Utah teenagers use art to overcome obstacles

PLEASANT GROVE, UT (ABC 4 Utah) Dozens of works of art are on display in Pleasant Grove right now at the doTerra company headquarters. There are paintings, drawings, sculptures and incredible pieces of pottery. Some of the art is truly amazing and it’s all the work of students from Pleasant Grove Junior High.

But the students and their art teachers say what you “see” is only part of the story. The other part is how the art helps with things like stress, teenage issues, depression, family problems and communication.

Meet 8th grader Tasia Lemons. “I can speak my thoughts onto paper.”
Meet 8th grader Larissa Lopez. “Teenage life. It’s really chaotic.”
Meet 9th grader Sam Christiansen. “It can really be very stress relieving.”

In a Pleasant Grove Jr. High art room, teacher Shelly Beatty says, these students have found a safe place to express their thoughts. “Sometimes kids need a break from the pressures that are assailing them.” Beatty says participating in art can really help teens who are battling with issues like depression and stress. In fact, a study on art and adolescents found that “a crucial aspect of yielding effective
results in a therapeutic art approach is the creation of a safe place. This space is one in which each participant can begin to unpack his or her own traumas. Source: Breaking the Silence: Art Therapy with Children from Violent Homes

And all three of these teenagers say that is exactly what they needed. Larissa says she has been “bullied” during school and that art became a way to deal with that. “Being able to do art has helped me to tune them out – so, I can just focus on what I love.” For Tasia – art has helped clear her mind and her emotions. “You get frustrated and you can’t really explain your thoughts. So, it really helps when your thoughts are just jumbled you can just clear them all out on a paper.” And then there is Sam – who is a special needs student. According to his mother – working on art projects – like this piece he did for the art display – has kept him in school. And according to him – it has helped him communicate. “It can really be very stress relieving. You can have a lot of things in your mind all at once. But when you draw or sculpt something it can help to get it out.”

Beatty believes art allows students to approach what she calls the “right or wrong” world of school from a different angle. “In art classes they learn how to have flexible thinking.” And for some, like students it’s an important if not essential outlet from very real pressures. “Sometimes with tests, homework and even people in general. Sometimes it’s good to just draw. It just feels relieving.”

These students say they would recommend art to any teenager who is struggling. And Tasia says they need to know artistic talent is not required. “You don’t have to be artistic to do art. You just draw what you feel. It can just be a basic heart. If you feel that – then it’s art. It can help anyone. You don’t have to be artistic to do it.”

Experts say parents need to remember baking or cooking, arranging flowers, decorating, inventing and experimenting are all forms of art. And they should encourage their teens to get involved in safe way of expression.

DoTERRA sponsored the art show and the public is invited to stop by the Pleasant Grove headquarters and see the art, for free, through May 20th.
http://www.doterra.com/#/en  dōTERRA International 389 South 1300 West Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

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