According to Art from the Streets, using art therapy through different techniques such as drawing, crafting, sculpting, painting, collage, or coloring allows individuals to express themselves artistically. Every person has feelings, and feelings need to be expressed and art therapy helps individuals express those emotions in a healthy, positive way.
Individuals experiencing homelessness can often feel unworthy, alone, and less than because of their circumstances, but art therapy improves their self–esteem and personal well–being. Art therapy aims to treat anxiety, depression, mental illness, substance abuse, addictions, family and relationship issues, abuse, and domestic violence which are challenges many of our guests are facing or have faced.
One guest said, “you can use art in many ways. If you’re having a bad day, art can cheer you up. If I can make someone smile with my art, my day in complete.” He created art for someone who was having a bad day, and nothing was making her happy, he said, “her attitude went from sad to happy to telling her story. It changed her demeanor… I hope it brings more people into the art community.”
Here are 5 of the many benefits of art therapy outlined by Verywell Health:
1. Reduces the symptoms of mental health conditions. Being in the art studio is a safe, quiet space to be creative and block out triggers.
2. Improves self–esteem and self–awareness. Art therapy allows individuals who are dealing
with trauma and social exclusions to become invested in the certain piece they are working
on and ultimately, show pride in what they have created and accomplished.
3. Strengthens social skills. The environment for individuals experiencing homelessness is hard and lonely, but art, whatever form, including music, is a source of conversation, helps break down barriers, and brings people together.
4. Helps work through stressful and traumatic events. Art comes from a personal place.
Oftentimes, the art people create reflects their feelings and shows a glimpse of what they
are going through.
5. Provides a source of income. Some guests choose to create art to sell on the street to bring in income to help them get back on their feet.
Through Heartside Ministry, a division of Mel Trotter Ministries, we offer art therapy and a place of belonging for individuals experiencing homelessness and other life challenges where they can believe, become, and create. Many neighbors turn to Heartside Ministry for a safe place to express their creativity, learn about themselves, believe in themselves, fellowship with other people in the community, and experience healing and growth. A guest exclaimed, “this place is amazing for art!”