the community together and reap the therapeutic benefits of the arts, after extensive isolation and lack of engagement.”
The award jury cited the proposal’s goal to target underserved groups and the fact that the funds will go directly to young artists.
The new Maplewoods Centre for Family Therapy and Child Psychology is housed in the building formerly known as the Veterinary Microbiology and Immunology (VMI) building on College Avenue.
Lumley said both CPS and CFTC have been pillars of the mental health community at the University for decades, offering their services to local families, adults, children and adolescents as well as U of G students.